Currency depreciation on top of foreign buyer taxes and real estate sales that are plunging against a backdrop of rising inventory is evaporating paper profits for would be Canadians.
Locals whether they own or rent are not spared either. A dropping CAD is raising import costs while the Trumpster builds a wall of worry out of trade tariffs and that worry is especially provoking to the over leveraged in Canada.
Is King Dollar Creating A Bullish Head & Shoulders Pattern? by Chris Kimble June 28, 2018
Hey Canada - we have lot's of trees and lots of land!
In this Finnish model, tenants have the right after a 20 year amortization to own their unit with a 7% down payment and a twenty year state backed loan.
Canadian housing should be affordable and this is an idea that we hewers of wood can do. The University of BC has one up now.
In 2010, Canada was the second-largest exporter of forestry products globally. WikiPedia
Instead of exporting to the highest bidder, why not add value and produce our own housing remedies?
Only Canadians will solve our housing mess. So lets get on with it.
Snippet from "What the U.S. wants from NAFTA talks"
The last quote above “The U.S. will continue running a trade deficit with the world so long as its people consume more than they save.” applies to Canadians as well who are prized by the rest of the world as consumers with lots of available credit. See household debt chart.
"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
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
trade balances have been negative
"There is considerable uncertainty about the speed with which this sequence (increased foreign demand, stronger exports, improved business confidence, investment and employment growth) will evolve and how it will be affected by the drop in oil prices. Canada’s weaker terms of trade will have an adverse impact on incomes and wealth, reducing domestic demand growth." (Bank of Canada)
Export countries want their currency to be valued less than their customer's currency so that they can 1) undersell the competition and 2) try to increase inflation (which increases tax collections). Neither is working. While exports rose 1.5% in December 2014, imports rose 2.3 percent with gains in 8 out of 11 import sectors. The main contributors to the increase in imports were energy products, motor vehicles and parts, as well as metal and non-metallic mineral products. Although Canada is a net energy exporter, its economy measured by GDP is that of producing 30% goods and 70% services (Stas Can Nov 2014).
Global oil demand growth remained at a relatively suppressed 585 kb/d y-o-y in 4Q14. There are several reasons why lower crude oil prices so far seem to have failed to stimulate demand. Those include heightened deflationary risks in both Europe and Japan; adverse revenue impacts on net-oil-exporters; a global trend towards reductions in energy price subsidies and/or increases in oil consumption taxes; and the heavy falls experienced by many currencies, versus the US dollar, negating the impact of lower crude prices in domestic currency terms. Reflecting the downwardly revised macroeconomic backdrop, mid-January saw the World Bank revise down its 2015 global economic growth forecasts to 3.0%, versus 3.4% in June 2014, still an acceleration on 2014 (+2.6%) but notably less-so than previously assumed. (International Energy Agency)
New Record Lows on the Baltic Dry Index Chart
Supply is Global
As the USD strengthens, the U.S. consumer inflation rate continues to drift down as it takes fewer greenbacks to buy imported goods. I guess it's too soon to yell deflation or pull out the Japan chart, but down is down.
Meanwhile in Canada and Australia where they dig the earth, the strengthening USD is producing the opposite effect, the CAD and AUD are weakening which is good for exporting the stuff coming out of the ground but with it comes more imported goods price inflation (buyers require more CAD & AUD dollars to buy the same amount of stuff) and that has egged on the real estate inflationistas who continue to drive the price of their local real estate up the left side of the Eiffel Tower. Sure, those imported countertops, appliance suites and appurtenances are going up in price; but that stuff is a wildly depreciating asset.
What about China? The bottom panel of the chart mashup above shows us that the CNY is also being depressed (via FX markets and the Princeling cliques) against the USD and that drives up their import costs on global resources and reduces the value of their already imported commodity stockpiles used to bankroll the shadowy (unregistered? - unregulated?) secondary financing market.
The weakening CNY is pushing imported Chinese consumer costs up and producer prices down. (March 2014: Chinese consumer prices were up 2.4% Y/Y and producer prices were down 2.3% Y/Y and down for the 25th straight month)
The Chinese housing index has rolled over on a steep dive (bottom panel of chart above and below is a China chart mashup from Bloomberg's Tom Orlik showing the ongoing Chinese deceleration).
