Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem speaking before the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce on Wednesday, said that through the pandemic, the two main goals of restoring the functioning of the financial markets and ensuring credit flow had been met. The focus had now shifted to stimulus on the monetary policy front, restarting work for Canadians and achieve an inflation target of 2%. To ensure liquidity in the market, the Bank of Canada expanded its balance sheet by buying corporate, provincial and federal bonds, mortgage bonds, bankers’ acceptances, and commercial paper, Macklem said.
Macklem further said of the 11 programs to restore the markets, 10 had ceased, and the remaining was quantitative easing through the purchase of Government of Canada’s bonds. In spring 2020, the bank reduced the interest rates to 0.25% to provide monetary stimulus. The governor highlighted three main achievements: First, with more Canadians getting vaccinated, the economy recovered with good resilience. Second, Due to the third wave, a complete economic recovery will still take some time. Third, the bank remains committed to helping Canadians and businesses through the pandemic.
Growth has been uneven in Q22021 after an economic recovery in fall and winter. Renewed lockdown in Q12021 dampened economic activity, Macklem added. Workers prone to contagion were the most vulnerable lot, and job figures remain at pre-pandemic levels. Data showed that inflation remained above the level of 3% in May. Repurchase of Government of Canada bonds was readjusted to $3 billion, down from $4 billion. Towards the end of the package deal, the bank’s balance sheet dipped to $475 billion, down from $575 billion in March. As of now, Government of Canada bonds accounts for 45% of outstanding nominal bonds at $350 billion. Macklem concluded that further purchases would be assessed on the strength of economic recovery.