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Outlook Canada economy of 2024

OTTAWA — Bank of Canada governor Tiff Macklem says he expects 2024 to be a transition year as higher interest rates slow down the economy, making way for lower inflation.

In his final speech of the year, the governor lays out his expectations for a softer economy next year and offers criteria for the central bank to start discussing rate cuts.

“The effects of past interest rate increases will continue to work through the economy, restraining spending and limit growth and employment. Unfortunately, this is what’s needed to take the remaining steam out of inflation,” Macklem’s prepared remarks read.

However, this weakness is what will help get inflation back to target, he adds, which would in turn open the door to rate cut discussions.

But Macklem warns nothing is certain and there could be bumps along the way.

“Once governing council is assured that we are clearly on a path back to price stability, we will be considering whether and when we can lower our policy interest rate,” Macklem said. “I know it’s tempting to rush ahead to that discussion. But it’s still too early to consider cutting our policy rate.”

Until then, the governor says the central bank will continue to debate whether interest rates are high enough to bring inflation down.

He notes that the world is experiencing increased economic volatility, which requires central banks to be nimble.

The Bank of Canada has opted to hold its key interest rate steady at five per cent during its last three rate decisions. Economists widely expect its next move will be a cut sometime next year.