"History, real solemn history, I cannot be interested in.... I read it a little as a duty; but it tells me nothing that does not either vex or weary me. The quarrels of popes and kings, with wars and pestilences in every page; the men all so good for nothing, and hardly any women at all - it is very tiresome." Jane Austen spoken by Catherine Morland in 'Northanger Abbey'
By contrast, between 2009 and 2015, households had added an average of just three percentage points to their debt-to-GDP ratio each year, and that includes a large jump of 5.5 percentage points in 2009 as banks ramped up lending in response to the global financial crisis. Before 2009, household debt levels had hovered around 18 percent of GDP for five years. In other words, the debt burden for Chinese consumers has nearly tripled in the past decade.
China's economy is headed for a difficult decade.
One possible reason for Canadian Millennials being not as optimistic as their American counterparts is the level of consumer debt that individuals have created which is much greater in Canada by perhaps a factor of 5.
Canadian lifestyles are dependent on debt. Not only is there interest rate risk, there is also a USD/CAD exchange rate risk (see my June 27 post) and increasing import costs.
And as I have been tracking on my Household Debt chart, there appears to be a structural change in Canada that has led to:
- The widening spread between total household debt and household mortgages means we are borrowing even more to maintain lifestyle.
- Foreign Direct Investment OUT higher than IN over the last 20 years means Canadian companies are investing outside of Canada to get a better return on Capital and Labour. For every $1 of investment coming in to Canada, $1.36 leaves (full year 2017 data)
- Since the 4Q 2008 crash into the Pit of Gloom, the Balance of Trade has been negative for 70% of the time which means that our debt obligations continue to provide more stimulus to offshore than onshore producers.
And we still don't know about the net effects of Trump's Tariff-O-Nomics. So if you are going to leverage a home purchase with the maximum amount of debt allowed under the new stress test qualifiers, make sure you have your income contract term lengths matching up to your debt obligations.
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