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The Bank of Canada kept its target overnight rate at 1 per cent this morning. In the statement  accompanying the decision, the Bank forecast that the Canadian economy will gain momentum through the year following a weak second half in 2012, but slow growth through the first half of this year will limit real GDP growth to just 1.5 per cent in 2013 before rising to 2.8 in 2014. The Bank's revised forecast means that the economy is now projected to return to full capacity in mid-2015, rather than in 2014 as previously predicted. A more persistent output gap will keep downward pressure on inflation, which is now expected to gradually rise to the 2 per cent target rate by mid-2015. The Bank continued to sound a much more dovish note on future rate increases, noting that the considerable policy stimulus currently in place will likely remain appropriate for "a period of time, after which some modest withdrawal will likely be required." 

With an expanding output gap and inflation trending well below its 2 per cent target, it is natural to ask if the next move by the Bank of Canada is a rate cut rather than the rate hike that almost all economists have penciled into their forecasts. However, unless the economy deteriorates much more or inflation trends much lower, the Bank is unlikely to lower interest rates since doing so would run counter to a year of loudly exhorting households to cut back on debt. Instead, the Bank will likely continue to use forward guidance about the need, or lack thereof, for future rate hikes in order to influence long-term rates and the Canadian dollar lower. The combined of effect of which should provide continued stimulus to the Canadian economy.

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Home safety is more than locked doors and alarms 



When it comes to home security, most homeowners think about door locks and alarms. These are, of course, very important. However, there is also a lot you can do around your property to prevent the possibility of a break-in.

 

One important part of home security is outdoor lighting. Your home doesn't need to be lit up like a baseball diamond at night, but your exterior lighting should illuminate your yard enough to be a deterrent to burglars.

 

Some burglars hide around the property and wait for someone to arrive and open the door so they can use that opportunity to force their way into your home.

Security experts suggest that you walk around your property and look for areas where someone could hide, such as behind tall shrubbery like a cedar hedge or behind a tool shed. Make sure these areas are well lit.

 

Pay particular attention to lighting around exterior doors, especially the back door.

 

Home security experts also recommend that exterior lighting be installed with a timed dimmer. The lights can then be set to cast a bright light in the early evening, and then a dimmer light throughout the rest of the night.

 

Lights installed with motion detectors can also be effective in certain areas. The sensors will cause the light to turn on or brighten when someone comes onto that part of your property. Generally, thieves will flee as soon as they see a light turn on.

 

Do you hide a spare key under the front door mat or in a flower pot? No matter how clever you think you are, experienced thieves know all the common hiding places. So, if you need to have a spare key available, put it in a small combination lock box and hide the box. That way, if a burglar finds the box, he still won't be able to open it and access the key.


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