This note provides an update on Bank of Canada staff’s assessment of the Canadian neutral rate. The neutral rate is the policy rate needed to keep output at its potential level and inflation at target once the effects of any cyclical shocks have dissipated. This medium- to long-run concept serves as a benchmark for gauging the degree of monetary stimulus provided by a given policy setting.
Canadian interest rates show a secular decline since the 1980s. Long-term survey-based forecasts of interest rates also declined, but less so and were more gradual. Our model-based estimates show an endpoint shifting over time in three phases: a decline between 1990 and 1995, a period of stability between 1996 and 2007, and a further decline since 2008. The current endpoint estimate remains clouded with uncertainty; this is an active area of research.