Rarely, if ever, has the Bank of Canada been so explicit about what went on at one of its policy meetings. In an extraordinary statement, Poloz told a press conference in Ottawa on October 19 that he; Senior Deputy Governor Carolyn Wilkins; and deputy governors Timothy Lane, Lawrence Schembri, Lynn Patterson, andSylvain Leduc very nearly decided to cut the benchmark interest rate this week. “Given the downgrade to our outlook, Governing Council actively discussed the possibility of adding more monetary stimulus at this time, in order to speed up the return of the economy to full capacity,” Poloz said after the release of the central bank’s latest policy announcement.
The Bank of Canada is a conscientious objector when it comes to releasing minutes of its policy debates, even as most of its peers now do so. However, Poloz has turned the opening statement at his quarterly press conferences into something similar to minutes, using the opportunity to provide a touch of context and colour. There is no template, so the public must assume that whatever Poloz has chosen to reveal is there for a reason. In January 2015, when the central bank shocked investors by cutting the benchmark interest rates, policymakers were criticized for doing too little to prepare markets. If the Bank of Canada opts to cut borrowing costs in the months ahead, no one will be able to say they weren’t warned.
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