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November 3, 2023 | The Federal Reserve Issues a Margin Call

The Federal Reserve kept rates unchanged this week, at the highest level since 2001. The chair, Jerome Powell, insisted that the Fed might have to hike more, if inflation does not behave in the next few months. The last rate hike in the U.S. occurred in July 2023, after a streak of 11 hikes that […]

October 27, 2023 | The Bank of Canada Needs To Worry About a Recession

The Bank of Canada kept its official interest rate at 5 percent on Wednesday, October 25, 2023. The Governor, Tiff Macklem, emphasized that the BOC is willing to hike rates higher if needed, as he is not happy with the rate of decline in the inflation measures. But the BOC also issued a lower forecast […]

October 20, 2023 | Banks Need To Revise Their House Price Forecasts Down a Lot

Forecasts of increasing house prices in Canada by the economics departments of the large Canadian banks are wildly optimistic. This matters because it directly affects the risk assessment for their most important lending division — mortgage and consumer loans. Will they revise these forecasts lower in their reports for the year ending October 31 2023? […]

October 13, 2023 | The Attack By Hamas Increases The Chance of a Wider Conflict

Last week Israel was attacked by Hamas, shocking the world. But stock markets and the price of crude oil have demonstrated remarkable complacency after this momentous event. Is this just another skirmish in an area that has been in conflict for decades or will there be serious repercussions? The classic event that the world did […]

October 6, 2023 | A Collapse in Bank Lending is Ominous

A collapse in bank lending is damaging for the economy, as growing credit is the most important fuel of modern economic systems. Without an annual increase in debt outstanding, a recession becomes almost inevitable. Will the current downturn in bank lending to commercial and industrial clients trigger a recession? Commercial and industrial lending peaked in […]

September 29, 2023 | Extremely Low Rates Triggered a Mania Like the Tulip Bulb Story

History will judge that the long period of low interest rates, which endured from 2009 to early 2022 was a colossal mistake. Investors piled into fixed income assets that were extremely overpriced based on rates close to zero. And now most assets that are sensitive to rates are repricing sharply downward. Last week we saw […]

September 22, 2023 | Stock Market Traders Wishing for Rate Cuts Will Be Disappointed

The U.S. stock market sold off this week after the Federal Reserve announced that rates will have to stay higher for longer. But the stock market should be careful what it wishes for. The record shows clearly that rate cuts are usually bad for the stock market and the economy. This week Jerome Powell, chair […]

September 15, 2023 | A Minsky Moment For Canada Has Arrived

Canada’s Minsky Moment has arrived, as the demand for new credit slows and a substantial portion of household mortgage borrowers are not paying the interest on their debt, much less repaying the principal. Hyman Minsky was an American economist who focused on the business cycle and debt. Since mainstream economics ignores debt, banking and financial […]

September 8, 2023 | The Bank of Canada Pauses But Rate Cuts Are Not Coming Soon

The Bank of Canada goes on hold, with no rate hike this week. But those expecting significant interest rate cuts any time soon will be disappointed. The end of the multi-decade period of declining rates passed without much fanfare. But rates in Canada are now as high as they were 23 years ago. This happened […]

September 1, 2023 | Crude Oil Demand Will Suffer as Transport Goes Electric

While the world’s crude oil consumption will soon start to decline, many investors expect there will be robust demand for crude oil for decades to come. But it is not too early to analyze the impact of declining demand for crude oil when choosing long-term investments. Most investors based in Canada, and especially Alberta, believe […]

August 25, 2023 | Solar Energy Capacity For Electricity Production Soars Worldwide

The pace of installations for new solar electricity production continues to surprise everyone, even industry insiders. Close to 400 gigawatts of capacity will be installed worldwide in 2023, with forecasts for as much as 563 gigawatts in 2025. Solar is now cheap and easy to install, especially on residential rooftops where permitting is not a […]

August 18, 2023 | Inflation Moderates But Still Could Bite Hard

The headline measure was recorded as 3.2 percent from a year ago, while the closely watched core CPI was a more troublesome 4.7 percent. Is inflation beaten yet? In the mid-1970s a concentrated advertising campaign was orchestrated by the U. S. government to demonstrate a willingness to beat inflation at all costs. President Ford named […]

