Mar. 22, 2019

CANADA

  • 51% of Canadians say they are struggling to meet daily expenses and 67% list ‘financial security in old age’ as a top 3 long-term risk according to an OECD survey.
  • Canada expects 2020 budget deficit of $19.8billion or 1% of GDP up from $14.6billion (0.7% of GDP in 2019 fiscal year)
  • Fitch ratings says Canada’s debt levels are ‘incompatible’ with a AAA status.
  • Federal budget focused on Homebuyers (effective after the Federal election this fall):
    • Part 1: CMHC will provide 5% of the cost of an existing and 10% of a new home through an interest-free loan to be repaid when the property is sold. Effectively CMHC will own part of these homes.
      • Users must have a down payment of at least 5% and household income under $120,000
    • Part 2: Home buyers plan withdrawal from an RRSP increases to $35,000 from $25,000 effective immediately.
  • Alberta home builders are concerned that new home buyers may wait until after the election to take advantage of the CMHC funding.
    • January 2019 Edmonton had a record 1,941 completed but unsold homes while Calgary had 891.
  • Canadian January retail sales declined 0.3% m/m vs an expected increase of 0.4%, 5th decline in 6 months.

CANADIAN IMMIGRATION

  • In 2018, Canada had the biggest influx of immigrants since WW1, 321,065.
    • Includes a boom in non-permanent residents like foreign students
    • Is a positive for our economy as it deals with aging demographics and expands our economy
  • In total Canada’s population grew 528,421 last year, the largest since the late 1950’s and the strongest among G7 nations.
  • As comparison, the US added 787,000 immigrants in 2017 (last year of data).

CHINA FLEXES ITS MUSCLES

  • China has halted all purchases from Canada of canola, wheat, peas, linseed and is closely inspecting all other Canadian agriculture products.
  • President Trump says tariffs will stay until China complies with a trade deal which may be a ‘substantial period of time’.
  • China may drop Boeing 737 Max 8 and 9 aircraft from trade deal.

TIDBITS

  • Federal Reserve left rates unchanged and effectively said that there will be no further rate increases in 2019.
  • Volvo is adding in-car sensors to prevent drunk driving starting with 2020.
  • The US cannabis industry is the fastest growing job sector in the US. 64,389 full time jobs added in 2018, up 44% to a total of more than 200,000 working full time.
  • New Zealand banned semi-automatic, assault rifles and will buy the weapons back from their citizens, estimated cost of NZ$200 million.
  • Alberta researchers are using AI to help predict catastrophic wildfires.
  • BP is looking at buying solar energy to power their oil and gas operations in the US.