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No rate cut for Biden or Trudeau

A pile of money sitting on top of a table.

A pile of money sitting on top of a table.

Photo by PiggyBank on Unsplash

It looks like neither Joe Biden nor Justin Trudeau can count on lower interest rates to give them the economic or political boosts they need.

In the United States, hopes for a rate cut were dimmed when Wednesday’s consumer price index numbers dropped. The index was up 3.5% in March compared to last year, higher than February and higher than expected, which means the Federal Reserve is unlikely to cut rates in the US anytime soon.

The Bank of Canada, meanwhile, held its benchmark rate steady for the sixth straight time on Wednesday, but Bank of Canada Gov. Tiff Macklem offered room for hope. “We need to be sure this is not a temporary dip in inflation,” he said, noting that a rate cut in June is still possible.

Both Biden and Trudeau desperately want inflation to ease and for interest rates to drop – to ease cost-of-living concerns for voters.

On Tuesday, former Bank of Canada and Bank of England Gov. Mark Carney – notably considered a potential successor to Trudeau – said the era of steady low-interest rates may be over because of structural changes – namely greater volatility and the shift to a low-carbon economy.

This perspective will be a cold comfort to the Biden and Trudeau camps as they face the prospect of asking for votes while mortgage rates, grocery, and gas bills remain high.


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