• 2019-07-11 08:30

    By Greg Quinn

    OTTAWA (MNI) - Vancouver new home prices fell the most in almost five years, reflecting efforts by policy makers to prevent the market from overheating.

    Statistics Canada's index dropped 0.9 percent in May from a year earlier, the most since September 2014. On a month-over-month basis, prices fell 0.3 percent.

    In Toronto, the other city that has drawn concerns about a sudden correction, new home prices fell 0.3 percent in May from April and by 0.6 percent from a year earlier.

    The two cities together carry a weight of 43 percent of the national index, which declined 0.1 percent on the month and was unchanged from a year earlier. Prices were flat in the previous three months.

  • 2019-07-10 10:00

    OTTAWA (MNI) - The Bank of Canada today maintained its target for the overnight rate at 1.75 percent. The Bank Rate is correspondingly 2 percent and the deposit rate is 1.5 percent.

    Evidence has been accumulating that ongoing trade tensions are having a material effect on the global economic outlook. The Bank had already incorporated such negative effects in previous Monetary Policy Reports (MPR) and in this forecast has made further adjustments in light of weaker sentiment and activity in major economies. Trade conflicts between the United States and China, in particular, are curbing manufacturing activity and business investment and pushing down commodity prices.

  • 2019-07-10 10:00

    By Greg Quinn

    OTTAWA (MNI) - The Bank of Canada amplified warnings about persistent global trade conflicts that are hurting a domestic recovery as policy makers kept their benchmark interest rate at 1.75%.

    The central bank kept in place a key phrase about the degree of stimulus being appropriate and continued to leave out any clear language about the direction of its next move. The one-page statement included a dozen references to risks from trade protectionism and only a few mentions of on-target inflation and a recent pickup in growth. The decision to hold rates matched the median in an MNI economist survey.

    "The degree of accommodation being provided by the current policy interest rate remains appropriate," the statement said.

  • 2019-07-09 08:31

    --Total Permits -13% M/M; Residential -17.2%; Non-Residential -5.7%

    By Greg Quinn

    OTTAWA (MNI) - Canadian building permits fell more than expected from a record high in May after Vancouver introduced a new development charge.

    The dollar value of permits, an indicator of future construction activity, fell 13.0% in May, more than the MNI median calling for a decrease of 7.5%. Permits climbed 16.0% to a record C$9.5 billion in April as Vancouver developers accelerated projects before the new fee took effect.

    Vancouver dominated the report with a 55.6% plunge in permits in May to C$901 million. Permits in the city jumped to C$2 billion from C$965 million between March and April.

  • 2019-07-05 08:30

    By Greg Quinn

    Ottawa (MNI) - Canada's jobless rate inched up from a record low in June as more people looked for work, while wages rose at the fastest pace in a year.

    The unemployment rate rose to 5.5% in June from May's record low of 5.4%, and the number of jobs fell by 2,200, Statistics Canada said Friday from Ottawa. The MNI median was for 5.5% unemployment and a gain of 5,000 jobs. The big driver of the rise in the jobless rate was a 30,500 increase in the labor force.

    The job decline gives back just a sliver of the 134,200 jobs that were created in the prior two months, and other parts of the report suggests the economy remains near full employment. Full time jobs rose by 24,100 in June and part-time jobs fell by 26,200.

  • 2019-07-03 08:30

    Ottawa (MNI) - Canada recorded its biggest trade surplus in more than two years in May, smashing market expectations for a wider deficit.

    The surplus was C$0.76 billion compared with the MNI median economist prediction for a trade deficit of C$1.65 billion. It was the biggest trade surplus since November 2016 according to Ottawa-based Statistics Canada.

    Exports rose 4.6% to a record C$53.1 billion in May, with gains in nine of 11 major sectors. Passenger car and light truck shipments jumped by 18% following prolonged assembly plant shutdowns in April, and energy exports rose 5% in May.

    Imports grew by 1% in May. From a year earlier, exports have climbed 8.6% and imports by 1.1%.

    Canada's bilateral surplus with the U.S.

  • 2019-06-28 08:30

    By Greg Quinn

    OTTAWA (MNI) - Canada's economy grew 0.3% in April, a faster-than-expected gain led by a rebound in crude oil production and wholesale sales.

    The expansion was faster than the 0.2% median estimate in an MNI economist survey. Oil and gas extraction rose 5.5%, the most in three years, as Alberta's provincial government eased earlier production cuts put in place because of an earlier crash in prices.

    Wholesaling was the other major contributor to April growth with a 1.4% increase led by machinery and equipment.

  • 2019-06-26 11:10

    By Greg Quinn

    OTTAWA (MNI) - Canadian GDP figures for April should show the first back-to-back expansion since a soft patch late last year, making it still less likely the Bank of Canada will take any marching orders from the Federal Reserve when it comes to interest-rate cuts.

    Governor Stephen Poloz on Friday will see GDP figures for April expected to show the first back-to-back expansion since a soft patch late last year. Poloz this week may also be reading drafts of the Bank's own quarterly survey of business executives due out later that morning. That survey may pick up glimmers of hope on trade after the U.S. lifted steel and aluminum tariffs in May.

  • 2019-06-26 08:36

    By Greg Quinn

    OTTAWA (MNI) - Statistics Canada said its widely followed measure of consumers' financial health probably isn't the best indicator, because it focuses on incomes instead of assets.

    The agency said its ratio of household debts to assets is more closely tied to financial distress than the more popular ratio of debt to disposable income. Policy makers and the media have focused most of their attention on record highs in the debt to income ratio.

    One problem with the the debt to income measure is many poorer families have small debts, meaning their ratios will be low even if they are "financially vulnerable," Statistics Canada's report published Wednesday said.

  • 2019-06-25 18:49

    By Greg Quinn

    OTTAWA (MNI) - Richmond Fed President Tom Barkin said it's unclear whether an interest-rate cut is needed for a U.S. economy showing signs of healthy consumer spending and weaker business investment.

    "Consumers are still very much willing to spend. What we have seen is a pretty meaningful step back in the metrics we look at for business investment," Barkin said Tuesday at the University of Ottawa.