"Some of the world’s largest energy companies are saddled with their highest debt levels..." Wall Street Journal Aug 24, 2016
Grim expense report: Alberta's debt soars to $10.9 billion
MEANWHILE: Tesla Master Plan Part Deux July 20, 2016
Last week I spotted Ted the 40-year-old Vancouver man at Jonathan Rogers Park (West 8th & Manitoba St) who has been parking his $300 Craigslist shed on wheels in various Vancouver parks along with the rising number of homeless people.
July 22, 2016 Metro News
"OSFI tells some banks to test for sharp drops in Vancouver, Toronto housing markets" July 26, 2016 CBC News
It must be my age, but when I see politicians trying to solve problems via blunt taxation, I move even closer towards being a grumpy old man - death and taxes - they suck, literally. Here are a few ideas while we wait for the July housing numbers to come out next month.
PART I - The Need for Tax Reform
In November 2011, I came across the idea of the APT, the ‘Automated Payment Transaction Tax’ which eliminates the need to file tax or information returns. A year later I posted links to the APT and since then I have continued to encourage media, politicians and potential influencers to at least look at the thesis.
To my dismay I have had insignificant response. I think this is because we have too much tax and are immersed in its complexity and we have not enough death of tired old ideas that should be retired with every generation.
The Automated Payment Transaction Tax
Implementation of this elegant and simple idea in Canada would allow Canadians to create an original, authentic social organization that would eventually be copied by other nations. Let's apply the power of the internet to get this Automated Payments Transaction Tax idea into the public square of discussion and then into application.
Canadians, write your Member of Parliament." Foreign readers take this idea back to your jurisdiction and spark the conversation there. Some country will be first in the implementation of the APT thesis.
In my opinion the APT or a variant of it will happen one day as sure as Uber, Airbnb and Torrents have arrived and driverless freeways will eventually emerge. It’s a peer to peer thing; it’s the internet, it’s inevitable. “Software is eating the world.” Marc Andreessen.
A micro tax on all financial transactions reduces the burden on all individuals and allows our governors to manage our spending requirements in a transparent progressive way. The APT thesis calculations were based on U.S. taxation revenues and expenditures from the late 1990’s. The potential tax base has increased significantly since then; think of the machine initiated equity, fixed income and commodity exchange transactions that go on day and night. Here is a snippet from the 41 Page PDF authored by Edgar L. Feige, Professor of Economic Emeritus, University of Wisconsin-Madison:
The APT tax rate from the original study publication in 2000 achieved the goals of replacing the present system of personal and corporate income, sales, excise, capital gains, import and export duties, gift and estate taxes with a single comprehensive revenue neutral Automated Payment Transaction tax of only 0.15% on each side of the transaction for a total of 0.3% on any financial transaction.
PART II - The Need for Policy Reform
Clearly, a 15% provincial tax on Vancouver housing purchases by foreign buyers will simply move what little demand there is from this sector to other jurisdictions. Hot speculative money whether clean or dirty is transnational.
Look at Canada’s record of Federal Direct Investment; in full year 2015 there was a huge spike in FDI OUT such that for every $1 of FDI coming into Canada there is $1.31 going out to get a better return on Capital and Labour. In short, our Canadian investor class, like most other global players, looks for leverage and arbitrage opportunities outside of Canada. This is a trend that has been widening and unbroken since 1997 throughout the last five federal governments (4 Liberal, 1 Conservative).
Meanwhile after seven years of nitro-fueled Zero Interest Rate Policy, we have only increased our consumption habits and widened our debt load across both private and public sectors. While the private sector binges on low cost credit, our multi-level governance is shifting more to fiscal policy since monetary policy has not worked as promoted. Yes - CPI remains muted, No - we have no control over what consumers will do with easy credit especially since competing governmental departments encourage minimum equity positions when borrowing. After seven years, the Bank of Canada is still trying to figure it out:
With the next renewal (of the “Inflation Control Target”) approaching in 2016, the Bank is focusing its review and research in the following three areas:
We have a failed Canadian central bank policy of ZIRP and NIRP threats that ape the U.S. Fed policy as well mirroring many other central banks since the pit of gloom in March 2009. It’s been a race to the bottom, and here we are.
