Wednesday, April 29, 2009

More Bank of Canada stuff

Back in January, I asked: Has Carney lost it?

I won't rehash, but clearly he has tempered his ridiculous tune from three months ago, in his update last week.

The recovery has been pushed out a quarter and tempered a little for 2009, but 2010 remains relatively robust. I still think that he is guilty of dreaming in technicolor but the thing that stuck out for me was the following:

Conditional on the outlook for inflation (emphasis mine), the target overnight rate can be expected to remain at its current level until the end of the second quarter of 2010 in order to achieve the inflation target.

He has now pledged to keep interest rates at 0.25% for 14 months at least provided that inflation stays in check. There is no mention of exchange rates. I am not quibbling with the rate cut or the statement, just wondering aloud:

This is not my forecast although it is a possibility in my view: What if the Canadian dollar drops back to 62 cents or worse (if falling commodity prices and stock prices continue later in 2009 and 2010)? Is there any scenario where the Bank of Canada would have to step in to raise interest rates to defend the currency? Is that price lower than 62 cents? Is it 50 cents? I remember a time in the early 90s when the Bank of Canada was forced to raise rates by 2% to defend the currency. Once again, I am not predicting this, but given the speed that the Canadian dollar dropped in the fall of 2008, a 62 cent dollar in this recession is not impossible. Obviously, if the Bank of Canada feels that it needed to raise rates, it would do so, regardless of the statement above. I am just wondering:

1) if it even has a plan for a run on the loonie (I suspect that it does)
2) if it does, did it purposely leave out mention of the loonie in its statement above because it would incite fear and would serve little purpose (I suspect this to be the case)?
3) Does this statement come back and haunt the BoC one day, if they have to reverse course, and/or does it give speculators the ammunition to launch an attack on the loonie since the BoC has pretty much ruled out an increase?

FYI: I am long both Canadian and US dollars but getting longer the US here and less long the loonie with every passing day. I see a move to the 76-77 range, and if that breaks, to the low 70s. I can also see a run at 62 cents, if the doom and gloom returns.

1 comment:

Bank of Montreal said...

The Central Banks around the world seem to be loosing their credibility. Nice example is the Bank of Canada, all the inflation, devaluing of money, slashing the capital to zero is not a good way to go. I wouldn't be surprised if one day Central Banks would go extinct. I don't think any non-banker would care a bit...

Take care, Lorne