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Prime Lending Rate Increases 0.25% to 2.75%

The Bank of Canada raised its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points for the second time in two months, even as households and governments in the developed world continue to cut back on spending.

The rate is now 0.75 per cent. The bank said any further increases "would have to be weighed carefully against domestic and global economic developments."

The central bank became the only one in the Group of Seven to hike its key lending rate after keeping it at unprecedented lows during the recession.

While economic growth in Canada has largely relied on consumer spending, the bank now projects that business and trade will make up a larger part of the country's gross domestic product, but overall growth won't be as large as the bank previously thought.

The bank now estimates that Canadian GDP will expand 3.5 per cent in 2010 and 2.9 per cent in 2011, down from the previous projection of 3.7 per cent and 3.1 per cent respectively,


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