We have the outdated 20th Century wild west mortgage insurance liability of CMHC which was created in 1946 as an elaboration of previous housing incentives beginning in 1919 (Wikipedia).
We have an irresponsible overpriced exclusionary and predatory real estate industry that obfuscates, monopolizes and fails at basic fiduciary behaviour.
This combination of patchwork policy has failed to get capital investment into productive employment. Instead we have asset valuations that exceed the worst possible, measured globally, and we have settled for consumption and waste. Asset values may look good on a balance sheet in terms of credit worthiness, but the social contract does not serve our collective needs.
Nowhere is there public debate or care about tomorrow except in the tedium of blogs and anonymity. Governance has clearly failed and the media is busy chasing sirens and shootouts. It’s shameful. It’s time for reform and modernization using the tools we already have.
PART III - The Need for Land Entitlement Reform
“The social state is advantageous only when all have something and none too much.” A paraphrase of Jean-Jacques Rousseau from his Du Contrat Social ou Principes du Droit Politique of 1762.
The APT does not solve the problem of the current historic asset valuations in Canadian housing prices which are at crisis proportions and which cannot now be easily solved with ZIRP, NIRP or a revolving door of political ambitions.
Let’s consider the end to private fee simple land ownership and move all our land and territorial limits into the hands of all of us.
Here’s how I see it:
This simple idea would put an end to the endless inflation of the cost of land since the value of the land would be set by the central organizing body of the state which would assess the needs of the community of tenants and the responsibilities of all of us towards the wellbeing of our health and environment.
The improvements on the land would by definition be valued by their utility and composition of materials all of which are readily assigned value by an open marketplace and would be more prone to deflation than inflation because improvements have to be maintained to retain value.
Valuations would be rational, transparent and immediate. Affordability would be easily controlled. Tenancy agreements on the land would be available to both domestic and foreign users and when combined with the ‘Automated Payment Transaction Tax’ outlined in PART I above, all land lease revenue and all improvement transactions would trigger APT revenue to the state for reinvestment.
How economic inequality harms societies - Richard Wilkinson
We humans have accomplished a lot of ambitious and technically challenging projects and have expanded our knowledge base to a degree that suggests we should be able to transform our puny little financial problems in a politically impartial way free of ideology to the benefit of the greater good.
I don’t expect that this post will trigger any change during my remaining lifetime to the status quo of 20th century and older ideas that we remain wedded to, but I publish this because ideas precede action and I am not the only one thinking about this.
According to this December 2015 study by Azoulay, Fons-Rosen & Zivin “Does Science Advance One Funeral at a Time?”, Max Planck’s observation is indeed the way our knowledge base and idea implementation grows.
“A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it."
Real Time with Bill Maher
Chronically low interest rates since the Pit of Gloom in March 2009 have fueled a huge credit bubble in Canada. StatsCan as far as I can tell does not highlight luxury sales, but the Bank of America credit card division does as the chart shows. I have added to the mashup a sales chart of detached housing in West Vancouver, one of Canada's most expensive postal codes for real estate. Is the FEAR OF MISSING OUT shifting to the FEAR OF GETTING IN for hopeful West Van buyers?
Asian buyers won 28% of Christie’s offerings world-wide. but a big reason for the drop in the list of sales below was the disappearance of the heretofore relentless Chinese bid. (Year/Year Data)
Art Sales down 33%
Auction Sales down 37.5%
Private Broker Art sales down 10%
Contemporary Art sales down 45%
U.S. Art Sales down 50%
Europe Art Sales down 12%
Hong Kong Art Sales down 11%
Rival Sotheby's Art Sales down 22.6%
Tefaf Art Market Report: Global Art Sales down 7%
Asian Art Sales down 33%
Christie’s said only 29 artworks it sold during the first half achieved prices exceeding $6.5 million—compared with 47 the year before—with nothing selling for anywhere close to the $180 million that Pablo Picasso’s “Women of Algiers (Version O)” brought in 2015."
