• 2019-06-25 08:30

    By Greg Quinn

    OTTAWA (MNI) - Canadian wholesale blew past forecasts in April with a 1.7% gain that was the fastest in more than two years.

    The MNI economist consensus was for a 0.2% increase, suggesting the April GDP report due Friday may also come in stronger than expected. Combined with the March wholesale sales gain of 1.4%, it's the best two-month increase since the end of 2015 when Canada was recovering from a crash in exported crude oil prices.

    Motor vehicle and parts sales rose 3.2% in April to the highest dollar value since November 2017. Sales are up 10.9% since January. Machinery and equipment sales rose 2.2% in April, and household goods by 3.1%, Statistics Canada said Monday from Ottawa.

  • 2019-06-21 10:12

    By Greg Quinn

    OTTAWA (MNI) - U.S. President Donald Trump praised closer trade ties with Canada and suggested the two nations will cooperate to pressure China before a crucial G-20 summit meeting on trade.

    Trump met Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Washington and ended meetings late Thursday with promises to coordinate supplies of key minerals, following China's threat to curb its own shipments abroad. The two leaders said they will cooperate to keep unfairly cheap metals out of North American markets.

    Trump said he wants Congress to ratify the replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement known as USMCA, telling reporters and Trudeau it will help the U.S. take a stand against Europe and China on trade.

  • 2019-06-21 08:39

    By Greg Quinn

    OTTAWA (MNI) - Canadian retail sales grew a less-than-expected +0.1% in April on weakness in automobiles and home improvement materials.

    The increase was less than the +0.5% expected in the MNI median economist forecast, and the March increase of +1.3%. Excluding motor vehicles and gasoline, retail sales declined -0.1% in April. Another sign of weakness is the -0.2% in the volume of sales.

    Motor vehicle and parts sales were +0.1% in April, after being little changed in March. Building material and garden supply store sales fell -2.6%. Gasoline again inflated retail sales with a +1.2% gain on higher prices, and taking out price changes they were -0.7%.

  • 2019-06-19 08:30

    By Greg Quinn

    OTTAWA (MNI) - Canada's inflation rate quickened for a fourth month to +2.4% in May and a measure of core prices was the fastest since 2009, surprise gains that may pressure the central bank to add a hawkish note to its next rate decision.

    The consumer price index gain was faster than the +2.2% MNI consensus forecast, and on a monthly basis the +0.4% rise was also faster than the expected +0.2%. The Bank of Canada's trim core inflation rate accelerated to +2.3% from +2.0%, making May the fastest pace since March 2009.

    The report is a rare upside surprise after years of inflation generally lagging expectations, and prices accelerated across six of eight major categories in Statistics Canada's report Wednesday.

  • 2019-06-17 14:30

    By Greg Quinn

    OTTAWA (MNI) - The Bank of Canada will continue allowing the country's dollar to float after a 2021 review of its monetary policy framework, Deputy Governor Larry Schembri said.

    "Canada and and many other open economies have been well-served by a market-determined flexible exchange rate," Schembri said Monday. The speech didn't give an outlook for the BOC's policy interest rate of 1.75% ahead of the next decision due July 10.

    Canada was one of the first nations to adopt a formal inflation target in 1991 and hasn't intervened in currency markets in two decades.

  • 2019-06-17 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.

  • 2019-06-13 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.

  • 2019-06-13 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.

  • 2019-06-10 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.

  • 2019-06-07 08:46

    By Greg Quinn

    OTTAWA (MNI) - Canada turned in a second straight blockbuster jobs report in May as the unemployment rate fell to a record low 5.4% and payrolls climbed again after a massive gain in April, data released Friday showed.

    The unemployment rate fell from 5.7% in April, the biggest monthly decline since April 2017, while employment climbed by 27,700 in May, following April's record increase of 106,500.