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.
Libor’s spread over the overnight index swap rate, known as Libor-OIS, has widened... another sign that banks face steeper funding costs. Bloomberg March 12, 2018
As noted on the charts: "About $350 trillion of financial products and loans are linked to Libor, with a large chunk hinged to the dollar-based version of the benchmark." Bloomberg March 12, 2018, and...
Scarcity of Dollar funding means we should prepare for a rise in the $USD:$CAD pair. In terms of Canadian real estate I chart it in USD here. A strengthening USD means higher import costs for Canadian consumers at a time when interest rates are trending up.
Our Canadian national proclivity to fund our lifestyles via debt rather than income continues to produce a negative Net Trade and FDI, a flattening GDP and growing record household debt levels, charted here.
Why Consumer Debt is Canada's Greatest Economic Risk
"Consumption to Top Off" Bloomberg March 15, 2018
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
In less than 2 decades we have gone from a country where the ability to easily change employment or one's residence has evaporated. Now we are pinned to our job and our postal code because leaving either results in lineups to fill our departure.
I suggest that both the opening of access to information via the internet and the collapse of bond yields sponsored and promoted by governments mirroring each other have left us with a country of over-consuming and under-producing populace.
My regularly updated Household Debt Chart includes the FDI-FDO plot which illustrates the point; we are a country of consumers highly prized by offshore producers, a situation that is now entrenched in our behaviour, modified by our regulations. Currently, for every $1.00 of Foreign Direct Investment into Canada, there is $1.27 of Canadian savings being invested offshore where the yield is greater.
The Paradise Papers underscores the problem; greater access to stealth information along with domiciled yield suppression has led to increasing capital flight by Canadians and Canadian corporations unwilling to invest in Canada. This and the vacuum created from interest rate suppression has turned a lot of us into serial house and condo flippers and the ease and return on investment has attracted a flood of offshore money wanting in on the fun.
Those of us who could not or did not participate in the mania have been left with the sorry reality that for the last 10 years, housing costs in the runaway markets have increased by 10-12% per year or more depending on location and product. Wages have not increased to the same degree but balance sheet debt to equity ratios have.
- CBC News November 23, 2017 - Canadian households lead the world in terms of debt.
- Toronto Sun July 2, 2017 - Canada's middle class shrinks.
- Market Watch November 3, 2017 - Blame the Internet for your stingy paychecks.
- Stats Can November 11, 2017 - Housing prices, social ties and transfer payments may inhibit mobility.
- Stats Can March 24, 2017 - Canadian waste management revenues increased 11% in two years to 2014.
- CHPC.biz Ongoing Chart - 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.
- CBC News November 6, 2017 - More than 3,000 Canadian names in the Paradise Papers.
Globe and Mail October 15, 2017 - The CRA is unable to identify the assignors who sell (flip) their contracts.
Millennials on Money: 'I am working two jobs right now’
CBC News - January 5, 2017
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.
"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
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."
Who will benefit from the Trans-Pacific Partnership?
Workers? Consumers? Small businesses? Taxpayers? Or the biggest multinational corporations in the world?
In Canada according to the long term GDP growth rate chart, our trade relationships have not worked out so well.
"The troubling, explosive growth of such cases point to a litigious future where corporate interests increasingly appear to trump national sovereignty with billions of dollars at stake."
John Fullerton Level 3 Capital Advisors and a former managing director of JPMorgan
This isn’t a partisan issue. Conservatives who believe in U.S. sovereignty should be outraged that ISDS would shift power from American courts, whose authority is derived from our Constitution, to unaccountable international tribunals. Libertarians should be offended that ISDS effectively would offer a free taxpayer subsidy to countries with weak legal systems. And progressives should oppose ISDS because it would allow big multinationals to weaken labor and environmental rules. Elizabeth Warren 2015
Those worried about the climate implications of the TPP need look no further than the Energy Advisory Committee to the United States Trade Representative, comprised predominantly of executives from the fossil fuel industry, including from Chevron, Halliburton, Nuclear Energy Institute, General-Electric Oil and Gas, Caterpillar, and other major fossil fuel corporations. Sierra Club 2015
Some 600 corporate trade advisers, with names like Halliburton and Caterpillar, are listed on leaked drafts published by WikiLeaks... Based on those drafts, we also know that the draft agreement includes a provision for what’s called “investor-state dispute settlement.” (ISDS). This little-known mechanism was initially created to protect corporate investments in countries where the rule of law is immature or at risk. In reality, it often empowers corporations to sue sovereign nations over any policies that conflict with their supposed right to the profits of free trade – including health and environmental policies designed to serve the democratically determined public interest. The Guardian 2014
WikiLeaks is raising $100,000 reward for TPP
Bernie Sanders "TPP: A Raw Deal"
Stop Calling the TPP a Trade Agreement. It Isn’t.
TPP extends patents, copyrights and other monopolies so investors can collect “rents.”
TPP elevates corporations and corporate profits to and above the level of governments. TPP lets corporations sue governments for laws and regulations that cause them to be less profitable. Enabling tobacco companies to sue governments because anti-smoking campaigns limit profits has nothing to do with trade. Enabling corporations to sue states that try to regulate fracking has nothing to do with trade.
While giving corporations a special channel to sue governments, labor, environmental, consumer and other “stakeholder” organizations do not get a channel for enforcement. This helps enable corporations to break unions, force wages down and pollute without cost. This increases the power of corporations over governments – and us.
READ THE WHOLE ARTICLE by Dave Johnson May 26, 2015
What is working is exporting our cheap capital into offshore markets as evidenced by my new chart of Canadian Household Debt plotted over Foreign Direct Investment, GDP and Canada's Balance of Trade data.
Canadian companies and international affiliates in Canada are using that cheap credit to invest in offshore markets where labour is more productive (they do more for less reward) and those products and services come back into Canada where the same cheap credit fuels our ability to maintain our lifestyles. We are not trading production skills, we are trading future earnings for depreciating assets at record prices.
If you own a single family detached house that was purchased prior to the early 2000's in Toronto or Vancouver or any other isolated but hot Canadian market, you are sitting on a once in a lifetime winning lottery ticket if you can collect.
"The condo you bought is getting 'crusty: Kevin O'Leary'
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