Thursday, September 30, 2010

Big Oil Pulling Out Of Iran

European Oil Companies Pledge to End Oil Investment
The United States announced Thursday that four of Europe's five biggest oil companies would end their energy investments in Iran, a significant advance in the Obama administration's efforts to pressure the Iranian government to enter negotiations over its alleged nuclear weapons program.

Japanese Energy Group To Quit Iran Oilfield
Inpex, the Japanese state-backed energy group, is poised to relinquish its remaining share of Iran’s Azadegan oilfield as tightening sanctions threaten companies that do business with Tehran.

Carney Warns About Canadian Debt Levels

Household Balance Sheets and the Outlook for Consumption
With Canadians working, but not as much as they would like, they have been borrowing. Real household credit expanded rapidly throughout the recession, in contrast to previous downturns, and has continued to grow through the recovery. Canadian households have now collectively run a net financial deficit for 37 consecutive quarters. That is, their investment in housing has outstripped their total savings for over nine straight years. In effect, households are demanding funds from the rest of the economy, rather than providing them, as had been the case through the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.

This cannot continue. The ratio of Canadian household debt to disposable income reached 146 per cent in the first quarter of this year, an all-time high and very close to the current level in the United States . In a series of analyses over the past year the Bank has found that Canadian households are increasingly vulnerable to an adverse shock and that this vulnerability is rising more quickly than had been previously anticipated.

It is true that the strength of housing and other assets has meant that the net worth of Canadians remains about six times their average disposable income compared with slightly below five times in the United States. However, while asset prices can rise or fall, debt endures. Despite the buoyancy of the housing market, the debt-to-asset ratio has risen to its highest level in more than 20 years.

In short, Canadian household balance sheets are becoming increasingly stretched. It is possible that Canadians are beginning to address some of these vulnerabilities. This would be consistent with recent data that indicate a slowdown in household consumption expenditures and housing activity, amid a labour market recovery that has been longer on jobs than on hours or incomes.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Bank Raises Red Flag Over Housing Affordability

Bank Raises Red Flag Over Housing Affordability
RBC economist Robert Hogue is raising a "red flag" about housing affordability in Vancouver.The bank's quarterly report on housing trends and affordability, released Monday, said Vancouver is one of a handful of Canadian markets where the share of household income taken up by home ownership costs "is at worrisome levels." RBC said the proportion of median pre-tax household income required to service the cost of a mortgage on an existing housing unit exceeds 70 per cent for both two-storey homes and detached bungalows. A standard condo consumes about 43 per cent of income, according to RBC.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Canadian Housing Bubble

Canadians In Debt

Six In 10 Live Pay to Pay
The recession may be officially over, but six in 10 Canadians are still surviving from paycheque to paycheque, a national survey showed Monday. Fifty-nine per cent of Canadian workers say they would be in financial trouble if their paycheque was delayed by just a week – the same proportion as last year when the economy was still mired in a downturn, according to a poll of 2,766 people by the Canadian Payroll Association.

OECD Warns Canadians
High personal debt levels have left many Canadians financially vulnerable just when the country's economy is projected to slow, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development warned in a report on the Canadian economy Monday.

One In Seven Americans Is Living In Poverty

One In Seven Americans Is Living In Poverty
One in seven Americans is living in poverty, the highest number in the half-century that the government has kept such statistics, the Census Bureau announced Thursday. Last year was the third consecutive year that the poverty rate climbed, in part because of the recession, rising from 13.2 percent in to 14.3 percent, or 43.6 million people, last year.

Foreclosures Rise; Repossessions Set Record

Foreclosures Rise; Repossessions Set Record
US foreclosure activity rose in August from the previous month, and banks and lenders took ownership from homeowners at a record pace, according to a new report released Thursday. Overall, foreclosure fillings rose 4.18 percent in August from the previous month, and were down 5.48 percent from a year ago. In all, 338,836 properties were in the foreclosure process. One in 381 U.S. households received a foreclosure notice in August. (Foreclosure notices are defined as a default notice, auction sale notice or bank repossession.)

10 - Hawaii - One in every 315 households
9 - Illinois - One in every 314 households
8 - Michigan - One in every 255 households
7 - Georgia - 1 in every 246 households
6 - Utah - One in every 230 households
5 - Idaho - One in every 220 households
4 - California - One in every 194 households
3 - Arizona - One in every 165 households
2 - Florida - One in every 155 households
1 - Nevada - One in every 84 households