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Bank of Canada leaves key rate unchanged, sticks to guidance on hike timing

·1 min read
FILE PHOTO: A sign is pictured outside the Bank of Canada building in Ottawa

OTTAWA, Dec 8 (Reuters) - The Bank of Canada on Wednesday held its key overnight interest rate at 0.25%, as expected, and maintained its guidance that a first hike could come as soon as April 2022.

The central bank, in a regular rate decision statement, also said flooding in British Columbia and the emerging Omicron coronavirus variant could weigh on economic growth by worsening supply chain disruptions and curbing demand for some services.

Still, it noted that recent data suggested Canada's economy had "considerable momentum" into the fourth quarter, with job vacancies high and wage growth picking up.

The central bank said it continued to expect inflation to remain elevated in the first half of 2022, easing back to target in the second half of the year.

It reiterated it would keep rates at record low levels until economic slack is absorbed and its 2% target is sustainably achieved, which it sees happening in the middle quarters of 2022.

(Reporting by Julie Gordon; Editing by David Ljunggren; Reuters Ottawa bureau +1 647 480 7891; david.ljunggren@tr,com)

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