OTTAWA, April 21 Reuters The Bank of Canada sharply hiked its outlook for the Canadian economy on Wednesday and said it expected slack to be absorbed in the second half of 2022, suggesting rates could rise sooner than the previous forecast of sometime in 2023.
The central bank, in its spring Monetary Policy Report, also said the COVID19 pandemic would be less detrimental than expected to the economys potential output. Last year it slashed its key rate to a record low 0.25.
The bank now expects Canadas economy will grow 6.5 in 2021, up from its January forecast of 4.0, with real GDP growth of 3.7 in 2022, down from a previous forecast of 4.8. It now sees U.S. economic growth this year at 7.0, up from 5.0.
In view of the more favorable economic outlook, the Bank now expects slack will be absorbed and inflation will sustainably return to target some time in the second half of 2022, the Bank said, cautioning that the timing of the projection was more uncertain than usual.
While recent job numbers look positive, it may take considerable time for full employment to return, the bank said. Due to population growth Canada needs to add 475,000 jobs to return to prepandemic employment levels.
Reporting by Julie Gordon and David Ljunggren