World Trade Component Indices Key Findings Full Text
Canadian National MLS sales peaked in January 2017. Two of the six WTO metrics were already in recession.
The 10yr less 2yr yield metric was at its last major wide in January 2017 and now is only 16 bps from inversion.
Since January 2017, there have been 21 unbroken consecutive negative Net Trade prints.
My recent update of Foreign Direct Investment on my Canadian Household Debt, GDP, and Balance of Trade chart demonstrates that Canadian Capital would rather flee than fight.
But peak debt may be upon us in this business cycle as banks begin to report a drop in mortgage demand.
The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce anticipates it will issue half as many new mortgages in the latter part of the year as it did in the same period of 2017 amid cooling in the real estate market. Times Colonist May 23, 2018
David Rosenberg: Ottawa created the debt monster that Canada now faces.
"47% of residential mortgages
are set to roll over for renewal next year."
David Rosenberg, chief economist and strategist at Gluskin Sheff + Associates, joins BNN Bloomberg to provide his take on the Canadian economy as Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz sounds the alarm on household debt in this country. Originally aired on May 2, 2018 on BNN Bloomberg
In December 2017, the 10yr less 2yr Canada Government bond spread narrowed to just 32 beeps away from inversion.
A year and half later the wide reached 230 beeps in May 2009, 2 months after the pit of gloom crash bottom.
We should start watching for further narrowing now especially with equity markets at their historical tops.
Market history is littered with downturns that followed new Republican presidents: Hoover (1929), Eisenhower (1953), Nixon (1969), Reagan (1981), and Bush (2001). The Trump bubble will likely prove to be the mother of all Republican presidential ebullience bubbles. Trade wars are not positive at all for the markets. They are what exacerbated the Great Depression and they should be one of the key triggers of the bursting of the China bubble.
Here's Who Could Lose the Most in a U.S.-China Trade War
Bloomberg, January 23, 2017
Pictured here is Finland's first high-rise wooden apartment.
Hey Canada - we have lot's of trees and lots of land!
In this Finnish model, tenants have the right after a 20 year amortization to own their unit with a 7% down payment and a twenty year state backed loan.
Canadian housing should be affordable and this is an idea that we hewers of wood can do. The University of BC has one up now.
In 2010, Canada was the second-largest exporter of forestry products globally. WikiPedia
Instead of exporting to the highest bidder, why not add value and produce our own housing remedies?
Only Canadians will solve our housing mess. So lets get on with it.
Snippet from "What the U.S. wants from NAFTA talks"
Globe & Mail July 17, 2017
As part of changes to trade laws, the U.S. proposes to eliminate the NAFTA global safeguard exclusion as well as the Chapter 19 dispute settlement mechanism. These panels have regularly ruled in Canada's favour, including on the long-running softwood lumber dispute, and have been long disliked by some Americans who see them as an abdication of U.S. sovereignty.
Snippet from "Freeland calls U.S. NAFTA demands 'troubling' and 'unconventional'" CBC News October 17, 2017
"You have to ask yourself whether the Americans are preparing the ground for an abrogation that will be triggered by someone other than them," "So they can blame someone for the collapse other than themselves, even though it's their outlandish proposals that may trigger the demise of the negotiation." Derek Burney, Canada's ambassador to the United States from 1989-93
Snippet from "What is Donald Trump's NAFTA plan? Canadian experts take their best guess" National Post Oct 16, 2017
“The White House says that it is focused on using trade policy to reduce bilateral trade deficits, but this goal is impossible to achieve through even radical rewrites of existing trade agreements,” House said. “The U.S. will continue running a trade deficit with the world so long as its people consume more than they save.” Brett House, Deputy Chief Economist at Scotiabank
The Lumberjack Song - Monty Python's Flying Circus
The U.S. is Canada's biggest trading partner (74% of our total exports and 65% of total imports StatsCan March 2017 data); so we pay attention to our southern neighbour; bigly.
The chart above is my look at Canadian household debt and the observation that Federal Direct Investment into Canada has now been net negative for 20 years with the just published 2016 data update. That's a trend and notice it's now at an historic wide for the last two years.
Foreigners have not been willing to invest in Canada in a net positive way for the last 20 years and Canadian investors prefer to seek their fortune offshore where labour costs are cheaper and regulations less onerous. "Canada’s fall to the third most attractive region in the world for investment is reflective of Alberta’s continued deterioration, as investors continue to view the province as less attractive for investment." Fraser Institute March 2, 2017
Canadians have made a massive long term leveraged bet on domestic housing which is a negative yielding asset that needs cash flow to sustain it. If you have recently signed up for a 25 year mortgage, you should consider asking your employer for a 25 year employment contract; you may need it if most of our business is with the U.S. All bets are off on the future.
