‘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.
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.
...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.
My Canadian yield curve chart above with its 10yr less 2yr plot, shows inversion is only 8 beeps away on March 2019 data. The U.S. Fed's chart is similarly poised.
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.
Marc Goldfried, head of Canoe Financial Fixed Income talks with BNN Bloomberg about dropping yields confirming a weakening economy.
The Bank rate has been 2% for the last five months but the Bank of Canada 2yr and 10yr benchmark bond yields are indeed inverted to the Bank Rate as I have noted on my Yield Curve chart (FEB 2019)
On march 11th 2019, David Larock an independent full-time mortgage broker laid out his "Case for Lower Canadian Mortgage Rates", below edited, but read the whole feature report at MoveSmartly.com
The Bank of Canada acknowledged that our current economic slowdown is now “more pronounced and widespread” than it had previously forecast.
On this last item, my Household Debt chart is in agreement.
Thanks to Jesse Felder @jessefelder and
Tuomas Malinen @mtmalinen for the charts above.
Today, March 13th 2019, the live
Canadian Productivity Chart exhibits a slowdown.
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.
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
Lance argues in the chart above that the...
Intermediate-Term Picture Remains Bearish
On a intermediate-term basis, both of our weekly “sell signals” remain, and as shown below, the market once again failed at its overhead trend line last week as well as the downtrend resistance from the previous peaks. These failures keep downward pressure on the market as prices continue to follow the “path of least resistance.”
The weekly chart also shows the rare “buy” and “sell” signals issued on a longer-term basis. Currently, as the market struggles with its current correction process, it is also very close to triggering a more important “sell signal” which could indicate a further correctionary process over the next several months.
Over the last 25-years, these sell signals have only been triggered 5-other times.
1. At the peak of the market prior to the “Asian Contagion”
2. Just prior to the peak of the market in 2000
3. At the peak of the market in 2007
4. At the peak of the market 2011 as QE-2 ended and the U.S.was facing the “debt ceiling debate.”
5. Near the peak of the market from the collision of the end QE-3, the “taper tantrum” and “Brexit.”
But I did find this chart here of the S&P 500 vs the Case Shiller U.S. Housing Index:
It is clear that some sort of correlation exists between stock values and real estate values. Stocks started their recent bull run in 2009. As you can see from the chart above, real estate values didn’t start moving up steadily until 2012. So there is a lag here. But what is interesting is the correction in stock values in 2008 matched up with real estate values. In fact, real estate values started trending lower before the market crash. DoctorHousingBubble.com
In January 2018 the S&P 500, DOW and TSX peaked.
U.S. vs Canada Private Debt to GDP
Steve Keen "Can we avoid another financial crisis?"
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
The Premier of BC Christy Clark is in the news again with her pre-election enticement of no interest loans for 60 months of up to $37,500 to wannabe buyers who need a bigger cash down payment to qualify for a mortgage to purchase real estate in BC's absurd housing market that has been on ice since the summer. BNN Dec 16, 2016
The chart mashup above was prompted by an observation from a reader (S.B.) that the technical structure of the Vancouver housing market is now within momentum levels for a trend change to the downside as soon as the next retest and failure of the recent highs completes; the setup being the "anti-trade". S.B. made earlier observations here "3 Vancouver Views" Sept 2016 and "Simple as ABCD" May 2016; thanks SB.
The evidence of serious downward repricing has this provincial government attempting to goose the demand side of the market with free ZIRP money provided by you and me dear tax payer. Not only will we tax payers supply the down payments to people who don't qualify under the already sub prime CHMC lending standards, but we are additionally collectively subsidizing the banking and mortgage industry that has little or no lending risk and we are continuing to feed the provincial government tax collector via the property transfer tax. "In total the property transfer tax brought in $1.53 billion for the government, $605 million more than budgeted" said BC Finance Minister Mike de Jong CBC NEWS July 2016.
Ontario and Toronto are also implelled to goose the fence sitters into buying into the market:
Ontario land transfer tax rebate doubled to $4K for first-time homebuyers. City News November 2016.
Ontario’s land transfer tax rises from 0.5 per cent on the first $55,000 of a purchase price to two per cent for everything above $400,000. Toronto’s land transfer tax is one per cent on the first $55,000 and two per cent on the rest. Toronto offers rebates of up to $3,725 for first-time homebuyers.
Sousa also announced a freeze in the property tax on apartment buildings while the government reviews how the tax burden affects rental market affordability. (Will landlords pass this along to tenants?)
