The Financial Post reports in its Wednesday, Oct. 19, edition that the Bank of Canada is closely monitoring debt burdens being shouldered across the economy over concerns they could become a threat to financial stability as interest rates rise, senior deputy governor Carolyn Rogers said this week. The Post's Stephanie Hughes writes that Ms. Rogers on Monday said: "The two (financial stability risks) that come to mind and the two that I think are still on our minds at the federal level would be leverage and liquidity, so high levels of debt. This is at the consumer level, corporate level and at the sovereign level, and that is also at the domestic and international level."
Concerns over consumer debt are hardly new. Canadians were carrying significant debt even before the pandemic, the BOC's second in command noted. Balance sheets even improved during the pandemic as Canadians curbed their spending and built a buffer of savings, which bank economists estimated reached $300-billion. Now, the tide is turning as rising cost pressures force Canadians to take on more debt. Total consumer debt jumped by 9.2 per cent year-over-year to $2.24-trillion in the second quarter, 16.4 per cent higher than prepandemic levels.
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