I covered what I think to be President Donald Trump's characteristics on November 14, 2016, namely that his tendency is psychopathic and fascist: "Trumped" November 14, 2016, but Let me add some more descriptors.
Kleptocratic from the Greek, literally means "rule by thieves" (Wikipedia).
- ITEM: Trump Kleptocracy Watch: An Update. The New Yorker April 4, 2017
- ITEM: Kleptocrats manage to nationalize risk while privatizing profits. Washington Post January 5. 2017
- ITEM: Trump will turn America into an 'all-out kleptocracy' like Russia and Ukraine. Paul Krugman November 15, 2016
Sociopathic Narcissist: Donald Trump, Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Sociopathy, by John C. Espy Karnacology, March 01, 2017
Here is the introduction:
With all of the discussions going on about Donald Trump’s ‘narcissism’, I thought I might offer a broader clinical perspective regarding sociopathic narcissism. Clearly there is great ongoing discussion about Donald Trump’s ‘narcissism’, however, I believe what has been errant in the discussion is that Trump is by definition not just ‘narcissistic.’ Trump’s narcissistic manifestations also appear to be well entrenched in sociopathy.
From a pragmatic standpoint an ‘amount’ of narcissism is necessary for being successful as it is for living. What is imperative to understand, is that our now president appears to have a definable mental illness that appears to manifest as a narcissistic personality disorder with sociopathy.
This primitive form of narcissism is by definition an intractable and realistically untreatable mental illness that even under the most ideal of clinical circumstances is only manageable at best. In Mr. Trump’s case it is manifest in apparently shady business dealings and in politically oppressive ways. However, the etiology is not business per se or political by nature but rather psychological. What we see manifest in individuals who are primitively bound within this commingled pathological structure takes on the following dynamics:
Sociopathic narcissism is not a diagnosis that is mysterious or one that looks like magical realism. Rather, like most clinical processes it has a relatively well defined structure (within having almost a complete lack of intrapsychic structure) and is also relatively predictable, once the individual has revealed enough of how their sociopathic narcissistic dynamics manifest. First, as we have seen demonstrated repeatedly, and using Mr. Trump as an example, narcissists seek out others who will behave in an obsequious manner, not just while in their physical presence but also who will parrot their projections while out of their physical presence.
In clinical circles that possess a familiarity of sociopathic narcissistic personalities, there is a slang that refers to those who encircle a sociopathic narcissist, particularly one with power, as ‘pandering whores.’ The term is clearly derogatory, particularly for those who seek to achieve secondary gain from riding the coattails of a sociopathic narcissistic individual or those who also manifest the same psychological structure, but have not been able to, if you will, get the traction to achieve the ‘greatness’ or notoriety of the one that they cling too. In essence, they become ‘great’ only in the shadow of the one they bark for.
A primary source of anxiety that lives within the sociopathic narcissist is a terror of ruinous disillusionment which would ultimately terminate in a catastrophic exposure of what is in essence a fraudulent existence. As the risk of exposure intensifies, be it in a dyad or more macro group structures, their intrapsychic constellation becomes increasing more fragile and their manifest behaviour becomes more erratic.
As Timothy L. O'Brien, the executive editor of Bloomberg Gadfly and Bloomberg View succinctly put it: Two things have always driven the president: self-aggrandizement and self-preservation. Bloomberg, May 10, 2017.
Trump's need for self-aggrandizement and self-preservation is the easiest filter to use to put all Trump news through when assessing whether Canada and your income is going to be better off as a result of the news. If it is good for Trump, check your wallet.
This following interview of Trump by editors of The Economist magazine where Trump asks "Have you heard that expression ("prime the pump") used before? Because I haven’t heard it. I mean, I just…I came up with it a couple of days ago and I thought it was good. It’s what you have to do."... will probably elicit more additions to your own list of descriptors.
DONALD TRUMP, the President of the United States, along with Steve Mnuchin, the treasury secretary, and Gary Cohn, the director of the National Economic Council, sat down for a conversation with editors from The Economist on May 4th, 2017.
The Religious Right
Part of Putin's Playbook
If you want a glimpse of where we’re headed as a country, look to Russia. For years, conservatives — especially fundamentalist Christian conservatives — have held Russia as an ideal to which they could aspire. As Vladimir Putin cracked down on the free press and the rights of his Muslim and LGBT citizens, many conservatives came to see him not as a brutal autocrat but as a paternalistic defender of traditional values. Many white supremacists likewise fawn over Putin’s Russia. Neo-Nazi Richard Spencer, now famous for being punched in the face, called it the sole white power remaining in the world, and Klansman David Duke has said he believes Russia holds the “key to white survival.” J. Ryne Danielson, February 2, 2017
Why Vladimir Putin does the bidding of the Orthodox Church against the evangelical Christian religions. Copying from the playbook of Joseph Stalin, Putin revived the Russian Orthodox Church to intensify patriotic support and presents himself as a defender of Christian civilization, because he saw the church had an ability to arouse the people in a way that the party could not.
