While we wait for the June housing data to come out, the twitter-verse has been signalling more recession metrics. Hat tips for the charts to @TaviCosta @crescatkevin and @long_vol
Image slide show below of the 3 charts above.
The New York Fed’s recession probability model is currently warning that there is a 30% probability of a recession in the next 12 months. The last time that recession odds were the same as they are now was in July 2007, which was just five months before the Great Recession officially started in December 2007. July 2007 was also when Bear Stearns’ two subprime hedge funds lost nearly all of their value, which ultimately contributed to the investment bank’s demise and the sharp escalation of the U.S. financial crisis.
The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) defines a household as being in
“core housing need” if it “falls below at least one of the adequacy, affordability or suitability standards and would have to spend 30% or more of its total before-tax income to pay the median rent of alternative local housing that is acceptable (meets all three housing standards).” thecanadianencyclopedia.ca
The chart above shows the number of homeless people living in Vancouver based on homeless counts conducted between 2005 and 2019. City of Vancouver Data via Global News
The homelessness data in Canada according to Nathalie Rech, (thecanadianencyclopedia.ca) April 29, 2019 are...
"estimated that approximately 35,000 Canadians experience homelessness on any given night, and at least 235,000 Canadians are homeless in any given year." AND According to the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness, mass homelessness in Canada emerged around this time (1987 Conservatives) as a result of government cutbacks to social housing and related programs starting in 1984 (Conservatives). In 1993 (Liberals), federal spending on the construction of new social housing came to an end. In 1996 (Liberals) the federal government transferred responsibility for most existing federal low-income social housing to the provinces.
The chart below is from George Marshall, a research analyst with Statistics Canada’s Insights on Canadian Society published June 26, 2019. Their conclusion follows the chart.
Conclusion from Statistics Canada’s Insights on Canadian Society.
Using data from the 2016 SFS, this study looked at the association between the debt-to-asset and debt-to-income ratios and financial distress, while controlling for various socioeconomic characteristics. Three financial distress indicators were considered—missing non-mortgage payments, missing mortgage payments and taking out a payday loan.
The varied results call for a nuanced interpretation. The first point to note is that the debt-to-asset ratio tells a more consistent story than the debt-to-income ratio. Across all three distress indicators, people in the highest debt-to-asset groups have a higher probability of reporting distress. However, after controlling for other factors, the debt-to-income ratio is not associated with the measures of financial distress since the results are not statistically significant.
The debt-to-asset ratio might be a more predictive indicator because debtors can often sell assets to make debt payments, even if they do not have the income to make payments. Alternatively, those who own homes often have access to home equity lines of credit. These results are important because they suggest that the debt-to-asset ratio is a better indicator of financial precariousness than the debt-to-income ratio.
Additionally, some demographic groups face relatively higher probabilities of reporting financial distress, including lone-parent families, and “other” family types. Conversely, families whose major income earner had a university degree, were less likely to be in financial distress. Similarly, homeowners with or without a mortgage were less likely to miss payments or take out payday loans.
Financial distress has many dimensions and can take multiple forms. Future measurement should provide additional details, such as the frequency at which specific financial services are used when under financial duress. More research will be needed to better comprehend the extent to which Canadians are facing financial difficulties.
As Cities Grow, So Do the Numbers of Homeless
If your capital is tied up in assets that are dropping in value, your lifestyle will come under the scrutiny of your bookkeeper, accountant and banker. And this reappraisal, if your net worth is shrinking, will lead to decisions focused on turning debt into equity. Sell the asset or accelerate the payments on debt principal; either way, your lifestyle will change. If for any reason your cash flow is trending towards negativity, the need to sell assets quickly becomes the first choice. As we know, Canadians are all in on the debt side of their balance sheets with household obligations at record debt to asset levels.