Political ideology at all levels of government since the post war "invention" of CMHC has destroyed any possibility of a social contract that includes affordable housing as a basic right of tax payers. It appears to me that governments at all levels in Canada will continue to promote and urge Canadians to add even more household debt to their balance sheets that are already at historic levels nationally and globally. Although the Federal Government appears on the surface to be more rational than the provincial governments by warning Canadians who already have high levels of debt, they are not concerned with Canadian Banks who continue to be sheltered by tax revenue from the private sector. What they are concerned with is a RECESSION and THEIR OWN FEDERAL CASH FLOW. Is it irony or finger wagging and buck passing? The government is hooked on the commodification of real estate; it's a cash cow with a golden udder of debt that we are all attached to.
Here is the Federal Government at work:
CHMC Promotions Oct 2016 by the Globe and Mail
- 1992 Allow RRSP withdrawals for home purchase.
- 1999 Allow purchase with only 5% down payment.
- 2003 Remove house price ceiling on insured mortgages.
- 2003 "Green" mortgage insurance premium reduction and environmental incentives.
- 2005 Self Employed can self declare a 15% gross up of income and access all mortgage insurance products.
- 2005 Amortization increased to 30 years on insured mortgages.
- 2006 Amortization increased to 35 and 40 years on insured mortgages.
Warning from the Bank of Canada:
Risk of household financial stress and a sharp correction in house prices.
Some notes from the Satyajit Das videos below:
- Real growth was produced from the Industrial Revolution.
- But since the 1980's, growth has been fuelled by debt.
- An asset's income should pay for its debt.
- In the 1950's $1 to $2 of debt paid for $1 of GDP.
- By 2007-2008, $4 to $5 of debt paid for $1 of GDP.
- China in 2016 needs $6 to $8 of debt to pay for $1 of GDP.
- In the 20th century, population doubled and was an organic driver of growth. Now population does not drive growth.
- Innovation contributes to growth but productivity is falling.
- Now we have a service economy not a productive one.
- Innovation rates are falling dues to lack of R&D funding.
- We cannot repay debt without growth.
Property is an illusion by Satyajit Das
The End of growth as we know it by Satyajit Das - Key themes of his new book "A Banquet of Consequences"
"Whatever the cause..."
The WTO in their concluding paragraph from their September 27, 2016 Trade Statistics and Outlook is not sure why global trade growth is declining.
A number of reasons have been advanced to explain the decline in the ratio of trade growth to GDP growth in recent years, including the changes in the import content of demand, absence of trade liberalization, creeping protectionism, a contraction of global value chains (GVCs), and possibly the increasing role of the digital economy and e-commerce, but all have likely played a role. Whatever the cause, the recent run of weak trade, and economic, growth suggests the need for a better understanding of changing global economic relationships. The WTO, and other international organizations, are working hard to understand this current evolution and its implications for continued growth.
Notice on the WTO chart above that despite the last 90 months of ZIRP & NIRP, global trade growth relative to GDP has recently plunged and both variables have been well below their respective highs all during that 90 month or 7.5 year period. State promotion of credit expansion has worked perfectly at expanding credit and now the borrowers have the job of turning debt in equity via the long process of amortization or the quicker route of liquidation. If borrowers are preoccupied with debt repayment as the competition for income (sales) increases then sellers better plan on more price and currency competition as well.
The WTO projects that export growth in 2016 from North America will drop from their April 2016 guess of 3.1% to their current forecast of 0.7%.
I have been tracking Household Debt, GDP, Foreign Direct Investment and Balance of Trade and it's clear that for the last nearly two decades, net investment capital is outbound from Canada and in the last 7.5 years of ZIRP & NIRP, Canadian net trade has been mostly negative.
Investment capital travels to where the returns are high relative to risk. The cost of Labour is a key expense and sleepless AI labour is a direct competitor. ITEM CBC News June 15, 2016 "42% of Canadian jobs at high risk of being affected by automation, new study suggests"
On a provincial basis, Ontario has the lowest proportion — 41.1 per cent — of jobs at high risk of automation, while P.E.I. has the highest with over 45 per cent of jobs at high risk of automation over the next 10 to 20 years.
The current levels of peak housing prices in Vancouver and Toronto requires much more labour input from a labour pool that must compete for income not just locally but globally as well and that competition is going to won by those with better education and mobility resources than their peers.
For those of you thinking of getting off the grid, here you go, the home farming robot:
Bob Dylan wins Nobel Prize for Literature
BBC News October 13, 2016
The aging boom in real estate has been fabulous for sellers unloading risky and depreciating assets. A recent study of "good and bad booms" (abstract below) suggests that as productivity declines over an aging boom, the risk of insufficient collateral becomes evident. The U.S. productivity chart has momentum relative to Canada's.
