The Bank of Canada has kept its benchmark lending rate unchanged at one per cent again, the same level it has been at for three and a half years.

The central bank's rate, known as the target for the overnight rate, is the benchmark on which many mortgages and savings rates for consumers are based.

The bank last moved to change the rate when it raised it to its current level of one per cent in September 2010, when Mark Carney was in charge. New governor Stephen Poloz has held the top job since last summer and has thus far not opted to alter his predecessor's course in any major way.

Stronger growth

The Canadian economy performed better than the bank was expecting in the last part of 2013, and it expects the global economy to strengthen this year and next. But neither of those upbeat developments is enough to compel the bank to raise rates just yet.

Indeed, the language of the statement offered few hints of what direction the bank is leaning in, if and when it decides to act.

"The timing and direction of the next change to the policy rate will depend on how new information influences this balance of risks," the bank said.

The Canadian dollar didn't move much in reaction to the news, gaining about a fifth of a cent to change hands at 90.38 cents US shortly after the statement came out.

"The Bank of Canada remains in wait and see mode, citing that the future path of rates depends on how the data evolves," TD Bank economist Leslie Preston said after the release came out. "TD continues to expect the Bank of Canada to sit comfortably on the sidelines until the second half of next year."