The Canadian economy outperformed expectations by adding a net 150,000 jobs in January, according to figures released on Friday, putting pressure on the Bank of Canada to reconsider a “conditional halt” on interest rate hikes declared barely a month ago.
As per the information the unemployment rate remained stable at 5%, just a decimal point higher than the record low. December’s net job increases were reduced from 104,000 to 69,200.
The labour market tightening was one of the key reasons the central bank raised rates on January 25 to 4.5%, the highest level in 15 years.
It was then the first major central bank to indicate it would defer additional increases to allow prior increases to sink in.
“The Bank of Canada’s conditional delay on interest rates was likely done partially to avoid policymakers feeling obligated to respond to any single good data report, no matter how strong,” said Andrew Grantham, senior economist.
“However, markets will react to today’s positive data by putting in a higher possibility of subsequent raises while pricing out rate cuts,” he said.