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Who wins and who loses when the Bank of Canada raises rates

Below is a breakdown of some potential winners and losers. With the Bank of Canada keeping its main policy rate near rock-bottom levels since the 2008 financial crisis, Canadian banks have found their net interest margins — the difference between the money they earn on the loans they make and what they pay out to savers — under pressure. “As interest rates have continued to decline, they couldn’t lower their funding costs anymore,” says Barclays analyst John Aiken. For example, the banks fund much of their lending via deposits, and they don’t want to reduce the interest rate on savings accounts to below zero, Aiken notes. Rising rates will alleviate some of that pressure on their net interest margins. Canada’s long ride with rock-bottom rates appears to be ending Another sector that’s poised to benefit from rising rates is the insurance industry. Life insurance companies have liabilities that are very long term in nature, but their investments tend to be for much shorter terms. “Therefore, in a rising interest rate environment, you actually get more return on your assets as they reprice than what you had originally factored in when you wrote the contract,” says Aiken. That being said, the major Canadian life insurance companies have a greater exposure to U.S. interest rates than to Canadian ones, Aiken notes. Homeowners with outstanding mortgage debt are likely to see their monthly payments rise — but only by a little. Rob McLister, the founder of RateSpy.com, says that if the big banks boost their prime rates by a quarter of a point, the typical variable-rate borrower will see their monthly payment go up by about $24. That’s based on an average mortgage of around $201,000, with an average rate of roughly 2.15 per cent, an average contracted amortization period of 22.4 years and a remaining amortization of somewhere between 14 to 19 years. “One or two rate hikes alone won’t derail the housing train or economy.

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