OTTAWA — With the Bank of Canada nearing its next policy decision, expectations of an interest-rate hike increased Wednesday after governor Stephen Poloz reiterated that his 2015 cuts appeared to have done their job.Poloz made the comments in an interview broadcast on business news channel CNBC. He noted the Canadian economy enjoyed “surprisingly” strong growth in the first three months of 2017 and he expected the pace to stay above potential.The Canadian dollar climbed to a four-month high of 76.44 cents US after Poloz’s comments, which fed speculation about a rate increase as early as its next scheduled announcement in two weeks. The boost lifted the loonie from an average price of 75.83 cents US on Tuesday.If the central bank increases its key rate, the big Canadian banks are expected to raise their prime rates, driving up the cost of variable rate mortgages, other loans and lines of credit tied to the benchmark rate.Poloz credited the two rate cuts introduced by the bank in 2015 for helping the economy counteract the effects of the oil-price slump, which began in late 2014. The reductions also helped increase the speed of the adjustment, Poloz added.“It does look as though those cuts have done their job,” said Poloz, who was in Portugal on Wednesday to participate in a forum hosted by the European Central Bank.“But we’re just approaching a new interest rate decision so I don’t want to prejudge. But certainly we need to be at least considering that whole situation now that the capacity, excess capacity, is being used up steadily.”Later Wednesday, deputy governor Lynn Patterson echoed Poloz in a Calgary speech, stating that the rate cuts had “helped to facilitate the economy’s adjustment to the oil-price shock.”Patterson then added: “the economic drag from lower prices is largely behind us.”In recent weeks, a shift toward more “hawkish” statements by Poloz and the bank’s senior deputy governor, Carolyn Wilkins, suggested the bank was moving closer to its first rate increase in nearly seven years. Poloz stated earlier this month that his 2015 rate cuts had done their jobs.Still, a softer-than-expected inflation report last Friday led some analysts to believe the bank might wait until the fall or later before introducing a rate increase. Inflation was once again below the bank’s target of two per cent.But economists interpreted the fresh remarks Wednesday as signals the bank has not backed away from its view, even after the inflation numbers came out. Many believe it may be preparing to raise the benchmark as early as its July 12 announcement.“They’ve made it clear that they’re ready to move,” said BMO’s Benjamin Reitzes, who added that before Poloz’s latest comments his bank was predicting an autumn rate hike.“We’re now calling for a rate increase in July.”Reitzes said Poloz’s comments indicate the governor is “comfortable” with oil in its current range of USD$40 to USD$50 per barrel.Desjardins senior economist Jimmy Jean wrote: “This does not sound like a central banker who was profoundly shaken by the weaker-than-expected (consumer price index) numbers of last Friday.”On Friday, Statistics Canada will release a key batch of data for analysts to chew on: gross domestic product numbers for April.The bank lowered its rate twice in 2015 to the very low level of 0.5 per cent to help offset the effects of the oil-price shock.Poloz said the drop in oil prices set Canada’s economy back — causing the central bank to compensate by lowering interest rates — but that growth has rebounded with an “encouraging” pace in recent months.While he said he expects growth to moderate to a more normal level, he predicted it would remain “above potential.”Poloz, who participated in a panel with Bank of England governor Mark Carney, European Central Bank president Mario Draghi and Bank of Japan governor Haruhiko Kuroda, also said virtually every major area of the world seems to be gaining economic momentum — with the United States “way out in front.”Follow @AndyBlatchford on Twitter.
Miss America suspends official spray tan company after women say they are owed money The Miss America Organization has suspended the credentials of its official spray tanning partner ahead of Sunday night’s pageant as it investigates allegations made by women across the country that they paid the tanning company, but weren’t allowed to take part in events in Atlantic City.A group of 20 women were in Atlantic City this week to work with Kelly Richardson’s B.Bronz, but others have complained they paid $499 to $1,000 but were later told they couldn’t participate. Richardson told The Associated Press that she will refund money to “anybody that’s due a refund legally,” but the women say they’ve started to bring their allegations to law enforcement.“Integrity is a core value of the Miss America Organization. Consequently, the organization took these allegations very seriously and is undergoing a thorough investigation and will act on findings accordingly,” Miss America spokeswoman Chelsea Mineur said in a statement Saturday.Richardson was convicted in Sonoma County, California, in 2003 of identity theft, burglary and counterfeiting. Police said she was driving a Ford Mustang that had been purchased using a stolen identity.She maintains that nothing was done illegally in this instance and that some of the women weren’t able to participate because the company received less space than it anticipated for a pop-up tanning salon. She said that others didn’t pass required background checks that she said were required. Mineur declined to comment on Miss America’s role with Richardson beyond the statement.“Our contract has been suspended, it’s not cancelled, as per the Miss America Organization. We’re working with them to resolve these issues,” Richardson said. “On a personal level, the choices that I made as a young person don’t define who I am today.”The story was first reported by The Trentonian newspaper in Trenton, New Jersey.Miss America named the company its official spray tanning partner in January. The company has photos of current Miss America Kira Kazantsev on its website and also promotes a Miss America-themed line of spray tanning products. Richardson owns a spray tan salon in California, but its business license has been suspended over tax issues. Richardson said her accountant died last year and she is dealing with that issue.Jennifer Kidd, who lives outside of Toronto, said that she paid $1,000 to be part of a “pro team” of spray tanners for Richardson. But she was told the night before her flight to Atlantic City that there was a problem with a background check. She said that Richardson wouldn’t answer her questions about the issue after she arrived.“Some people did get an experience that she promised, but I do believe that she had every intention of a lot more people not getting that experience, of denying people that,” Kidd said. “It feels like Kelly Richardson has essentially used Miss America, a non-profit organization focused on charity and education and empowering women and she has done just the opposite.”Richardson said Saturday evening that she issued refunds to four people out of 12 she says may be owed money before PayPal froze her account following multiple complaints from the women.__This story has been corrected to show that Richardson owns one spray tan salon in California, not two.___Cornfield reported from Philadelphia.__Follow Cornfield at https://www.twitter.com/JoshCornfield by Josh Cornfield, The Associated Press Posted Sep 12, 2015 4:46 pm MDT Last Updated Sep 12, 2015 at 7:00 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email