"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'
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.
The bottom line is that the buyer sets the price and if the vendor agrees, the sale completes. The pitiful Softwood Lumber embargo is a case in point CBC News October 13, 2016. The U.S. does not want Canadian lumber at Canadian prices.
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.
My affordability page has always used the Bank of Canada "bank rate" as an input for debt service ratio calculation. My back of the napkin calculation for a current stress tested 5 year term, 25 year amortization fixed mortgage relative to average provincial earnings is that in Vancouver 5.5 wage earners are required to qualify for an 80% loan to value mortgage when buying an average priced single family detached house. In Toronto 3.3 buyers are required. In Calgary 1.6 earners and in Montreal 1.1 earners are required.
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
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