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The Bank of Canada has sent about as strong a message as it is ever going to send to the financial markets. First, interest rates are going up at our next opportunity, in July, and there will be more to come. Second, wake up.

Central banks never come right out and say these things. But the Bank of Canada went to remarkable lengths in Wednesday’s rate-decision announcement to send that signal loud and clear, even as it held its key rate steady at 1.25 per cent, as expected.

How remarkable? To answer that, let me explain how I analyze the bank’s rate statements in the minutes after they are published. I take the new statement and go through it with a highlighter pen, marking every new message and change in phrasing that differs from the previous one. Where the changes look particularly significant, I put asterisks in the margin. Often, I’m lucky if there’s even one asterisk to hang my column on.

Wednesday’s statement looks like an asterisk galaxy. Especially in the key paragraph at the bottom of the announcement, which sums up the bank’s position on interest rates.

Read more: Bank of Canada clears way for July rate hike, warns of need to act to temper inflation

The bank dropped the clause “over time” when saying that it believes higher interest rates are warranted. It removed the word “cautious” to describe its approach to future rate hikes. (It instead said it will take “a gradual approach” to raising rates.) And it deleted the caveat that “some policy accommodation will still be needed to keep inflation on target.”

Now, the Bank of Canada is known for fiddling with the language of its rate statements from announcement to announcement – it routinely deviates from its past choice of words, unlike, say, the U.S. Federal Reserve, which uses a near carbon copy of its previous statement with often barely perceptible tweaks.

But there are some places in the statement that even the Bank of Canada doesn’t mess around with unless it means business. That’s the bottom-line stuff. Unmistakably, its bottom line just moved.

The message now is that the Bank of Canada sees higher rates as necessary pretty much now, not “over time.” And it no longer feels the needs to be “cautious” about its belief that it needs to take rates higher.

Some economists, reading the same economic data that the Bank of Canada has been reading, had already come to the conclusion that the near-term path to further rate increases was wide open. Some had argued for an increase at Wednesday’s rate setting.

Problem was, the financial markets hadn’t caught that drift at all.

The evening before the rate announcement, bond-market pricing indicated that the market was giving only a 17-per-cent chance of a rate hike on Wednesday, and a modest 53-per-cent chance of a hike in July. What’s more, the market’s implied expectation for rate hikes had fallen considerably over the previous two weeks; traders seemed to believe rate hikes were looking less likely, not more.

BoC Governor Stephen Poloz has previously been willing to surprise the markets with a rate move they hadn’t seen coming. But even for him, this degree of market disconnect would have been a stretch. When he was criticized last September for raising rates when few economists predicted it, Mr. Poloz countered that the market was pricing in about a 50-50 chance of a hike; he had no such market sentiment to back him up this time.

So, instead, he has offered fair warning. It’s coming. Book it for July.

The bond market has quickly adjusted its thinking, though it’s hardly unanimous. As of late afternoon on Wednesday, the market was pricing in a 77-per-cent chance of a July hike, and a total of two quarter-point increases by the end of the year. That’s a lot more confidence than it was showing before the rate announcement, but it’s no better than expectations were in mid-May. Indeed, two weeks ago, the market was placing a decent bet that there might actually be three hikes over the rest of the year – something that looks remote in its thinking now.

Maybe the markets are waiting for the central bank to confirm its current views on the economy in more detail. It will do that on Thursday, as BoC deputy governor Sylvain Leduc delivers a lunchtime speech in Quebec City intended to do just that. It would be a stunner of the first order if Mr. Leduc doesn’t underline the bank’s view that the economy is running at very close to full speed, its key components are on track, and it feels increasingly comfortable with further rate increases.

About the only caveat to that and maybe this explains the market’s hesitation – is the continuing uncertainty of the NAFTA trade negotiations. But unless there is some sort of negative NAFTA shock between now and the July rate decision – on the scale of a collapse of talks and/or imminent death of the deal – the Bank of Canada looks headed full-speed for another increase.

If you’re not on board with that after Wednesday’s announcement, you risk getting run over by the train.

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