Sept. 20, 2019

CANADA

  • August Canadian CPI was down 0.1% M/M (up 1.9% Y/Y) in line with expectations.
    • Alberta August CPI down 0.1% M/M (up 1.3% Y/Y)
      • Edmonton up 1.3% Y/Y; Calgary up 0.9% Y/Y
  • July retail sales rose 0.4% M/M vs 0.6% expected, but still the first increase in 3 months, led by car sales.
  • Suburban neighbourhoods around Toronto are facing the worst rental affordability in Canada; more than 30% of renters spend at least 50% of their income on rent.
  • Outstanding balances on reverse mortgages (those 55 and older can borrow up to 55% of the value of their home with repayment when they sell or die) has doubled since 2015 to $3.12 billion.
  • 2018 average household net worth fell 1.1% Y/Y to $678,792.
    • Alberta declined 4.2% Y/Y to $700,171
    • Saskatchewan declined 2.9% Y/Y to $563,490

ENERGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT

  • Eastern Canadian refineries are scrambling to secure crude oil supplies since the attack on Saudi Arabia’s energy infrastructure, especially in Quebec, Ontario and Newfoundland.
    • 2018 Canadian oil production was 4.6 million b/d (exceeding domestic needs by far)
    • 2018 refineries in Central and Atlantic Canada imported 592,600 b/d of oil from 10 foreign sources led by the US (64% of imports) and Saudi Arabia (18%).
  • BC’s highest court told the provincial government to reconsider its environmental approval of TransMountain Pipeline expansion and examine whether it needs to impose more conditions.
  • Amazon pledged to be carbon neutral by 2040. In 2018 Amazon contributed more greenhouse gas emissions than some of its competitors but still less than Walmart.
  • Hundreds of thousands of people across Asia, Africa and Europe are protesting to demand action on climate change.

CENTRAL BANKS

  • The Federal Reserve board lowered interest rates by 0.25%. Chair Jerome Powell said that ‘moderate’ policy moves should be sufficient to sustain the US expansion. Notably, 3 members of the committee dissented on the vote (one wanted a cut of 0.50% and 2 wanted no change).
  • Norway’s central bank INCREASED interest rates for the 4th time in a year to cool its economy.

TIDBITS

  • India surprised with a $20 billion tax cut. Corporations will pay 20% tax on their income from April 1, 2019 versus 30% previously; this makes the tax regime one of the lowest in Asia.
  • Robot shipments are expected to jump 39% by 2022 from 2018’s record $16.5 billion.
    • Top 5 countries for robot installations are China, Japan, Korea, US and Germany
  • Saudi Arabia will restore its lost oil production by end of September and has managed to recover supplies to customers back to the levels prior to the facility attacks.
  • India and China have banned sales of vaping products (ie: e-cigarettes) over health concerns.
    • New York State is the 2nd state (after Michigan) to ban flavoured e-cigarettes
    • Canadian health organizations are urging that the same restrictions for tobacco be applied to e-cigarettes