While we wait for the Clinton Trump toss up at Hofstra U. tonight, let's look at some data that affects everyone on the continent, ie: manufacturing wages measured in USD since the gloom of 2009 in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. I have been showing for some time now, that Canada's net Federal Direct Investment balance has been negative for nearly 20 years and last year it widened significantly.
The chart above shows that Canadian manufacturing wages have jumped 21% in the last 7 years while in the U.S. they have gone up only 12% and in Mexico they have DROPPED 7% to US$2.10 per hour. (no typo - that's US$2.10/hr)
Canadian households have become highly indebted (168% debt to income) via government insured credit and animal spirit peer pressure. The IMF has been sounding the alarm bell at least since 2011 "Households, however, already have done enough borrowing, at least when it comes to real estate. Any further buildup of debt only risks a painful collapse." That's what they said 5 years ago.
Canadians are just $200 away from being overwhelmed by debt, new survey finds Financial Post September 28, 2016
> Calgary-based MNP LLP, said 56 per cent of those polled — up from 48 per cent surveyed six months ago — are close to facing negative cash flow should they take on up to another $200 in monthly debt.
>The online survey of of 1,502 Canadians conducted between Sept. 6 and Sept. 12 also found 31 per cent are already not paying their bills on time, making them technically insolvent, MNP says.
> A survey this month from TransUnion found 718,000 Canadians can’t even absorb a 25-basis point increase in interest rates without being in a negative cash flow situation. One percentage point would drive 917,000 over the edge, the credit rating agency found.
> In another recent study, the Canadian Payroll Association said 48 per cent of Canadians couldn’t make ends meets if they missed just one paycheque – a dire picture of a country living paycheque-to-paycheque.
> MNP said there is some positive news about debt costs. More Canadians now say they are concerned about their debt: 52 per cent, up from 43 per cent six months ago.
The latest sales/inventory ratio suggests that the risk of sentiment change is occurring in Vancouver (not yet in Toronto); but our very high labour cost relative to our U.S. and Mexican trade channels is going to put pressure on the Bank of Canada and the Federal Government to let the CAD/USD continue dropping (Bloomberg May 2016) "Currency depreciations would help many of the U.S.'s G7 partners (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK, & EU) a lot while hurting the U.S. little, if at all. In other words, a G7 currency war would be fine as long as the U.S. remained a pacifist."
A lower CAD/USD will help Canadian exporters to some degree but not enough to compete directly with Mexico and other low labour cost and low-bar regulatory regimes (China, Vietnam, Indonesia etal). A lower CAD/USD will also put more inflationary pressure on import costs into Canada reducing disposable consumer income that will affect consumption of domestic services including the demand for credit while debt repayment schedules may have to have their amortization terms lengthened especially if earnings growth slows.
ITEM: BlackBerry Abandons Its Phone New York Times September 28, 2016 - In recent years, BlackBerry has cut thousands of jobs and closed several operating centers, including one in this city (Halifax), over the last three years. A company spokeswoman declined to discuss any future layoffs.
A lower CAD/USD will not be favourable to the foreign buyers of Canadian real estate who purchased in the last 7 years if their own currencies do not drop as much as the CAD. Will they continue to hold a wasting asset that produces a negative cash flow?
The hysterical mania of buying real estate in Canada will come to an end when we see listing inventories rise, perhaps in 1Q 2017 if a shift from greed to fear manifests.
"Vancouver in Canada has been identified by Swiss bank UBS as the global financial center with the riskiest housing bubble."
"Currently, house prices in Vancouver seem clearly out of step with economic fundamentals, and are in bubble risk territory."
Did we import a Boom?
As the mashup of charts of Canada & U.S. Savings Rate, Retail Sales and Household Ownership demonstrates, Canadians have gone all in on the consumption industry errr... I mean the construction industry. Well that's what housing construction is. Yes it does produce a finished product but essentially it is an assembly of imported commodities that we put together just like in our automotive "industry"(ironically, oil is near the top of the import list).
The Cost of Being Canadian
even when the CAD/USD is near par
Are Canadians Spent?
Canadians are being lured once again with a new record low 5 year fixed mortgage rate at 2.79% (CBC News, March 17, 2015). The creditworthy are going to take advantage of the potential to leverage this new helicopter drop.
