Gabriela Ramos, OECD Chief of Staff and Sherpa overseeing the Organisation’s work on Inclusive Growth, presented in more details the main findings of the report, saying “our analysis delivers a bleak picture and a call for action. The middle class is at the core of a cohesive, thriving society. We need to address their concerns regarding living costs, fairness and uncertainty.”
The cost of a middle class lifestyle has increased faster than inflation. Housing, for example, makes up the largest single spending item for middle-income households, at around one third of disposable income, up from a quarter in the 1990s. House prices have been growing three times faster than household median income over the last two decades.
More than one in five middle-income households spend more than they earn and over-indebtedness is higher for them than for both low-income and high-income households. In addition, labour market prospects have become increasingly uncertain: one in six middle-income workers are in jobs that are at high risk of automation, compared to one in five low-income and one in ten high-income workers.
Read the Full Report "Governments must act to help struggling middle class"
"I have a simple goal for my investment research - help people to enlarge portfolios regardless of market direction by looking for patterns at extreme points of "exhaustion" with a high probability of reversing." Chris Kimble
Debt has been fueling lifestyle especially in cities like Vancouver and Toronto where extreme speculation, serial flipping and inert local and federal officials stand by with failed policies and ineffective regulations. There is no cop on the beat; it's do unto others what you want.
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.
Millennials on Money: 'I am working two jobs right now’
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."
Housing prices in Germany are rising as demand for owner occupied dwellings increases for the rising levels of employed.
But only about 53% of Germans own their homes, compared with 70% in the U.K. and Canada and 65% in the U.S.
Since the end of WW II, the national consensus in Germany has been that housing provision is an essential public resource to be protected from speculation using regulation that promotes rental accommodation and fosters tenancy protection as well as municipal planning that releases land with incentives for developers to create rental housing when needed.
As the lower panel of the chart mashup above shows, a big incentive to provide rental housing is the yield on rentals being superior to Government 10 year bonds and stock dividends over time.
In the OECD, German households on average spend 21% of their gross adjusted disposable income on keeping a roof over their heads and 93% of people say they are satisfied with their current housing situation, more than the OECD average of 87%. This high level of subjective satisfaction reflects Germany’s good performance in objective housing indicators. SOURCE
"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