July 27, 2016

Fed Postpones Rate Hike Again

To the surprise of no one, the Fed once again refrained from raising interest rates even though the U.S. economy has posted surprising strength in recent weeks. Following a very weak jobs report in May, the June figures showed a considerable bounce back. Retail sales and housing activity have also surprised on the high side….

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July 26, 2016

Restrictions on Foreign Ownership of Real Estate

In a surprise move, British Columbia introduced a new 15 percent property transfer tax on foreign real estate buyers in Vancouver on Monday, action intended to calm soaring prices. The new tax would apply to buyers who are neither Canadian citizens, nor permanent residents. The definition of foreign buyer appears to include international students and…

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June 24, 2016

Brexit

The decision by British voters to leave the European Union (EU) has shocked markets and will no doubt lead to continued uncertainty for an extended period. Stock markets around the world are reeling, the British pound has taken an unprecedented nosedive, commodity prices with the exception of gold are plunging and interest rates are falling…

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June 16, 2016

Fed Postpones Rate Hike Again

No one expected the Federal Reserve to raise rates today even though they have been criticized by some for lacking credibility. When the target overnight fed funds rate was first hiked late last year, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) forecast four rate hikes this year. Now, most Committee members believe there will be only…

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June 3, 2016

Shocking US Jobs Report and Toronto and Vancouver Housing Too Hot

First on the U.S. Jobs Front The May employment report was released this morning in the US and it was shockingly weak–indeed, the weakest number in almost 6 years. Nonfarm payroll employment was up only 38,000, well below the market expectation of 160,000. Not only was May incredibly weak, but the March and April job…

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May 30, 2016

Will Chinese Capital Continue to Pour Into Canadian Real Estate?

Why Are People Taking So Much Money Out of China? China is experiencing the largest episode of capital flight in history, encouraged by the slowdown in economic activity, the plunge in the stock market and the surprise devaluation of the currency–the Chinese yuan (also called the renminbi) last August. Chinese businesses and consumers are moving money…

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May 25, 2016

Bank of Canada Stands Pat Once Again

In a short but not-so-sweet missive, the Bank of Canada left its target overnight rate unchanged at 1/2 percent as expected. The Bank, however, sharply reduced its forecast for second quarter Canadian growth owing to the devastating wildfires in Alberta. The Bank’s economists estimate that the fire-related damage and shutdown of oil production will reduce…

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May 6, 2016

Canada’s Jobs Weakness a Payback for March Surge

March saw employment gains of 41,000 (+0.2%), the strongest reading in five months, with Alberta (of all places) enjoying the largest improvement. This lowered the unemployment rate by 0.2 percentage points to 7.1%. So it is not surprising to see job weakness in April report. Indeed, employment was virtually unchanged last month (-2,100 or 0.0%)…

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April 29, 2016

Canada Starts to Outperform the U.S.

Crude oil prices are poised for their biggest monthly gain in seven years, hitting a new high for 2016, and as day follows night, the Canadian dollar is up sharply–just shy of 80 cents U.S. Today’s February GDP report was not as weak as expected following the blowout number in January, leaving Canada likely to…

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April 13, 2016

Bank of Canada Cautious About the Outlook

To no one’s surprise, the Bank of Canada left its target overnight rate unchanged at 1/2 percent. The Bank, however, reduced its forecast for the global economy and for the U.S. economy as well, suggesting that the outlook for Canadian exports is less favorable than earlier forecast. (Table 1 below shows the Bank’s current global…

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