Abstract: Good Booms, Bad Booms
by Gary Gorton and Guillermo Ordoñez, February 2016
NBER Working Paper No. 22008
Credit booms are not rare and usually precede financial crises. However, some end in a crisis (bad booms) while others do not (good booms). We document that credit booms start with an increase in productivity, which subsequently falls much faster during bad booms.
We develop a model in which crises happen when credit markets change to an information regime with careful examination of collateral.
As this examination is more valuable when collateral backs projects with low productivity, crises become more likely during booms that display large productivity declines. As productivity decays over a boom as an endogenous result of more economic activity, a crisis may be the result of an exhausted boom and not necessarily of a negative productivity shock. We test the main predictions of the model and identify the component of productivity behind crises.
Canada needs stronger business investment
Glen Hodgson, Conference Board of Canada
“2015 was another mediocre year for the Canadian economy, growing by only 1 per cent in 2015 after a technical recession in the first half of the year. The weakest aspect of Canada’s economy this year was the feeble performance of private investment, projected by the Conference Board of Canada to contract by nearly 8 per cent compared to 2014 levels. Much of this contraction is due to the sharp pullback in investment in the oil patch, now expected to decline by 40 per cent over the course of the year. That result for 2015 is depressing enough—but as the chart shows, Canada’s poor private investment performance in 2015 was not a one-time thing.
There’s more to this story than just low oil prices as Canadian firms continue to sit on mountains of cash embedded in their balance sheets. As a result, it is no surprise that we are in the midst of a multi-year period where growth in private investment is weak—the lagging edge of our economy—with little sign of a significant turnaround in 2016. A prolonged period of little or no real growth in private investment is bad news for productivity growth, since it suggests we are missing opportunities to invest in new technology, build our productive base and boost the competitiveness of the Canadian economy. What could prompt stronger investment growth? The growing U.S. recovery should boost demand for Canadian exports and eventually cause firms to invest in order to expand their productive capacity and seize the available export opportunities. But until there is evidence that Canadian firms are responding to a stronger order book, private investment will remain the lagging edge of our economy.”
Global GDP is slumping
Bob Hoye, Institutional Advisors
“The graph of global nominal GDP runs from 1981 to date and covers another “new era” of financial manias. Our era has been fabulous as reckless adventurers have dominated financial markets as well as central banks. As with previous examples, the action has been mainly in financial assets with real estate prices soaring in the financial centres. Although the experiment in ambitious policy has seemed without limit, there was a severe setback in 2009.
The alert to the “Great Recession” was classic. Credit spreads reversed to widening in June 2007 and commodities reversed to weakening in June 2008. The rest as the saying went, was history. At -5 per cent, the current slump in global GDP is almost as severe as the one in 2009. This was preceded by the reversal in credit spreads and weakening commodities that began in June 2014. Central bankers have been charged with preventing contractions. This diminishes perceptions of risk and accounts get leveraged. Throughout history margin clerks have always trumped central bankers. This time around, central banks are highly leveraged.”
Bob Dylan - Things Have Changed
First In ~ First Out
According to StatsCan, in 2001 after the dot.com blowout and the markets then turned to commodities, there were +/- 329,129 employees working in the Oil, Gas & Mining industries per year in Canada and in full year 2014 that number had increased by 60.8% to 529,248.
This includes "support activities" but not the peripheral jobs in the general economy that depend on the spending by those oil, gas and mining employees.
According to the New York Times December 8, 2015 "If It Owns a Well or a Mine, It’s Probably in Trouble".
“The world of commodities has been turned upside down,” said Daniel Yergin, the energy historian and vice chairman of IHS, a consultant firm. “Instead of tight supply and strong demand, we have tepid demand and oversupply and overcapacity for commodity production. It’s the end of an era that is not going to come back soon.”
Some energy experts are even beginning to express concerns that sovereign wealth funds of Saudi Arabia and other wealthy Persian Gulf and oil-producing countries will redeem their money from investment firms in the coming year to shore up their balance sheets. If they do, the moves could initiate more instability in global equity and debt markets.
Credit lines drying up for oil companies?
Distress (bonds trading over 1,000bps) has been spreading across the HY space. From its starting point in energy a year ago, it has now reached other commodity-sensitive areas such as transportation, materials, capital goods, and commercial services. But it did not stop here and is also visible in places like retail, gaming, media, consumer staples, and technology – all areas that were widely expected to be insulated from low oil prices, if not even benefitting form them.
In other words, what was until a year ago a purely "energy" phenomenon is now an "everything" phenomenon, despite promises by every prominent economist that plunging energy prices are great news for the economy.
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