The top panel shows Canadian Retail Sales with and without auto sales since the Pit of Gloom in March 2009. The lower panel shows the Canadian Balance of Trade as well as the Current Account in the same time frame as retail sales.
Notice in the top panel that retail sales ex-auto have plunged and are nearly at the March 2009 Pit of Gloom lows. It might be cheaper than last year to drive to the mall but when you get there, imported goods (including refined fuel) require more of those 78 cent dollars. If Canadians are not in the stores buying stuff, employers will reduce labour costs (fewer hours or more automation) and manufacturers will produce less for this market.
In the lower panel, the Canadian Balance of Trade is plunging into deeper negative readings than at the pit of gloom as the export trade gets swamped by higher import costs on a low CAD.
The Current Account overlay remains at pit of gloom lows and the only way to reverse the deficit trend is to increase exports, decrease imports, depreciate the CAD, increase domestic savings or reduce domestic and or national borrowing or a combination of the above.
Mortgage debt requires a long term transfer of savings to transform the liability into an asset. A $100,000 loan at 3% with monthly payments over 25 years requires a repayment of $142,263.39 and does not account for increases in interest rates over 25 years.
The additional $42,263.39 of interest payments is coming out of savings but not going into productive investment. A mortgage is not an investment or a savings plan.
If the collateral securing the mortgage depreciates faster than the loan principal outstanding, debt revulsion will trump consumption desire.
trade balances have been negative
"There is considerable uncertainty about the speed with which this sequence (increased foreign demand, stronger exports, improved business confidence, investment and employment growth) will evolve and how it will be affected by the drop in oil prices. Canada’s weaker terms of trade will have an adverse impact on incomes and wealth, reducing domestic demand growth." (Bank of Canada)
Export countries want their currency to be valued less than their customer's currency so that they can 1) undersell the competition and 2) try to increase inflation (which increases tax collections). Neither is working. While exports rose 1.5% in December 2014, imports rose 2.3 percent with gains in 8 out of 11 import sectors. The main contributors to the increase in imports were energy products, motor vehicles and parts, as well as metal and non-metallic mineral products. Although Canada is a net energy exporter, its economy measured by GDP is that of producing 30% goods and 70% services (Stas Can Nov 2014).
Global oil demand growth remained at a relatively suppressed 585 kb/d y-o-y in 4Q14. There are several reasons why lower crude oil prices so far seem to have failed to stimulate demand. Those include heightened deflationary risks in both Europe and Japan; adverse revenue impacts on net-oil-exporters; a global trend towards reductions in energy price subsidies and/or increases in oil consumption taxes; and the heavy falls experienced by many currencies, versus the US dollar, negating the impact of lower crude prices in domestic currency terms. Reflecting the downwardly revised macroeconomic backdrop, mid-January saw the World Bank revise down its 2015 global economic growth forecasts to 3.0%, versus 3.4% in June 2014, still an acceleration on 2014 (+2.6%) but notably less-so than previously assumed. (International Energy Agency)
New Record Lows on the Baltic Dry Index Chart
The main driver of the 2005-09 surge in the BDI was linked to commodity prices, particularly oil. The index then plummeted back to historical levels and has remained weak. Many ships that were ordered during the "bubble years" have entered the market, providing capacity growth above demand growth. Bunker fuel accounts for about 40% of vessel operating costs with limited opportunities to mitigate them. Thus, a surge in oil prices is directly reflected in shipping rates, and if energy prices drop, the BDI can also drop. Source
Always provocative is Stephen Colbert and his guest last night was Elon Musk (Youtube not available in Canada, but here is Elon unveiling the New Version of the All-Wheel-Drive Tesla Model S with dual drive and auto pilot: Video From Bloomberg TV Oct 10, 2014).
The disrupters are innovation (Musk etal), a rising supply of energy (U.S. fracking & China's solar panel ramp up) and the strengthening U.S. Dollar. If you are making a leveraged bet on continuing price rises in Calgary housing, it would be prudent to match your amortization to your wage earning contract. A sudden shift down in tar sand grade demand would force the weak hands to sell their real estate. The collapse in the BDI is due to the real price of oil dropping, an over supply in vessels, a strengthening of the U.S. Dollar, a global trade slowdown and disruption via innovation as an old generation gets replaced with the new.
1980 Oil peaked at US$35 per barrel ($100 per barrel today) Source
1986 Oil dropped from US$27 to below $10 ($58 to $22 today)
1986 Average U.S. Inflation was 1.9% Source
2014 Average U.S. Inflation is 1.7% Source
1.00 2014 US Dollar = 0.54 1986 US Dollars (using GDP Defaltor)
1.00 2014 US Dollar = 0.47 1986 US Dollars (using CPI Defaltor)
US$ Index peaked at 164.72 in February of 1985 Source
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