- JUL 2016 The late Alan Bond’s Perth mansion sells as the price of Australia’s most luxurious homes plunge
- JUL 2016 The Hamptons Housing Market Has Crashed: Luxury Home Sales Drop By Half As Prices Plunge
- JUL 2016 Dramatic Luxury Sales Drop, Fresh Data Shows
- JUN 2016 Luxury L.A. Home Prices Down First Quarter 2016 As Global Volatility Dampens Buyer Demand
- JUN 2016 Luxury retailer Neiman Marcus reports decline in both sales and profit
- MAY 2016 Hong Kong’s retail sales drop hardest in 17 years
- MAY 2016 Luxury condo boom in Lower Manhattan turns to glut, prices sag.
- MAY 2016 Luxury-Home Sales Fall in London, NYC With Rich Shifting Focus
- MAY 2016 Across the world, luxury-home sales get a reality check
- MAY 2016 The Premium Plunge: Sales of the Most Popular Luxury Cars in America Are Nosediving
- MAY 2016 At China’s Biggest Yacht Show, the Party Feel Fizzles
- MAY 2016 Business-Jet Sales Sink Most Since 2011
- MAY 2016 Luxury jeweller Tiffany posts steepest sales drop since financial crisis
- MAR 2016 Luxury watchmakers gloomy about 2016 sales
Are You Ready For a Canadian Real Estate Crash?
Patrick Ceresna Chief Derivative Market Strategist
LearnToTradeGlobal.com (1 hr. 4:35 min)
Bullet Points from the Video Above
- Currency affects commodities, the bond markets and real estate.
- Price discovery is a function of liquidity not fundamentals which are a long term attribute.
- Prices are created by positive or negative feedback loops.
- Bubbles deflate to their fundamental base.
Tech 1995-2003 (up 100%, down 90%)
Silver 2001-2012 (up 100%, down 40%)
U.S. Homes 2001-2012 (up 100%, down 40%)
- A believable idea (potash 2007-08 "everyone has to eat")
- There is a surplus of funds and shortage of opportunity (low interest rate prompts a search for yield).
- The idea cannot be disproved.
- The idea shifts from the minority to the majority view.
- The overvaluation is justified as the new paradigm (it's different this time).
- A widespread fear of missing out ensues.
- Rampant financing schemes occur.
- A cult obsession (everyone has an interest).
- The bubble becomes unbelievably long.
- Objective people begin to believe the story.
- Prices drop and supply grows.
- Investors see risk.
- Credit dries up.
- Frauds are exposed.
- Governments intervene.
- An exponential rise in price occurs as the cycle ends.
- A trigger is needed to reverse the positive feedback loop (China).
- Prices drop, rates rise and commodities are weak.
- The U.S. housing crash was triggered by the ARM (adjustable rate mortgage) reset.
- This time the events will be international triggered by China and its USD$4 trillion in foreign currency reserves.
- Chinese commercial banks increased credit from USD$4T to USD$34T in 10 years increasing the bank debt to 3 times GDP with an estimated USD$1T in non performing loans. (In the U.S. housing crash, their banks had created USD$16T in bank debt which was only 1 times GDP with non performing loans at less than 1/2 trillion USD$.
- China's 4 big banks are bigger than the 6 largest global banks.
- A massive credit orgy has been created and easy credit misallocated into unproductive end results (ghost cities etc).
- The IMF warns that China's credit risk is systemic.
- The commodity sector is in a bear market.
- There is a currency war going on.
- Slow growth is deflationary (see my debt chart).
- China will not have a new credit cycle (The PBOC warns of an "L" shaped landing).
- China's Yuan is pegged to the USD forcing them to buy and sell USD and the PBOC wants to un-peg.
- The USD rally has the Yuan up 45% against the CAD and there has been a USD$1 trillon of capital outflow from China chasing Canadian and other weak FX country's real estate.
- Un-anchored buyers from China etal have bid the real estate market up and out of equilibrium.
- The China window is closing, they are stopping their capital outflow with restrictions against funding loopholes (Hong Kong, Macau, Bitcoin etal)
- The Chinese Government will implement their Yuan devaluation.
- it will be a huge macro event as the Chinese bubble deteriorates.
- The PBOC will bail out their banks.
- The Yuan/CAD will plummet.
