• Monday, June 17, 2019 - 06:42


    By Greg Quinn

    OTTAWA (MNI) - This week will provide one of the best looks at the health of Canadian consumer spending before the July 10 BOC interest-rate decision.

    Friday brings Statistics Canada's report on retail sales for April, the start of the second quarter. Consumer spending including big-ticket items like cars was one of the only bright spots for the economy in the first quarter.

    Consumer price inflation for May is due Wednesday from Statistics Canada. Core prices have held around the BOC's 2% target for a while now, suggesting little pressure to raise or lower rates in the near term.

  • Thursday, June 13, 2019 - 08:42


    By Greg Quinn

    OTTAWA (MNI) - Canadian household debt held close to a record high when compared with disposable income in the first quarter, government figures showed.

    Credit-market debt such as mortgages was 177.6% of after-tax income, unchanged from the fourth quarter of last year. The ratio was a record 178.3% in the third quarter of 2018, according to Statistics Canada figures published Thursday.

    The Bank of Canada has warned that a record buildup of consumer debts through a housing boom in Toronto and Vancouver remains a vulnerability even after governments introduced rules to curb riskier borrowing.

  • Thursday, June 13, 2019 - 08:30


    By Greg Quinn

    OTTAWA (MNI) - Canadian new home prices were unchanged for a third month in April, as declines in Toronto were matched with gains in other parts of the province of Ontario.

    Toronto prices fell 0.1% on the month in Statistics Canada's new home price index published Thursday. In Vancouver, the other city that has drawn concern about a potential housing correction, prices declined 0.2%.

    Prices were flat or declined in 19 of 27 cities in the report. Gains in Ontario cities such as Ottawa and London helped keep the overall index steady.

    The index rose 0.1% in April from a year ago.

  • Wednesday, June 12, 2019 - 07:00


    WASHINGTON (MNI) - The Mortgage Bankers Association Wednesday reported a sharp increase in mortgage activity in the June 7 week, with activity up 26.8% on a further large decline in mortgage rates.

    Here are some of the key features of the report:

    - The Refinance Index rose by 47%, while the Purchase Index rose by 10% in the current week. MBA said it made adjustment to the previous week to account for the Memorial Day holiday.

    - The 30-year average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage fell further to 4.12% in the current week from 4.23% in the previous week, hitting its lowest point since September 2017.

    - MBA said that the further decline in mortgage rates was due to trade war concerns, bearish comments from FOMC members, and the softer employment data in May.

  • Monday, June 10, 2019 - 11:19


    By Jean Yung

    WASHINGTON (MNI) - Softer U.S. macro data do not present a clear case for an imminent interest rate cut, but persistent trade tensions may prove disruptive enough to warrant a course correction, senior Federal Reserve economists told MNI last week.

    Officials at the Richmond and Dallas Fed banks said in interviews that, in aggregate, the past few months' employment, consumer spending and other indicators look strong, even as they noted softness in recent manufacturing, investment and other data.

  • Monday, June 10, 2019 - 08:30


    By Greg Quinn

    OTTAWA (MNI) - Canadian building permits surged to a record high in April as Vancouver developers accelerated work ahead of a fee increase.

    The value of permits jumped by C$1.2 billion to C$9.3 billion in April, the biggest increase by dollar value since May 2007. The percentage increase of 14.7% was the biggest since October 2016.

    Residential building permits climbed by 24.5% in April, led by a 138% gain in British Columbia. Vancouver led the increase in British Columbia with a gain of C$880 million for multi-family projects in the city.