Canada's central bank has kept its key interest rate unchanged.

Some analysts thought the Bank of Canada might cut the rate as the economy continues to be dragged down by the plunge in oil prices. But the Canadian dollar has plummeted along with the price of oil, and the bank may not have wanted to see a further sharp decline in the currency.

The trend-setting policy rate sits at 0.5 percent. The bank says it now expects the economy's return to above-potential growth to be delayed until the second quarter of 2016.

Bank governor Stephen Poloz dropped the rate twice last year to absorb the impact of sliding oil prices.

Canada is the world's 11th-biggest economy.