Bank of Canada keeps interest rates at 1.75 pct

The Bank of Canada announced Wednesday that it kept its benchmark interest rates steady at 1.75 percent, forecasting a slower-than-expected start for the Canadian economy in 2020, reports Xinhua. The central bank's rate target has been kept at 1.75 percent since October 2018.

The bank predicted the Canadian economy will grow by 1.6 percent in 2020, down from its projection of 1.7 percent in October 2019. It said global uncertainty is affecting Canada more than previously predicted.

The bank's governor Stephen Poloz said indicators of the Canadian economy have turned decidedly mixed, noting that vehicle sales, retail sales more generally, consumer confidence and job growth all softened at the end of last year while third-quarter investment spending was strong.

The bank will pay particular attention to developments in consumer spending, the housing market and business investment, according to Poloz. Growth for 2021 is forecast at 2 percent, up from the bank's forecast of 1.8 percent in October 2019.