- The positive feedback loop in Canadian real estate will turn to a negative feedback loop.
- More sellers will emerge as credit tightens.
- Real estate prices will drop to fundamentals regressing to 2010-11 levels.
- USD rallies but Yuan does not devalue igniting a second wave of capital outflow.
June 9, 2016: Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz cautioned that climbing real estate prices have outpaced local economic fundamentals like job creation, immigration and income growth.
June 13, 2016: Financial markets are worried about China because its debt has surged to a record 237% of gross domestic product.
Here's Why China's Economy Will Be So Hard to Fix
"The real problem has been... that in a Bubble,
everyone gets in trouble
at the same time"
Bob Hoye, June 16, 2016
2008-09 FINTRAC disclosed 197 cases out of 556 involving transactions through the MSB (Money Service Business) sector.
Businesses suspected of being involved in ML/TF (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing):
Of the case disclosures involving the use of an MSB, FINTRAC identified and focused on 126 cases from 2008-2009, which were the most illustrative of how MSBs could be exploited for money laundering and terrorist financing purposes. Complete 2010 Fintrac Study
COOLING OFF THE BC REAL ESTATE MARKET
FROM THE TOP DOWN
June 10, 2016 at linkedin.com/pulse
Hat Tip to BenRabidoux @BenRabidoux
In our real estate law practice we have seen houses steadily rise over the past seven or eight years and jump drastically since January of this year.
For example, homes in Vancouver on Connaught Drive which were selling for $3-4,000,000 a few years ago are now on the block for $10-15,000,000 (a client of mine recently turned down an offer on her home in this area at $15.8M. The home was purchased for $6M!)
Correspondingly, homes which were $1-2,000,000 are now $4-5,000,000.
Even condominiums which were valued at a half a million dollars a last summer are now worth $800K to $1M.
Prices are rising so fast, one has to buy a property BEFORE putting one's own property up for sale, for fear of being priced out of the market!
Before the completion date occurred, another client of mine who bought a home in North Vancouver for $1.5M was offered $250,000 by the seller NOT to complete the purchase!
In my view, this lunacy is being fueled to a large extent by foreign money which is pouring into the Lower Mainland at an unprecedented rate and pulling the prices UPWARDS from the top end.
This inflow of money (Chinese principally, but there is also a lot of Iranian, Indian and American capital coming in, as there is still a very substantial discount on the Canadian dollar for those who deal in USD), is destabilizing the BC real estate market for everyone who lives and works here.
Tragically, the only people who can't seem to see this are the provincial and federal politicians and the many pundits who make a living commenting on things they t know nothing about (newspaper columnists, economists, business school profs and other so-called experts).
They remind me of the referees at a World Wrestling Entertainment match. Everyone in the stands is screaming that the bad guy has a concealed weapon and the only one in the building who can't see it is the referee!
However in the WWE the refs are paid to look clueless.
Our politicians are paid to govern in the interests of Canadian citizens, not foreign speculators -but looking at their behavior, one would never guess that.
While it is reported that foreign ownership may be as little as 3-5% of the housing stock that is more than enough to affect the entire market adversely -and it has done so in spades as few can now afford to own a house in Vancouver and even condominium ownership is becoming a stretch.
WHAT TO DO?
1. Make foreign buyers confirm the source of their funds
Right now any foreign buyers can wire any amount of money into their lawyers' or notaries' trust accounts from any bank in the world to buy a property in BC with no questions asked.
Realtors and mortgage brokers are required to fill in a bunch of useless FINTRAC forms and obtain client identification documents, but NO ONE is asking where the money came from in the first place!
I have heard many stories from realtors of bidding wars where a property is listed at a certain price and then a half a dozen or more offers come in steadily bidding up the price by fifty or one hundred thousand dollar increments and then the final offer comes in at a half a million dollars over everybody else's!
A lawyer in our office recently had the same experience in BC Supreme court on a foreclosure sale. The offer the court was asked to approve was $1.5M and a six or seven other buyers showed up at the hearing. As is the court's practice, everyone was advised of price of the original offer and given the opportunity to bid or re-bid in a sealed envelope. The Master opened the sealed bids at $1,55M, $1.65M, $1.725M, $1.9M and the WINNER was $3.1M!
