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Economic Insights from Dr. Sherry Cooper – June 2024


Canadian inflation has fallen considerably for the past four months. Excluding shelter, inflation is a mere 1.6%.

While the job market was relatively strong in April, the unemployment rate continues to rise.

Job growth, though strong, is not keeping up with the surge in working-age immigrants. GDP growth was likely about 2.3% in the first quarter, but per capita GDP is falling. Moreover, economic activity will likely slow to about 1.0% in the current quarter, posting only 1.2% for the year, well below the neutral rate.

Monetary policy remains quite restrictive. Homeowners facing more renewals see their monthly payments rise sharply. The housing market has slowed, with new listings surging and buyers waiting for the central bank to cut interest rates. The odds are about even that the Bank of Canada will begin cutting the overnight policy rate in June versus July. It can’t be soon enough for the housing industry.

GDP growth is tracking below the Bank of Canada’s most recent forecast. And on a per capita basis, it looks even worse. The weakness in economic activity should persist in the coming months as household and business owners increasingly feel the pinch of earlier rate hikes. Moreover, the federal government’s plan to reduce the temporary resident population over the next two-plus years should hold back the expansion.

The Bank of Canada should begin to cut the overnight policy rate in June. If it is delayed, there is a risk of a much steeper slowdown than forecasted.