From the early 1990's to the early 2000's, the USD/CAD was trending up and increasing Canadian import costs on a weak CAD relative to the USD (top panel of chart). After 10 years the trend reversed and for the next decade to 2013 the CAD unit was strong against the USD allowing Canadians to buy more stuff at cheaper prices.
Now the trend appears to be reversing once again with the USD on the ascendant. For the Canadian exporters who took advantage of a strong CAD and who used the FX advantage to invest in machine independence technology (IT & Robotics) as well as reducing middle management; they will probably transition well if the global slowdown is still in an early phase of a trend change (Bloomberg March 24/14 "China’s manufacturing industry weakened for a fifth straight month").
But for exporters who rely on import materials and for all Canadians who shop for imported goods, CAD depreciation is going to depress consumption, lower aggregate demand, reduce wage growth and deflate unproductive asset values at the margins as participants liquidate in order to reduce debt, repair balance sheets and try to maintain lifestyle in a rising import price environment.
As I noted this month in the updated TSX chart (March data), the Canadian commodities index is attempting a breakout to the upside.
The first 2 weekly April data points are up as well CCI).
Canadian Consumer Debt Zoomed 9% Y/Y in 2013 according to Equifax as reported by CBC News today in advance of Minister of Finance Mr Flaherty's Budget, scheduled to be tabled tomorrow. If the government budget again includes their mantra "We are going to Balance The Budget in 2015" (Oct 2015 is when the next federal election is), then a 9% annual growth in private sector consumer debt is going to increase even more unless lenders freak and turn off the tap, or consumers withdraw into balance sheet repair. Don't worry about non-conventional mortgages (mortgages of more than 80% Loan to Value); they are all insured mostly by you dear tax payer. Mortgage debt clocks in at almost two thirds of Canadian Consumer Debt and that increased 12% over the last year.
As can been seen by the charts below, Government Debt to GDP is curving down and that is not occurring because we are a successful export country. Nope... we are an import country as reflected in our Trade Balance which has been locked into a 5 year negative channel since the March 2009 Pit of Gloom. Government Spending Growth has been reduced (via Balance the Budget Policy) and the hit to the CA$ in the last year has driven up the cost of imports and most of the stuff we buy. In order to maintain its lifestyle, the Private Sector is using credit in the absence of Government Sector spending and a chronic Trade Balance deficit.
Canadians like to assume that Canada is a large exporting resource laden land mass; yes and no. The Wall Street Journal observes a different market; "Canada an Emerging Market? Yes, for U.S. Oil Exports". Light crude imported into Canada from the U.S. increased 520% from 2008 to 2013 and is expected to rise another 61% by 2015 (top panel of chart mashup).
As the U.S. becomes more energy self sufficient, Canada becomes more reliant on imported fuels. For more background information see the blog discussion between Andrew Leach and Robert McClelland etal.
Canadians don't build energy infrastructure because of a) expense; it's short term "cheaper" to import other nation's value added products, b) trade agreements; our small relative market size keeps us compliant and acquiescent at the bargaining table and c) policy void; it's easier politically and corporately to let a+b=c
Now look at the bottom panel of the chart mashup above. When the price of imported fuel spikes so does the volume of Canadian imports AT THE HIGHER PRICE!
Meanwhile in Canada:
- In Canada services account for more than 70% of GDP. Within services the most important are: Finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing and management of companies and enterprises (21% of total GDP); Retail and wholesale trade (12%), Health (8%) and Public administration (6%). Manufacturing accounts for 13% of the output and Construction for 6%. Mining and oil and gas extraction constitute only 4% of GDP, yet Canada is a net exporter of energy. Also, although Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting account for 2% of output, the country is one of the world's largest suppliers of agricultural products.
- In Canada, Productivity is the real value of output produced by a unit of labor during a certain time. It is used to measure efficiency of the economy.
- The Current Account is the sum of the balance of trade (exports minus imports of goods and services), net factor income (such as interest and dividends) and net transfer payments (such as foreign aid).
...if we stopped competing with low wage producers and turned our attention to our own failing institutions and cruddy infrastructures?
Imagine if we built armies of scientists, engineers and artists and exported value instead of drudgery.
IMAGINE (John Lennon) Recorded live at Mt. Fuji Jazz Festival '91 with Blue Note on Aug. 24-25, 1991
Bass – John Patitucci
Drums – Jack DeJohnette
Piano – Gonzalo Rubalcaba
History, Charts & Curated Readings
Balance Of Trade
Rent Or Buy