It would appear that the winner wanted to pay AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE.
It has been our experience that much like locals, foreign buyers usually don't want to pay a penny more than is necessary to purchase a property here (much less an extra million dollars on a foreclosure purchase).
As most foreign buyers have local realtors who are well aware of the market prices, the only explanation which seems to make any sense is that some foreign purchasers are using the Canadian real estate system to launder their money.
Once a house is purchased in BC the seller has effectively washed it and it can be moved anywhere in the world easily by selling the property (as the seller then has the contract of sale and all the documents necessary from the lawyer's office to "prove" that his funds came from the legitimate sale of Canadian real estate). No foreign country will look past the most recent transaction to confirm the legitimacy of the funds.
In the criminal world, the fee to launder money can be 50% or more. In Canada, it seems to be NIL.
I believe that many foreign buyers when confronted with a requirement to show where their funds came front would balk and refuse to complete the purchase.
Stemming the flow of dirty money into Canadian real estate would terminate a number of high end purchases, which may push down some of the prices at the $10M - $15M range which would in turn push down the medium high end prices and so on.
2. Increase taxes significantly on those who purchase property in Canada but do not live here or pay taxes here.
It is commonplace for foreigner investors to park some of their money in Canada (as they do not trust their own governments). They typically put the title of a property into the names of their wives or children (it is always interesting to look at the occupation listed on the titles to high end real estate like "worker," "student" or "home maker"). The wife and kids live in the property as their principal residence and pay no taxes as they have no income.
The father, who is a non-resident, continues to make money in a foreign state at a much lower tax rate. Canada taxes income on the basis of RESIDENCY, so the father pays NO CANADIAN TAX. The family enjoys the benefits of the Canadian health care system, school system etc. while paying nothing other than property taxes.
The misguided view of the premier of this province is that the above situation constitutes FOREIGN INVESTMENT IN BC, to be encouraged at every step.
With all due respect, that is nonsense.
As the BC government is perpetually short of money for every worthwhile endeavor (hospitals, schools, pubic housing, seniors, homeless shelters, transit, mental health, child poverty -the list is endless), it would seem obvious that one source of revenue which would be virtually unopposed by BC taxpayers would be to increase Property Transfer Tax and municipal property taxes on foreign buyers who are simply taking advantage of the laxity of the current legal and regulatory framework in BC.
An appropriate rate would be perhaps 20% Property Transfer Tax and triple current property taxes for those who choose to evade paying Canadian income tax (or pay only a token amount for appearance purposes) or simply leave their BC homes vacant.
A sale of a residence so occupied (or unoccupied as the case may be) should also attract income tax on any increase in value (not capital gains tax).
A capital gains exemption for a principal residence should also be disallowed for such owners (these two changes would of course require an amendment to the Income Tax Act which is a federal statute).
These even for so-called "legitimate" off-shore funds would also dampen foreign demand for Canadian real estate, however to the extent that it does not, then at least there is SOME benefit flowing back to the Canadian tax system.
Are these measures discriminatory? Absolutely! They discriminate against foreign buyers who are simply seeking to take advantage of the Canadian real estate system, while parking or washing their funds.
These changes should apply to ANY foreign buyer of any nationality (US, Europe, Britain and Australia included).
UBC already does this with foreign students who are required to pay much higher annual tuition than local students -and no one is complaining!
Will this "fix" the real estate affordability problem? Maybe not, but you have to start somewhere and you might as well start with the most obvious cause.
Are either of these measures likely to come to come to pass? I would not hold my breath.
Generally, by the time the government gets around to doing anything of consequence "the proverbial horses are already out of the barn and the farm has been sold off to a foreign syndicate."
Better Call Saul Explains Money Laundering
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
- In the U.S. for the past 55+ years the average NRoI has been +/- 2.5% and in the Eurozone has been +/- 1.7% (MonetaryRealism.com). In Canada, the "real" Bank of Canada bank rate (rate less CPI) was approaching 5% in 2007 before the 2008 crash and as well after the dot.com bust in 2001. It's flirting with zero now.
