Meet Canada's new central banker, Stephen Poloz.
In a wide-ranging exclusive interview — his first since taking the reins as the Bank of Canada's new governor — Poloz spoke about monetary policy and revealed a diverse taste in music and his favourite comfort food during a sit-down with CBC News Network's Power & Politics host Evan Solomon.
"I am a former DJ and much older than my predecessor, so I like to listen to Guess Who tracks, so something like Albert Flasher would get me up and running," he said. "But these days more often I'm likely to listen to Diana Krall."
Predecessor preferred AC/DC
Mark Carney, who left the post to head up the Bank of England, was a big fan of AC/DC's Back in Black.
Poloz, 57, also revealed that when he reaches for a late-night snack, it's usually a bowl of Cap'n Crunch cereal and that most people have trouble pronouncing his last name.
Less surprisingly for a top national number cruncher, Poloz noted the last book he read was Neil Irwin's The Alchemists: Three Central Bankers and a World on Fire.
In that book, the author and Washington Post journalist chronicles the financial crisis through interviews with an elite group of policy and decision-makers who control the global money supply.
"It's absolutely fascinating, that's been written with a true insiders' view. And knowing the people now makes it even more insightful for me," he said.
Status quo for key lending rate
Poloz delivered his debut monetary report earlier today and announced that the Bank of Canada is keeping its benchmark interest rate at one per cent – the same level it has held at for nearly three years. The governor projected a "choppy" economy ahead due to unusual factors like the Alberta floods and a construction strike in Quebec.
Poloz told Power & Politics that Canadian consumers have shouldered the load during the economic crisis, buffering the downturn by buying houses, cars and other big-ticket items. Now, he hopes businesses can soon begin to rely on increased demand from beyond Canada in order to invest in more equipment and churn growth.
Pointing to uncertainties like the crisis in Europe, growth in China and other emerging market economies, and household debts as major risks, the governor said the U.S. performance is also key to Canada's recovery.
Poloz hopes inflation will climb back to its target level in the next two years – but doesn't expect any movement in interest rates in the short term.
No projected change to interest rates
"What we're saying to people is that for the time being, nothing will happen to rates, that in fact what we're trying to do right now is engineer a return to a more normal situation for Canada and indeed all around the world. It's the same issue," he said.
But when the crisis eventually lifts and the situation returns to normal, things will look a lot different than they did five years ago before the meltdown, Poloz said.
"Many parts of our economy have been remade in that time; emerging markets have become much bigger during that time, bigger trading partners for Canada than they were before," he said. "So a lot of things have changed."
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