North America

  • 2020-06-18 11:15

    --No Gov't Budget Seen Yet For FY That Began April 1

    OTTAWA (MNI) - Canada's parliamentary budget office on Thursday raised this year's deficit projection to a record wide CAD256 billion, or 11.8% of GDP, the day after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he can only offer a partial fiscal update on July 8 as Covid-19 rocks the economy.

    That's four times greater than the previous record deficit of CAD56.4 billion seen in 2009-10. As a share of GDP it also beats a post-war high of around 8% set in the early 1980s after a deep recession. The deficit peaked at 22.5% of GDP in 1943 during World War II.

    Canada's debt would rise to 44.4% of GDP under the budget officer's projection, the highest since 2001-02.

  • 2020-06-18 10:19

    By Greg Quinn

    OTTAWA (MNI) - Canadian wholesale sales fell a record 22% in April amid Covid-19 shutdowns that likely weren't as severe in May, the federal statistics agency said.

    Sales fell to CAD49.8 billion, the lowest since July 2013, Statistics Canada said Thursday from Ottawa. All seven major categories shrank for the first time since 2008.

    The decline almost doubled the median economist forecast of 12%, following other weaker-than-expected reports on manufacturing and inflation in recent days. The volume of sales, which track better with GDP, fell to the lowest since 2009.

  • 2020-06-17 14:27

    --Fiscal 'Snapshot' Coming July 8, Trudeau Says

    OTTAWA (MNI) - Canada may toughen regulation of tech companies and gig employers after spending tens of billions supporting low-paid workers who lacked savings to cover bills after being laid off during the pandemic, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday as he announced a delayed and partial budget update on July 8.

    "We've seen this crisis expose real vulnerabilities within our communities, within our employment systems," Trudeau said in response to a question from MNI. "We are responding to this emergency right now, but we are also reflecting very carefully on how we can build back better, build back fairer, build back greener."

    Trudeau said Wednesday his minority Liberal government will present a fisc

  • 2020-06-17 09:06

    By Greg Quinn

    OTTAWA (MNI) - Canada's consumer prices unexpectedly fell 0.4% on year ago levels in May as Covid-19 shutdowns weighed, the worst reading since the last recession in 2009.

    The result ran against economist forecasts for CPI to be unchanged after a 0.2% decline in April. The 0.3% monthly price gain for May also lagged the 0.7% median.

    The report showed more evidence of a broad decline in prices.

  • 2020-06-17 07:00

    --New Governor Signals More QE, Won't Restore Forecasts Like Fed

    OTTAWA (MNI) - Although Canada's economy likely bottomed out in recent weeks, it remains in a "deep hole", Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem told lawmakers Tuesday, but said the central bank had plenty of room to expand asset purchases if necessary.

    Asked by a member of the House of Commons Finance Committee if he shares Stephen Poloz's view that GDP can quickly regain ground and move further ahead, Macklem was more restrained and said his optimism is more around the idea the economy hit bottom in recent weeks and should grow in the third quarter.

    "But I would stress that even the good case is still pretty bad.

  • 2020-06-16 15:13

    By Greg Quinn

    OTTAWA (MNI) - Following are highlights of BOC Governor Tiff Macklem's opening statement Tuesday to the House of Commons Finance Committee in Ottawa:

    The Bank of Canada is committed to doing everything we can to help the Canadian economy recover from the enormous impact of COVID-19. Today I will talk about the Bank's four main functions and elaborate on how the Bank is responding to the pandemic...

    We help the government manage its finances in a cost-effective way. But this function has taken on added importance during the pandemic. The government's financing needs have increased at an unprecedented pace this fiscal year with the introduction of measures to reduce the pandemic's impact on the Canadian economy.

  • 2020-06-16 12:27

    By Greg Quinn

    OTTAWA (MNI) - Canada's House of Commons Finance Committee Chair said BOC Governor Tiff Macklem's public debut Tuesday will update lawmakers on stabilizing markets and coordinating stimulus while leaving questions about record debt burdens until Covid-19 passes.

    Bank of Canada asset purchases and near-zero interest rates are working to keep credit flowing, though some members have questioned the dangers from such large flows of money, Wayne Easter told MNI in a phone interview.

    "What members of the committee will be looking for is, is Mr. Macklem the right guy to ensure that we maintain a stable financial system that we have had in place over time," Easter said.

  • 2020-06-15 12:44

    By Greg Quinn

    WASHINGTON (MNI) - San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly said Monday aggressive monetary stimulus will remain in place until the economic recovery regains most of the losses inflicted by Covid-19, and in the near term policy makers may need to deliver even more relief.

    "I expect our current stance of highly accommodative monetary policy to continue until the economy has largely recovered what's been lost due to the virus," she said in the text of a speech to the National Press Club in Washington.

  • 2020-06-15 08:51

    By Greg Quinn

    OTTAWA (MNI) - Canadian factory sales fell a record 29% in April as Covid-19 shut auto assembly lines and other facilities, with Statistics Canada signaling production will rise in May as restrictions eased.

    The decline to CAD36.4 billion exceeded the MNI economist median for a 20% retreat. April was the first full month of shutdowns following restrictions that took hold in the last two weeks of March, when sales fell 10%. Sales fell in all 21 categories, led by drops of 98% for automobiles and 46% for petroleum and coal.

    The inventory-to-sales ratio jumped to 2.41 from 1.74, the largest increase since December 2008. New orders fell 31% to CAD35.1 billion.

  • 2020-06-15 06:30

    By Greg Quinn

    OTTAWA (MNI) - The Bank of Canada's balance sheet grew CAD18 billion to a record CAD498 billion this week with government bonds and bills dominating the increase while the need for corporate liquidity waned.

    Federal t-bill holdings climbed CAD8 billion to CAD116 billion, and federal bonds by CAD7 billion to CAD145 billion, figures through June 10 posted late Friday showed. The bond purchases are faster than the BOC's minimum pledge to acquire at least CAD5 billion a week until the economic recovery is well underway.

    Governor Tiff Macklem may reiterate his pledge for aggressive action when he testifies at the House of Commons finance committee Tuesday, his first public remarks since taking over from Stephen Poloz on June 3.