Categories for Economic Analysis

Mortgage Rates Under 3% Shine…If Neutral is 2%

BMO Capital Markets has taken a “scalpel to [its] Canadian rate forecast,” as it describes it. The company now projects just one Bank of Canada rate increase in all of 2019. By comparison, financial traders peg the odds of a rate hike this year at just 49%. That’s according to implied probabilities in the bond market, as tracked by Reuters. BMO is...

Canada Will See Higher Rates Before Lower Rates: Scotia

The talk of the market this month is how traders are pricing in a decelerating economy and lower interest rates — to which Scotiabank Economics replies, think again. December’s selloffs in oil and equities and incessant chatter about yield curve inversion got many thinking we’re headed towards a rate cut by 2020. But in a recent report, Scotia challenged that...

Rate Hikes With This Growth? For Real?

The Bank of Canada maintains that rates are going higher. Meanwhile, it just slashed Canada’s 2019 growth forecast by a not-so-paltry 0.40 percentage points. Does that strike anyone as a mite bit inconsistent? The Bank is now calling for just a 1.7% GDP gain this year. That’s pretty darned feeble. Bonsai trees and glaciers grow faster than 1.7% a year....

Oops – Bonds – Did – It – Again

Recessionary warnings from Apple and China, weak U.S. manufacturing data and a plunging stock market accelerated the market rate collapse today. Canada’s 5-year bond yield almost touched 1.75%, where it hasn’t been since 2017. The last time yields fell this fast was March 2015, while the Bank of Canada was in the midst of cutting rates. This is not your...

Watch the Bouncing Consumer Debt Ball

Canada’s debt situation appears to be getting better…if you just look at mortgages. But something sinister lurks beneath the surface. And it’s made of plastic. Indebtedness has been outgrowing incomes in this country, despite stringent new mortgage restrictions. Canadians now owe $1.78 in credit market debt for every dollar of household disposable income, just under the record high. And we keep...

Crashing Oil Could Affect Your Mortgage Rate

Significant rate catalysts often come out of left field. Case in point: collapsing Canadian oil prices. Check out this chart below. It shows Canadian oil (a.k.a., Western Canada select, or “WCS“) rapidly cheapening versus higher-demand “WTI” oil from the U.S. This is a record discount. Its thickness, inferior quality and delivery challenges mean Canadian oil always trades at a discount to...

The NAFTA Rate Rally is On

The wait for good news on trade is over. The U.S. and Canada reached a last-minute deal on Sunday to replace the current North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). And we’re seeing the rate effects already. Canada’s 5-year bond yield, which steers fixed mortgage rates, has rallied to a fresh seven-and-a-half-year high. The new deal, called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA),...

Mortgage Rates. The Day of Reckoning

“You better be prepared to deal with rates 5% or higher. It’s a higher probability than most people think” —JP Morgan CEO, Jamie Dimon What if interest rates surged far higher and faster than you now envision? Picture this scenario for a moment: U.S. core price inflation above 3% for the first time since 1995 U.S. unemployment at 60-year lows...

Canada’s “Neutral Rate” in Perspective

The “neutral rate” has taken on a life of its own. The Bank of Canada is talking about it, analysts are talking about it, the media is talking about it and everyday mortgagors are talking about it. Millions of Canadians, us included, use it as reference when trying to estimate how high rates might go. But the neutral rate is...

Could a Recession Derail Mortgage Rates?

AbsoTrumpingLutely. The more useful question is, what are the chances it will? Economists project Canada’s economy could shrink 1.8% in 2020 if the U.S. pushes us into a global trade war. In that case, we’d fall into recession in late 2019 or early 2020, they say. Canadian exports would dive, partly due to U.S. tariffs making our goods too expensive...