- ITEM JUN 2019 Bloomberg: Delinquency rates rise in Canada as consumers add more debt: Equifax
- ITEM MAY 2019 CBC News: High household debt, possible housing market shocks are main risks to the economy: Bank of Canada
- ITEM APR 2019 Better Dwelling: Canadian Household Debt Is Growing Much Faster Than Asset Values
- ITEM MAR 2019 The Insurance Journal: Many Canadians say they will liquidate assets to pay down debt in 2019
Prominent Canadian economist David Rosenberg is warning that record household debt levels in the country will hinder economic growth...
(ie: your income, your cash flow, your ability to service your debt)
Bill Gross of Janus Capital commented on... his recent investors’ letter (emphasis added is ours Macro-Ops.com):
There is a phase in the debt cycle when revulsion sets in.
At the end of the business cycle there are three forces at work:
1) Rising interest rates sap demand and raise the cost of capital.
2) At the same time, according to capital theory, future returns decline due to over capacity.
3) While demand is decreasing and there’s a glut of supply, the herding nature of market participants create euphoric sentiment that drives expectations (and market prices) well past likely outcomes.
This process is what forms a market top. Alex Barrow Co-Founder of Macro Ops
Looking at Federal Direct Investment in Canada, future returns are moot if there is a continuation of the last 20 years of foreign direct investment in Canada that has remained negative relative to Canadians making direct investment offshore to get a better return on capital and labour. Global over capacity means that our export markets for goods and services are price marked to global markets.
With respect to the third point above and concentrating on the wrecked affordability of housing in Canada, the FOMO herd is facing waning sales and waxing inventory and the current low cost of borrowing is no longer a stimulus to enter into risk positions. And this is playing out now in Canada's poster province ground zero metro and Demographia's international runner up: Vancouver.
The household debt service ratio, measured as total obligated payments of principal and interest on credit market debt as a proportion of household disposable income, edged up to 14.9% in the first quarter (2019), as total obligated debt payments grew at a faster pace than disposable income.
Ray Dalio's Economic Machine
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While we wait for the June real estate stats to come out, let's look at the relationship between WTI Oil prices and real estate in Canada.
The top chart shows the WTI oil prices dropping into month end lows and as the inset seasonal chart shows, the drop is happening when the price variability is at one of the four low points in the year which suggests this year may not be much different.
Now look at the Canadian scene via the TSX cash markets in the chart below. As the chart plots since 2015 demonstrate, when the energy sector price drops so does the real estate sector.
These cash markets react quickly to changes "on the ground" and are not restricted by the handicap of finding a buyer.
The relationship between oil prices and real estate are clearly seen in the Calgary housing chart with its total sales plot and the TSX Energy plot overlays, both of which have been descending since 2013 while the energy plot itself has been dropping since the July 2008 peak. It also shows up on my chart of TSX indexes for Energy, Real Estate, Financial Services and Gold... and gold is maybe leading the way for another leg down.
Gold heading down makes sense since the U.S. Dollar (my chart of Canadian real estate in USD) has been rising since 3Q 2017 and a high USD/CAD ratio can quickly unwind marketplace sentiment when it comes to a speculative commodity which real estate has been transformed into with the global suppression of leverage costs.
Oil Breaks Down: Should Stock Market Bulls Be Worried?
From CHRIS KIMBLE, technical market analyst:
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article about crude oil’s recent correlation to the S&P 500 (stock market) and that its initial move lower may be sending a bearish signal to stocks. Since then, crude oil has fallen sharply through its up-trend line, sending a bearish message to Oil bulls.
Is the S&P 500 the next to fall?
Below is an updated chart of Crude Oil showing the multi-month downtrend (1), and the ultimate break down through its near term up-trend line (2).
More importantly, from a pattern perspective, Crude Oil is putting in a large weekly reversal bar (bearish). This warrants watching as Crude Oil and the stock market remain highly correlated since their peak in October. Stay tuned!
Thanks to Chris Kimble for the chart above; get a FREE TRIAL to his work.
and U.S. Corporate Credit as a % of GDP (via @trevornoren).
When stock market equities deflate, household financing sentiments change.
...the stock market plays a significant role in influencing the growth and/or reduction in volatility and market risk.
...the health of the stock market acts as a bellwether for a variety of purchasing decisions made by consumers across the domestic economy.