At street level in Canada earnings have been topping with the commodity crash but in many cases, earnings reliability are not even necessary to use in the calculus of risk analysis when granting a mortgage or consumer loan. We should be ashamed of ourselves, but instead we blame others.
As CIBC economist Benjamin Tal said, he is concerned that subprime lending is “driving the bus.”
Subprime borrowers’ debt loads will continue to grow as long as interest rates are low. Benjamin Tal
- Average debt levels up nearly 3% in the first quarter of 2016.
- Non-mortgage debt rose to $21,348 in 1Q 2016, up 2.7% Y/Y.
- Subprime average credit card balance grew by 5.7% Y/Y to $6,601.
- High interest installment loans grew 4.8% Y/Y to an average $23,591.
- Serious delinquency rates (90+ days late) increased 3% in 1Q 2016.
At the national level it's worse; net Federal Direct Investment widened dramatically in 2015 Y/Y meaning that Canadian investment capital would rather look for yield offshore than on. We can't even invest in ourselves (Net FDI has been negative for the last nearly 20 years); we continue to increase our borrowing so that we can consume to 'maintain' our lifestyle.
Even people without money via savings and low employment earnings are buying property - how would they know the value of money? Well they will find out along with their extended families the difference between equity and debt in an aging speculative triumph.
BMO Millennial Home Buyer Survey (March 2016)
According to the survey, millennials expect they will have to spend $350,000, on average, to buy their first home. These amounts range from about $235,000 in Quebec to more than $478,000 in British Columbia... To make such a purchase, respondents indicated that they expected to raise about 15 per cent of the purchase price for their down payment - or, roughly, an average of $53,000. Most (65%) indicated that they would rely, to some extent, on parents or other family members for financial assistance for as much as 10% of the purchase price, although most don't know.
A probability sample of this size would yield results accurate to ± 2.2 percent, 19 times out of 20.
Ipsos Reid - BDO Poll (May 2016)
55% of Canadian would have trouble paying bills if interest rates rise.
46% say rising cost of living is limiting the money they put toward paying off debts.
37% say the rising cost of living hasn’t impacted their debt payments at all, suggesting its having some impact on most people.
58% think the value of their home will increase.
The poll is accurate to within +/ - 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadian adults been polled.
Condo Construction Subject To Red Alert From Royal Bank
HuffingtonPost.ca (May 30, 2016)
RBC isn't the only organization that has presented concerning statistics regarding the housing market recently.
Sales activity in Toronto and Vancouver may have "topped out," Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) president Cliff Iverson said earlier this month.
Sales didn't grow in Toronto at all in April after dropping 1.8 per cent in March.
They were also down one per cent in Vancouver, after a drop of 0.3 per cent the previous month.
Gregor Robertson Mayor of Vancouver, May 30, 2016
Yes, housing prices are high in Vancouver, and global capital plays a part in that. If prices keep increasing, many of the things we love about Vancouver are at risk, and many will not be able to put down roots in a city bound together by a rich, multicultural history that has a lot to offer geographically and culturally.
Magic Bus - The Who 1968
I don't care how much I pay
I wanna drive my bus
to my baby each day
I want it
I want it
I want it
I want it
Simple as ABCD
A reader (S.B.) sent me this chart of Vancouver Single Family detached house prices with his notations from a Elliot Wave perspective.
"Watch for volume climaxes, especially after long moves." Richard Donchian 1934
The Vancouver housing prices are following a price channel, and look to be forming an ABCD pattern.
The thing about ABCD patterns is that prices return to the mid-point. This means that prices should return to 2008 levels.
Furthermore - if prices return to the midpoint consolidation, this would be a 62.8 Fibonacci retracement.
Timing looks to be an approximate cycle of 8 years which means there would soon be a peak, and then another bottom in 2025.
If you view housing as a commodity, in Elliott Wave Theory (psychology) then Wave 5 has large percentage gains as people get spurred by scarcity.
How Stupid is Vancouver’s Real Estate Market?
Interview with Thomas Davidoff, Sauder School of Business
While we wait for the April real estate data to dribble in, let's look at the commodity sector that peaked in 2011 and is now threatening to break a major uptrend channel and possibly retest the 2006 lows; a time when the Yield Curve inverted and soon after the BoC and U.S. Fed etal went on a ZIRP to NIRP bender in an effort to spark inflation. Clearly low rates have not produced CPI inflation but a speculative frenzy for Yield.
