Jan. 23, 2015

BEWARE OF NEW CRA SCAM

  • Canadians believe they are receiving calls from CRA looking for information on their 2013 T1 tax filing.
  • Once on the line, the caller starts being aggressive saying that you owe CRA and you need to pay now or there are penalties etc.
  • The caller requests bank information to expedite this process.
  • This is NOT CRA. CRA rarely calls you, they send letters giving you 30 days to come with the information. If they do call, they go through a rigorous process to establish legitimacy.
  • If in doubt, do not give any information but hang up and call: business related 1-800-959-5525 and individuals 1-800-959-8281.

NEW KING FOR SAUDI ARABIA

  • Saudi King Abdullah passed away today at the age of 90. He became the king in August 2005 and was de facto ruler for almost a decade prior to that.
  • He has been succeeded by his half-brother, Salman, age 79. Another half-brother, Prince Muqrin, age 69, has been named Crown Prince.
  • King Salman has vowed to maintain the same energy policies as his predecessors.

ENERGY

  • Canadian Association of Oil Well Drilling Contractors is expecting the number of active drilling rigs this year to decline 41%, cutting almost 23,000 jobs (3,400 directly and 19,500 indirectly).
  • Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers forecast western Canadian oil production to decline 65,000 boe/day in 2015 to 3.6 million boe/day.

EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK (ECB) STARTS QUANTITATIVE

  • Thursday the ECB announced plans to purchase €60 billion per month of private and public bonds.
  • These purchases will begin in March 2015 and will continue to September 2016 or beyond with a total of at least €$1.1 trillion. This will mean that the ECB’s balance sheet will be larger than the Federal Reserve balance sheet.
  • Euro regions 19 national central banks will make 80% of the purchases and take on associated risk.
  • Greece will be excluded for at least 6 months until policy questions have been resolved.
  • ECB will not own more 33% of the debt of any single issuer.

TIDBITS

  • Canada’s December CPI declined 0.7% M/M and declined to 1.5% Y/Y from November’s 2% Y/Y. Core inflation was up 2.2% Y/Y vs an expected 2.3%.
  • Vancouver sales of homes over $3 million was a record 842 in 2014, up 31% from 2013.
  • 2014 Calgary ranked as the 14th richest city in the world (measured by GDP per capita). On a broader “economic performance” Calgary was 53rd, Edmonton 62nd, Vancouver 74th.
  • China is building a 7,000 km high-speed rail link from Beijing to Moscow at a cost of $242 billion.
  • The richest 1% in the world now own 48% of global wealth and is expected to exceed 50% by 2016.
  • Both New England Patriot quarterback Tom Brady and coach Bill Belicheck said they had no idea that the footballs they used in last week’s conference championship were under-inflated. The NFL is still investigating.
  • Americans are expected to wager about $3.8 billion illegally on Super Bowl 2015, about 38x more than Nevada casinos typically accept on NFL championship wagers.