Tiff Macklem
Bank of Canada

Canadian interest rates don’t have to match U.S. or global rates, Bank of Canada governor Tiff Macklem says, but they need to stay within a certain ballpark.

Macklem made the comments while testifying before the House of Commons finance committee alongside senior deputy governor Carolyn Rogers on Thursday.

“Our interest rates in Canada don’t need to be the same as the U.S. rate or global rates. But there is a limit to how far they can diverge,” Macklem said.

“We’re not close to that limit.”

The Bank of Canada is widely expected to begin lowering its policy rate in the coming months, while forecasters expect the U.S. Federal Reserve to take longer.

The Bank of Canada’s key interest rate is currently sitting at 5%, which is below the Federal Reserve’s target range for the funds rate of 5.25–5.5%.

The U.S. Federal Reserve held interest rates on Wednesday and signalled it won’t cut them until it is more confident that the annual inflation rate is headed back to the 2% target.

The ongoing strength of the U.S. economy has made it a global outlier. Inflation has also been stickier south of the border.

β€œIn recent months, inflation has shown a lack of further progress toward our 2% objective,” said Jerome Powell, the chair of the Federal Reserve.

“It is likely that gaining such greater confidence will take longer than previously expected,” he added.

In contrast, the Bank of Canada has been encouraged by recent progress on the inflation front.

Core measures of inflation, which strip out volatile prices, have eased over the last few months.

Canada’s annual inflation rate was 2.9% in March, below the U.S.’s 3.5%.

Macklem has said that the Bank of Canada is seeing the right trends to begin lowering interest rates, but it wants to see those trends sustained for longer.

Forecasters widely expect the Bank of Canada to begin lowering its policy rate in June or July.

β€” With files from The Associated Press