The top panel in the mashup above is the Thomson Reuters Commodity Index chart since the 1980's provided by Kimble Charting Solutions. The commodity index is made up of 18% Energy, 24% Metals, 29% Softs and 29% Agriculture.
The bottom panel is from ZeroHedge and their post underscores that energy junk bonds are at an all time default rate high.
...the energy high-yield default has soared to a record 13% rate, surpassing the 9.7% mark set in 1999, according to Fitch Ratings.
AND THIS from Bloomberg May 1, 2016 Saudi Arabia's determination to keep pumping more oil into global markets brings to mind its former oil minister Sheikh Yamani, who said back in 2000 that the Stone Age did not end for a lack of stones, and the oil age will not end for a lack of oil.Those working for him at the time, interpreted this as a warning to OPEC about the pursuit of high oil prices: namely, that it would just speed up the development of alternative technologies and drive away customers, leaving oil sitting beneath the ground without buyers.Sixteen years later, the kingdom's leaders seem to have heeded his warning. Both Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and oil minister Ali al-Naimi have said they will no longer subsidize high-cost oil production by limiting supply. If there's oil to be left under the ground, they're determined it won't be Saudi Arabia's.
Battery Powered Homes
FDI-FDO Gap Widens
I updated my Canadian Household Debt Chart that has GDP, Net Trade and the FDI In and Out data plotted as well.
The 2015 Federal Direct Investment data just came out and the gap between investment capital flowing into Canada and out has widened dramatically such that for every $1 of investment coming into Canada, $1.31 is leaving for jurisdictions that provide greater tax incentives, better yields or cheaper labour.
Canadians for Tax Fairness crunched the numbers and found that Canadian corporations invested almost $40 billion last year in the top 10 tax haven destinations for Canadian capital — taking investment totals since 1990 to $270.2 billion.
Barbados has been the top destination, attracting $79.9 billion in total while seeing its numbers climb 14 per cent in 2015.
Four other countries in Canada's top 10 — Cayman Islands, Bermuda, Switzerland and Hong Kong — all saw year-over-year increases of at least 34 per cent last year.
"The money doesn't just stay there, it goes on to somewhere else," Dennis Howlett, the CEO of the Tax Fairness advocacy group, said in an interview.
"But (corporations) route it through tax havens usually because there are tax advantages for doing so. The returns on the investments get booked in the tax havens so then companies don't have to report it as profits in Canada."
The direct foreign investment figures released Tuesday don't include the billions of dollars that individual Canadians appear to have socked away offshore.
The parliamentary budget office is currently in a battle with the Liberal government over access to tax information that would help it measure the "tax gap" — the amount of revenue lost to Ottawa through a variety of tax dodges, including offshore accounts.
The long-standing issue has been thrust into the international limelight again by the release of the Panama Papers, more than 11 million leaked documents that detail offshore accounts in the Central American country — including, reportedly, hundreds held by Canadians.
Direct foreign investment routed through tax havens "may not be illegal tax evasion but it is most definitely related to tax avoidance, or minimizing taxes paid here in Canada," said Howlett.
"So it does translate to much lower revenues for both federal and provincial governments."
Canadians for Tax Fairness would like to see corporate tax rules tightened up, including requiring that any offshore subsidiaries be more than shell companies by proving they have staff and capital investments such as plants and equipment.
Canada should also follow the lead of some other countries and cap how much corporations can pay in interest to subsidiaries. Corporations with high capital needs frequently borrow from their own subsidiaries at above market rates in order to shift profits offshore, said Howlett.
Since 2000, the federal corporate tax rate in Canada has been cut from 28 per cent to the current rate of 15 per cent.
In 2015-16, corporate income taxes were budgeted at $38.8 billion — or 20 per cent of total federal tax revenues — according to the most recent federal budget. In 2000-01, corporate taxes brought in $28.2 billion, or 24.5 per cent of total federal tax revenues.
CBC News via The Canadian Press, April 27, 2016
"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