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One headline from a well-known newspaper in Toronto stated the following on April 4th, 2018: “Toronto home prices see biggest drop in almost 30 years
March sales down 40% from a year ago, the lowest since 2009”. The problem with this title is it looks like Toronto’s housing prices are down an astounding 40%. 

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The next Bank of Canada interest rate announcement is scheduled for April 18. There are six more opportunities for the BoC to move interest rates this year. Between the rate announcements, the market and economists love to speculate on what might happen next. Everyone watches the reports from Stats Canada to figure out what direction the economy is moving.

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“A couple of areas worry me right now, and they need concerted attention. Both relate to interconnectedness and trust in the system. My first concern is …: cyber risk.”

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There is a shift towards Protectionism in the US. It won’t happen suddenly and overnight, but the lines have been drawn. Everyone is on notice that the largest economy is protecting its people – at the short-term expense of everyone else. It’s only natural that other countries will retaliate. This will cause trade to slow and global economic growth to slow.

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Stats Canada released the Retail Trade numbers and the CPI (inflation) last week. The retail sales figures showed higher purchases than was generally expected. Retail sales increased to $50 billion in November. The data was viewed as mildly favourable for the economy, so government bond yields edge up slightly.

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The big news last week was the increase in the key lending rate or overnight rate at the Bank of Canada (BoC). After very strong economic data being released in the week or two preceding it, the news was anything but a surprise. In particular, I’d peg four things that, in combination tipped the scales for the rate increase...

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There are more forces in play today in the economy than just GDP, wages, and job numbers. In the same way that Globalization brought many more people into the workforce, from China and India in particular, we are starting to see the impacts of Amazonization too. Their superior distribution and logistics methods are delivering, quite simply, delivering things cheaper on a large scale forcing everyone to follow suite.

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On October 25th the Bank of Canada gave its scheduled rate announcement and Monetary Policy Report Update. In this report, the Bank said, “While less monetary policy stimulus will likely be required over time, Governing Council will be cautious in making future adjustments to the policy rate”. The simple translation to this is that Bank of Canada is not in any hurry to increase rates again because there are some legitimate concerns and worries present right now.

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The Bank of Canada released their statement today on their scheduled Rate Announcement. To those that are hawkish (a bias towards an increasing rate) they didn’t disappoint. They increased their overnight rate back to 1.0% from 0.75%. In a sense, they’ve removed the two “emergency cuts” did back in 2015 when oil prices were sliding. At that time, these cuts were a big surprise to everyone because it was already unprecedented that the overnight rate was a measly 1.0%.

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This is a big week for the mortgage industry. First, OSFI (the Federal bank regulator) has released its draft version of its revisions to the B-20 guidelines for mortgage underwriting. Rule changes will be coming again that are tightening in nature. Second, the Bank of Canada is probably going to increase its overnight rates on Wednesday by 0.25%. It’s unknown if the lenders will increase their prime rates by the same amount or by a lessor amount as they did with the last two changes in 2015.

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