As was universally anticipated, the Bank of Canada opted to hold its target overnight rate at 1 per cent this morning. Ongoing uncertainty in the Euro-zone continues to weigh heavily on the Bank's outlook. In its statement accompanying the interest rate decision, it was noted that the bank is now projecting a contained Euro-crisis, but also a brief recession in the Euro-area due to ongoing deleveraging and fiscal austerity. The Bank also expects continued weakness, but no recession, in the United States through the first half of 2012 before a resumption of stronger growth. Given various challenges in the global economy, the Bank of Canada trimmed its outlook for Canadian economic growth to 2.1 per cent in 2011, 1.9 per cent in 2012 and 2.9 per cent in 2013 which is in line with our own forecast. On inflation, the Bank now expects slack in the economy to persist longer than originally forecast, leading to a closing of the output gap at the end of 2013. This implies softer than expected inflation in coming quarters, with consumer price growth moderating before returning to the Bank's 2 per cent target by the end of 2013.
 
Overall, this morning's statement shows a very cautious Bank of Canada that is unlikely to make any significant movements on interest rates over the next two to three quarters. Further monetary tightening will be highly contingent on a brighter growth outlook in the United States and a credible solution to the Euro sovereign debt crisis. Therefore we expect the Bank of Canada to remain on the sidelines through the end of 2011 and the first half of 2012.
 
Cameron Muir
BCREA, Chief Economist
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I have listed a new property at 210 5723 COLLINGWOOD ST in Vancouver.
Chelsea @ Southlands - 2001 Silver Georgia award winner in the best low-rise category! This well laid-out 899 square foot, 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom north-facing home features a large open kitchen, an enclosed balcony and cozy gas fireplace. 1parking, 1 storage locker. Walking distance to some of the best schools (Crofton House, Kerrisdale Elementary), transit, IGA and local shops & eateries. Easy access to St. Georges, Point Grey Secondary, UBC, golf courses and more. Don't miss this one!
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The Province has announced that it will reinstate the combined 12 per cent PST and GST tax system, a process it expects to take a minimum of 18 months. The Ministry of Finance has established an action plan to guide the transition to the PST. This includes:
 
  • a process to develop HST transition rules; and
  • a process to develop legislation and regulations to re-implement the PST.
 
The anticipated target date for the switchover is March 31, 2013. "During the transition period, the provincial portion of the HST will remain in place at seven per cent," explains Finance Minister Kevin Falcon. "The PST will be reinstated at seven per cent with all permanent PST exemptions and will not be applied to items such as restaurant meals, haircuts, bikes and gym memberships – just as it was before the HST was introduced in BC," says Minister Falcon.
 

Businesses collecting the PST will need to change their electronic and manual systems and processes to assess, collect, report and remit the PST and other related taxes to the provincial government.

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