Canada’s central bank is overwhelmingly expected to hike interest rates aggressively. We polled the country’s top finance experts for their overnight rate forecast. Nearly all expect the Bank of Canada (BoC) to hike rates tomorrow. They don’t see the rate hikes ending there, though. Over the next year, they see interest rates rising aggressively to curb inflation.
Canadian Overnight Rate Sentiment Index
The Canadian Overnight Rate Sentiment Index (CORSI) is our latest sentiment tool. We ask a panel containing some of the country’s top experts for their overnight rate forecast. We then take the results and anonymize the forecast. This helps them to forecast as they feel, without the bias of expectations. We then plot the results on a Cleveland-style dot plot to see where forecasts are concentrated.
Reading it is easy since we did all of the heavy lifting. Each dot on the chart is where an expert expects the overnight rate to be at the end of the BoC rate announcement. The more dots, the stronger the sentiment is for that forecast level. Large clusters, or virtually all plots, mean a unanimous movement. Small clusters, or stray plots, are under-appreciated forecasts, considered noise when reading.
Forecasts tend to widen the longer out they are. This is a feature of every forecasting tool. It’s harder to predict what happens next year than it is to predict what happens tomorrow. It doesn’t mean you can predict tomorrow, but it’s a little easier than a year later.
Why Not US Traditional Interest Rates Forecast Models?
Market forecasts are mostly based on bond yields. Great quantitative data, but we’ve seen more emotional management of the economy. We expect objective management, but that only works if we’re managed by algos. Since humans make the decisions, they might make decisions that aren’t objective.
That’s where a forecast from an expert close to the economy comes in. They can feel tensions that might not be easily quantified. Political pressures, geopolitical turmoil, etc.. might not be fully factored into the market. Some things are better captured by humans for reasons that aren’t easily explained.
The last BoC overnight rate announcement is a great example. The market showed a consensus of a rate hike for the Jan 26, 2022 meeting. However, the CORSI showed no expert has forecast that rate hike. Some even forecast a hike at their institution, but didn’t feel it when anonymized. Consequently, the index was one of the few indices to doubt a rate hike, and it turns out it was right.
Obviously no tool is perfect for forecasting and we’re not presenting this one that way either. We do think it’s an important tool that can be added to your arsenal, to enhance forecasts.
Bank of Canada Is Expected To Hike Rates Aggressively This Year
Let’s break this down meeting by meeting.
Canadian Overnight Rate Sentiment Index (CORSI)
A Cleveland-style “dot plot” of expert forecasts for the Bank of Canada (BoC) overnight rate, as of March 1, 2022.
Source: Better Dwelling.
Mar 2, 2022 – All experts have forecast a rate hike of 25 basis points (bps) at this meeting. It was an easy call, since the central bank has been implying it will be the first hike. The large cluster of plots makes it clear the forecast will be 0.50% by tomorrow. It’s not always so clear going forward though.
Apr 13, 2022 – The bulk of experts have forecast another rate hike at this meeting. The overnight rate would rise another 25 bps if right, hitting 0.75% by the end of the meeting. Only one panel member didn’t see a rate hike, as the BoC plays a little catch-up on cooling inflation.
Jul 13, 2022 – The forecasts are clustered around the 1.00% mark, implying another rate hike at this meeting. Two forecasts are below this level, but only one sees the overnight rate at 1.00% or higher.
Sept 7, 2022 – The forecasts are split evenly between 1.00% and 1.25%, with only one below the 1.00% mark. Once again, the further out the forecast is, the more difficult it is to make a call, and the wider the range gets. It’s easier to tell what will happen tomorrow than next year. Unless it’s predicting if the Leafs will win the Stanley Cup, then it’s an easy call for any year that they probably won’t.
Oct 26, 2022 – The October meeting is more definitive, with most forecasts agreeing on rates at 1.25%. Two experts are above and two below, but there’s more certainty at this level with 70% of forecasts above the 1.25% mark.
Dec 7, 2022 – No one wants to ruin Christmas or the Santa Rally. The forecasts are still clustered mainly for the overnight rate at 1.25%. We can see expectations climbing though — with another forecast rising.
Jan 25, 2022 – By Jan 25, another round of rate hikes is forecast. More than half the panel sees the overnight rate at 1.50% or higher. Two forecasts are even at 1.75%, the neutral policy rate implying no need for further stimulus. The 0.75% forecast completely disappears as well, as they up their expectations.
Takeaway: Experts see easy credit conditions, but tighter than most consumers are now used to. Over the past two years, rates have been very low to encourage credit growth and inflation. Higher interest rates tend to impact lending across the curve. As interest costs rise, more money is spent on servicing, and budgets shrink.
The mechanics are the exact opposite of those that accelerated home prices recently. This can mean slow, or no (gasp!) price growth as credit normalizes. Even with an aggressive climb, the overnight rate will still be relatively low. Over the next twelve months, only two experts in the panel see pre-2020 levels.
Douglas Porter, Chief Economist, BMO
Jimmy Jean, Chief Economist, Desjardins Group
Benjamin Tal, Deputy Chief Economist, CIBC
Taylor Schleich, VP of Economics and Strategy, National Bank Financial
Prof Angelo Melino, Prof of Economics, University of Toronto
Moshe Lander, Prof of Economics, Concordia University
Tony Stillo, Director of Economics (Canada), Oxford Economics
Dan Eisner, Chief Executive Officer, True North Mortgage
Carl Gomez, Chief Economist & Head of Market Analytics, CoStar Group