May 24, 2019

Debt in North America

  • Approximately 38% of mortgages held by Canadian seniors (over 65) at the end of 2018 were more than 90 days delinquent.
  • Canadian household debt hit a record 178.5% Q4 2018.
    • Average balances for credit cards and lines of credit grew at a faster pace than 2017, especially in Vancouver, Edmonton and Toronto.
  • Almost 40% of Americans would struggle to cover a $400 emergency without carrying a balance on their credit cards or borrowing from friends or family.

Middle East

  • Trump Administration is considering using emergency provisions to sell arms to Saudi Arabia without congressional approval.
  • Pentagon briefed the White House on options to deploy up to 5,000 troops to the Middle East.
  • Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said his government needs more powers to push against an ‘economic war’ being waged by the US.
  • Iran says it is within weeks of hitting the enriched-uranium limits (300 kg) set under the nuclear deal.
  • 50% of all Americans believe that the US will go to war with Iran “within the next few years”.

Clean Energy and Climate Change

  • Canada’s clean-energy sector is growing faster than the economy as a whole:
    • 300,000 direct employees in 2017 vs 200,000 in mining and oil and gas extraction and nearly 7.5x more than forestry and logging
    • Clean energy accounted for 3% of Canada’s 2017 GDP vs 2.1% combined for agriculture, forestry & fishing; 2.3% combined hotel and restaurants
  • Shell’s Quest facility which sequesters emissions from the Scotford Upgrader hit a milestone 4 million tons of captured carbon dioxide about 6 months ahead of schedule and at a lower cost than estimated. The plants’ target is 1 million tons of carbon a year.
  • Chile’s Southern Patagonia ice field has ‘split in two’ according to the Snow and Glacier Division of Chile’s DGA water authority.
  • Sniffer drones will be policing the skies of the world’s busiest shipping ports looking for ships exceeding the new pollution regulations for emissions.
    • In the Netherlands, their drones will be capable of travelling over 10 miles from shore

Health

  • A new blood test to predict Dementia has been developed, however there is no cure.
    • 152 million people are predicted to develop Dementia by 2050
  • Women’s chances of surviving cardiac arrest are 50% less than men, partially because they show different symptoms so are not treated as quickly.
    • Symptoms for women include nausea and vomiting with palpitations, lightheadedness, extreme fatigue or discomfort in the neck, jaw, shoulders, arms or back

Tidbits

  • Fraser Institute study says Alberta spends 21.5% per-capita more on provincial programs (education and health) than BC.
  • US beer industry says the Trump aluminum tariffs are to blame for 40,000 job losses since 2016. Currently the industry employs 2.19 million Americans.
  • EU can now freeze assets and impose travel bans against individuals responsible for significant cyber-attacks against the bloc.