...in a falling stock market, however. As the number of prospective buyers decreases, it is possible that banks will alter their lending policies to woo individuals from an ever-decreasing pool of prospective buyers.
...we can see how changes in the stock market do influence the mindset and eagerness of home buyers. With that in mind, people who are ready to buy a home should watch the stock market to determine whether or not they are able to leverage market volatility to their advantage during their negotiations with banks.
The above quotes are from Does the Stock Market Affect the Housing Market? By: Ryan Cockerham | Reviewed by: Ashley Donohoe, MBA; Updated March 06, 2019 via Zacks.com
Where's the Steering Wheel?
GM bought Cruise in 2016 for $1 billion to jump-start its self-driving efforts. The company has said it plans to deploy its fully driverless cars, without steering wheel or pedals, for commercial ride-hailing use as early as 2019.
Engineering - Autonomous Vehicle Hardware & Software +/- 90 positions
Engineering - Product & Infrastructure +/- 70 positions
Executive Support 3 positions
Finance & Strategy 5 positions
Global Customer Support 1 positions
Global Vehicle & Market Operations 6 positions
Legal & Government Affairs 2 positions
Marketing & Communications 6 positions
People +/- 35 positions
Product Management and Design 11 positions
Product Operations 2 positions
- Increase one's skill set to a higher wage demand level,
- move to where the income to expense ratio is more favourable
- or drop out.
Don't bother getting a driver's license.
‘Maxed out’: 48% of Canadians on brink of insolvency, survey says.
That's what the recent survey via BNNbloomberg.ca conducted by Ipsos for insolvency firm MNP Ltd. says.
48% - of Canadians are $200 or less away from financial insolvency every month.
35% - say an interest rate increase would move them towards bankruptcy.
54% - worry about their ability to repay debts.
40% - said they won’t be able to cover all living and family expenses in the next 12 months without taking on more debt.
55% - say they are $200 or less away from the financial brink in Atlantic Canada.
51% - say the same thing in Quebec.
48% - say the same thing in Ontario.
The poll is conducted quarterly for MNP and surveyed 2,070 Canadians online from March 13-24... phew.
Fortunately for the rest of us, this is a small sample relative to our more than 35 million residents... but according to sciencebuddies.org a survey of 2000 random people will produce a margin of error of only 2.2%. Oh oh.
If this poll is a reflection of Canadian's ability to continue borrowing to fund lifestyle as they have for the past decade of accelerated leverage, then next up will be a slowdown in consumption which is Canada's major GDP input. The April 2019 IMF table of Global Economy projections is below; Canada's economy is indeed facing a challenge.
But this is not new news because since the July 2008 commodity peak, the Canadian Balance of Trade has been negative for 77% of the time (monthly prints). Also the Federal Direct Investment metrics have been negative for the last 20 years and the spread has widened in the last 3.
...and the Yield Curve
The flattening of the yield curve is a signal from the bond market that it is worried about the economy and its ability to continue to grow. In addition, it is a signal that future inflation is nowhere to be seen. One outcome of an inverted yield curve is a weakening in bank lending as banks begin to earn less profits from making loans. In the most recent earnings announcements, the banks have already made this clear as they expect net interest margins to contract. This is because a bank’s role is to borrow funds at usually lower short-term rates and lend those funds at usually higher longer-term interest rates. The spread between these two rates represents the banks’ profits.
However, with an inverted yield curve, the spread between the short-term and long-term rates narrows and the banks’ incentives to lend are greatly reduced. Not only is the profit margin eroded by the yield curve, but the banks could become worried about the possibility of an economic slowdown. As banks become less incentivized to extend credit (make loans) to their customers, it results in a vital lifeline of the economy being choked off. PacificaPartners.ca
High household debt levels reduce consumption abilities which puts downward pressure on employment which is already facing the digital transformation of supplying goods and services. Lender and borrower risk leads to debt revulsion by both sides of the equation.
