"History, real solemn history, I cannot be interested in.... I read it a little as a duty; but it tells me nothing that does not either vex or weary me. The quarrels of popes and kings, with wars and pestilences in every page; the men all so good for nothing, and hardly any women at all - it is very tiresome." Jane Austen spoken by Catherine Morland in 'Northanger Abbey'
As the U.S. Energy Information Admin EIA.gov noted in their December 12, 2018 report:
"...concerns about the pace of global economic growth in coming months have led to related concerns about the pace of oil demand growth."
The Canadian Dollar continues to plunge. That means our import costs go up and our net trade has been negative 8 out of the last 11 prints; ie: we Canadians buy more than we sell which is ok if we have the income to service the debt, but as the Chinese economy slows and they buy less of our resources, our incomes as well as other countries incomes are going to diminish.
As Rick Ackerman reminded his clients on December 30, 2018:
A further, significant strengthening in the dollar will tell us when the Deflationary endgame for the global economy is gathering force. It will crush debtors, bankrupt creditors and lop at least four or five zeroes worth of funny money from the banking system’s quadrillion-dollar shell-game. I have written extensively on why hyperinflation is extremely unlikely to settle debts that have become vastly too large to repay. If you cannot understand why, let me pose this question: Do you actually believe the banksters will let you pay off your mortgage with a few hundred-thousand-dollar bills that you’ve peeled from your wallet? If you answered in the negative, you are implicitly a deflationist.
Since the start of ZIRP and NIRP it has been difficult to "be a deflationist" as we watched the global bubble of everything inflate; resource assets, equities, debt and of course real estate which Canadians with the help of foreign laundry services have pushed real estate prices into the top tiers of global pricing. In November 2018, I posted "Dirty Real Estate" which highlighted the "Vancouver Model" that has spread throughout Canada.
The C.D. Howe Institute study estimates of money laundering in Canada range from $5 billion to $100 billion. C.D. Howe Report, September 2018
e don't even know what the "value" of the crime is, but we know what the effect has been in terms of FOMO debt taken on by Canadians. Real estate prices have peaked in Canada and as they drop, the FOMO crowd has a tough choice to make: turn debt into equity quickly by selling the asset or stay in for the long haul and meet the amortization obligation. If it's the former, look for price drops to happen quickly as vendors compete for a diminishing supply of buyers; if it's the latter look for a slow Japanese style deflation and a return to savings as noted in my 2012 post "What Do You Do During a Housing Bust".
A return to savings will eventually allow the pendulum of capital investment to return to productive use. But asset deflation is in view now and we don't yet know it's future length of trend.
One asset class that retains value and even grows during a broad deflationary event is precious metals; and that canary in the coal mine is happening now. See my ongoing chart study of "real" gold and real estate.
And below, see Chris Kimble's
December 31, 2018 note to clients:
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