Bank CEOs expecting muted economic growth, spring housing market


TORONTO — The chief executives of Canada’s biggest banks say they are expecting muted economic growth, a slower spring housing market and have concerns about the country’s future prosperity, but also expressed confidence in their ability to navigate any rough patches ahead.

Toronto-Dominion Bank CEO says that it foresees “constrained” growth in 2019, amid trade tensions and strains in the energy market, but Canada is benefiting from U.S. strength and the lender will be able to adapt to any environment.

Bharat Masrani also told reporters after its annual meeting of shareholders in Toronto he expected spring mortgage demand to “moderate” amid “nervousness” among consumers, but if job numbers remain strong, the nervous sentiment shall pass.

The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce’s chief executive told its shareholders meeting in Montreal today that amid growing commentary about being late in the credit cycle, Canada and the bank are both “very well positioned” for the cycle’s end.

Victor Dodig also says he expects the key spring housing market to be “more muted” than in the past, reflecting tighter lending guidelines and the new interest rate environment.

Royal Bank of Canada’s chief executive Dave McKay, meanwhile, told its annual meeting in Halifax today that Canada’s capacity to grow and advance the economy is “stalling” and urged, among other things, investment in energy to ensure present and future prosperity.



The Canadian Press