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  • Frank Tian

🇨🇦 Bank Reserves

The 3-year Pandemic Journey

🇨🇦 Bank Reserves

Big 5 Canadian banks started the 1st quarter in fiscal year ‘23 with another allowance increase.

In Q1 (ending Jan), the collective reserves are up 2.9% Q/Q, or $0.7 billion CAD.

The 3-year journey:

🟥 In 2020, 5 banks quickly raised the reserves by 70~% or $12.6 billion, in fear of the pandemic recession.

🟩 In the 6 quarters after, 70% of the reserves build-up or $8.9 billion was gradually released. The public and private relief programs steered clear of the worst scenario.

🟨 After 3 increases from Q3 F’22, the total reserves are 32% or $5.8 billion more than the pre-pandemic level in Q1 F’20.

Along with the allowance increases:

🟦 A rate hike pause

BoC took a break in rate increase after hiking it 8 times in a row - a cumulative 425 bps increase. However, the increase might have to resume along with the Fed.

🟦 Inflation slowly down

Jan inflation down to 5.9% Y/Y vs. 8.1% last June. It is moving in the right direction but not at the speed we like to see, especially for those whose income cannot keep up.

🟦 Resilient job market

Same as the US, Canada continues to add jobs month after month. In Feb, Canada gained 22K jobs.

A healthy job market provides the foundation for consumers to hang on to the high-rate, high-inflation economy.

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