August 11, 2023 | Deflation Risk in China is Real

The risk of deflation in China is real. A moderating pace of growth, large private sector debts and a slowdown in the crucial property sector suggest lower income, prices and deflation. Is China entering a debt deflation spiral? China has enjoyed a longer-than-four-decades income and wealth expansion that has rarely happened in the thousands of […]

August 4, 2023 | Ratings Agency Downgrades US Debt Triggering Widespread Criticism

  The U.S. government bonds were downgraded a notch by the ratings agency, Fitch. This means the safety of the US treasuries has slipped and there is growing concern about the longer-term outlook for debt. Is the U.S. government at risk of default? Economists reacted negatively to the downgrade with Larry Summers calling it “absurd” […]

July 28, 2023 | The Federal Reserve hikes rates again

The Federal Reserve hiked interest rates again, to 5.25 percent to 5.5 percent. This is the highest Federal Funds rate in 22 years. The Fed has stated that it is determined to wrestle inflation back under control, which means getting to its 2 percent target or lower. Has the Fed gone too far in this […]

July 21, 2023 | China Property Market Struggles with Debt Bubble

China began a new stage in its multi-year struggle with insolvency among property developers. One of the biggest, China Evergrande, reported losses of US$81 billion this week. Will massive debts of US$207 billion dollars in the property sector drag China down? The property sector started to contract in 2021, after a brief post-COVID surge.  Recent […]

July 14, 2023 | The Bank of Canada is More Worried About Inflation Than a Recession

The Bank of Canada raised its interest rate again this week, the tenth increase since March 2022. The new level, at 5 percent, means that many borrowers will face rates of 7 percent and higher on bank loans and mortgages. Why does the Bank of Canada keep raising rates? The Bank of Canada (BOC) set […]

July 7, 2023 | Value Investing Will Come Back

Value investing as a style should be doing better during this period of rising interest rates and growing recession fears. But growth investing continues to perform better than value investing by a wide margin. Will value investors ever dominate again? Value stocks are defined as “cheap” when using metrics like share price to book value […]

June 30, 2023 | A Failed Coup in Russia But There is More To Come

The head of the Wagner Group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, staged a coup or mutiny, making accusations about Russian army leadership and the conduct of the war and threatening to bring 25,000 of his mercenaries to Moscow. But he backed down and is now in exile in Belarus. Is the coup a sign of more upheaval to […]

June 23, 2023 | The Bear Market is Still with Us

The bear market that started in early 2022 is still intact. Many pundits are making noise about a new bull market, but it is best to ignore those people. The stock market has not completed its full correction yet. What indicators confirm the bear market? A normal bear market lasts until valuations are reasonable again, […]

June 16, 2023 | The Fed Remains Committed To Fighting Inflation

The Federal Reserve delivered a “hawkish pause” this week. The Fed funds rate was held steady, as the Fed continued to tighten monetary policy and suggested that further rate hikes are inevitable. Will the Fed stay the course until inflation is at its 2 percent target? The official statement says that the Fed is committed to a […]

June 9, 2023 | The Bank of Canada Turns Hawkish Again

The Bank of Canada delivered a surprise rate hike to 4.75 percent on Wednesday, reversing an April 2023 decision that paused the interest rate hiking cycle. As a result, mortgage rates, prime lending loans and almost everything else in the debt business will get more expensive. At what point will the BOC stop its rate […]

June 2, 2023 | Artificial Intelligence is Generating a Stock Market Frenzy

The latest investment hype is based on widespread investor interest in Artificial Intelligence (AI). Nvidia, a company that makes computer chips for AI, is trading at huge multiples of earnings that have only been seen in extreme bubbles like the dot-com era of 1999. Is AI a genuine investing opportunity? AI is generating a frenzy […]

May 26, 2023 | The Bank of Canada Sounds Worried

The Bank of Canada uses more alarmist language in its latest Financial System Review (FSR), a regular report that discusses the risks to the Canadian financial system. Should we be more worried about Canadian banks? Canadian central bankers write an assessment of the health of the Canadian financial system on a regular basis, highlighting risks […]

May 19, 2023 | A Geopolitical Event Could Rock the Financial Markets

  Geopolitical events can move markets, if only temporarily. Crises on a world scale frighten investors, causing them to make hasty decisions that can be harmful to their financial success. Could a geopolitical event cause investor panic? The history of geopolitical events shows that markets can survive most events without much trouble. For example, a […]

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