Credit booms are followed by credit busts and as the chart shows, Canadian Residential Mortgage Credit (%Y/Y lending) has been shrinking dramatically since the July 2008 Crude Oil Peak and the Crash into the March 2009 Pit of Gloom (6 Metros Chart).
It's been 10 years since the 2008-09 crash which is difficult to even remember now after 10 years of watching our housing prices more than double. But as Hilliard Macbeth points out in the chart above, when residential mortgage lending momentum approaches and dips into a negative metric, housing prices tumble and recession metrics begin to appear. In the two biggest FOMO markets, Vancouver and Toronto, prices indeed have been dropping in the 7-9% per year range after peaking 18-20 months ago respectively (Plunge-O-Meter).
As Hilliard further points out:
"There hasn’t been a serious economic downturn in Canada since the 1990s; the last time that mortgage credit grew as slowly as now. Unfortunately bank lending is pro-cyclical, so lenders will tighten credit conditions just as real estate borrowing stops growing, which will make the downturn worse. This boom/bust cycle is inevitable as long as lenders focus on lending for real estate investment and speculation rather than more productive investments. To change that focus, a new set of rules and regulations that govern lending is needed.” Quote included in Jason Kirby and MACLEAN's Most Important Charts to Watch in 2019
Canadian Banks on "Credit Doomsday Watch" CIBC
The CIBC analysts said that Canadian banks appear to be headed for their weakest credit cycle since the oil price collapse, which caused related loan losses to jump in 2016. While their prediction is “not a coming apocalypse,” the report said the banks’ loan losses last quarter had a “one-off feel to them” that could become more frequent. “For reference, the actual doomsday clock sits at two minutes to midnight,” the analysts said.
Well it could easily be one o'clock in the morning as weak hands cut their losses. Hat Tip to @Hutchyman
It's important to remember that our housing and credit boom is part of the global credit boom and it's fading. Hat Tip to @TaviCosta
Gabriela Ramos, OECD Chief of Staff and Sherpa overseeing the Organisation’s work on Inclusive Growth, presented in more details the main findings of the report, saying “our analysis delivers a bleak picture and a call for action. The middle class is at the core of a cohesive, thriving society. We need to address their concerns regarding living costs, fairness and uncertainty.”
The cost of a middle class lifestyle has increased faster than inflation. Housing, for example, makes up the largest single spending item for middle-income households, at around one third of disposable income, up from a quarter in the 1990s. House prices have been growing three times faster than household median income over the last two decades.
More than one in five middle-income households spend more than they earn and over-indebtedness is higher for them than for both low-income and high-income households. In addition, labour market prospects have become increasingly uncertain: one in six middle-income workers are in jobs that are at high risk of automation, compared to one in five low-income and one in ten high-income workers.
Read the Full Report "Governments must act to help struggling middle class"
While we wait for the March 2019 housing data the IEA notes that CO2 emissions have more than doubled since the early seventies and increased by around 40% since 2000 and they rose by 1.7% in 2018.
Chris Hayes All In with AOC
The Green New Deal March 29, 2019
Top 10 Climate Change Myths - April 2018
Peter Hadfield (Youtube handle "potholer54")
a British freelance journalist author, geologist
The impact of exposure to air pollution
on cognitive performance
Over 92 per cent of the world’s population are continually breathing in unsafe air, which has led air pollution to be designated a public health crisis.
This paper estimates the contemporaneous and cumulative impacts of air pollution on cognition by matching the scores of verbal and math tests given to people age 10 and above in a nationally representative survey with local air quality data according to the exact dates and locations of the interviews.
We find that accumulative exposure to air pollution impedes verbal test scores. As people age, the negative effect becomes more pronounced, especially for men. The gender gap is particularly large for the less educated.
Our findings about the damaging effect of air pollution on cognition, particularly on the aging brain, imply that the indirect effect on social welfare could be much larger than previously thought. A narrow focus on the negative effect on health may underestimate the total cost of air pollution.
Full Report from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, September 2018
History, Charts & Curated Readings
"Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement; and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." George Santayana Vol. I, Reason in Common Sense
Balance Of Trade
Rent Or Buy