Wednesday, December 22, 2010

IMF: Canadian Personal Debt A Threat

Personal Debt A Threat To Recovery
Canada’s household debt burden, now as heavy as that of the United States, represents a significant threat to the country’s economic recovery, the International Monetary Fund says. Sounding a note of alarm, the Washington-based IMF used its latest review of Canada’s economy to highlight the risks that come with Canadians’ record levels of mortgage debt, credit-card debt, lines of credit and other liabilities. Statistics Canada said last week that the ratio of household debt to disposable income reached 148.1 per cent in the third quarter.

Monday, December 20, 2010

U.S Cities Bankrupt

Debt Crisis Threatens to Bring Down US Cities
More than 100 American cities could go bust next year as the debt crisis that has taken down banks and countries threatens next to spark a municipal meltdown, a leading analyst has warned. Meredith Whitney, the US research analyst who correctly predicted the global credit crunch, described local and state debt as the biggest problem facing the US economy, and one that could derail its recovery."Next to housing this is the single most important issue in the US and certainly the biggest threat to the US economy," Whitney told the CBS 60 Minutes programme on Sunday night.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Shadow War Against Iran

Stuxnet Virus Set Back Iran
Top German computer consultant tells 'Post' virus was as effective as military strike, a huge success; expert speculates IDF creator of virus. The Stuxnet virus, which has attacked Iran’s nuclear facilities and which Israel is suspected of creating, has set back the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program by two years, a top German computer consultant who was one of the first experts to analyze the program’s code told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday. “It will take two years for Iran to get back on track,” Langer said in a telephone interview from his office in Hamburg, Germany. “This was nearly as effective as a military strike, but even better since there are no fatalities and no full-blown war. From a military perspective, this was a huge success.”

Iranian Nuclear Scientist Assassinated
Iran's phantom enemies unexpectedly attacked the country on November 29. Two cars exploded in Teheran almost simultaneously. Iranian nuclear physicist Majid Shahriari was killed in the explosions. Another nuclear physicist, Fereidoun Abbasi, was seriously injured.The two scientists worked at the Shahid Behesti University. Professor Shahriari played a key role in the implementation of Iran's nuclear programs. Shahriari chaired the department for nuclear engineering and was involved in the works to develop nuclear reactors of new generation.

Shadow War
The covert operations that target suddenly came to light with explosive violence and stunning implications for the future of warfare on Nov. 29.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Canadian Debt to Income Surpass Americans

Canadians' debt-to-income ratio now higher than Americans
Canadians’ debt-to-income ratio is now higher than Americans’ for the first time in a dozen years, leaving policy makers with a dilemma: Rein in spending and risk hampering the recovery, or do nothing and risk a cascading financial failure....The ratio of household debt-to-disposable income reached the highest on record in the third quarter, at 148.1 per cent, Statistics Canada said Monday, a 6.7 per cent rise in Canadian household obligations from a year ago. The ratio tops the 147.2-per-cent ratio in the United States and comes as incomes fell 1.5 per cent during the same three-month period.

It’s time for Ottawa to crack the whip on borrowers
It’s time for an intervention. Canadians are unable to shake their enslavement to debt, and our banks are unable to stop themselves from supplying the goods. Warnings to stop living beyond our means from mom and dad, in the form of Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney, aren’t making much of an impression.

Analysts fret over housing, want to hear from Carney
The Scotia Capital economists noted that the home ownership rate in Canada is at a record high of about 70 per cent - that's a bit more than the peak in the United States. Home prices are also at record levels and the market is overvalued, while the debt-to-income ratio sits at 145 per cent, which is "not terribly lower than a properly defined U.S. comparison." The ratio of debt to assets, meanwhile, is the second-highest in the G7.

Ottawa, banks discuss measures to rein in Canadians’ personal debt
Ottawa is talking to the banks about putting new measures to curb the rise in consumer debt into the next federal budget. Deputy finance minister Michael Horgan has broached the topic in prebudget consultations with executives from Bay Street firms, sources say. Several bankers have told him that they would support further federal moves to cool the mortgage market, including cutting the maximum term of mortgages or increasing the minimum down payment.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Carney Warns Canadians About Debt

Global risks rising: Bank of Canada
The Bank of Canada warned Thursday that the risk of another global economic shock is rising and Canadians may not be prepared for it.The recovery in Canada and globally is slowing, the central bank said in the December issue of its Financial System Review. It said the main risk is the growing seriousness of Europe's government debt crisis. Another threat is the unwillingness of countries to take action to reduce imbalances in exports and imports between countries.Canadians won't be spared another shock, the bank said, because during the current period of tough economic times, they have continued to take on debt.Household debt has risen to 145 per cent of disposable income as Canadians have taken advantage of super-low interest rates to purchase homes and other consumer items on credit.

Canadian Bankers Sound Alarm

Bankers Sound Alarm On Loans
Some of Canada’s top bank executives are growing increasingly uncomfortable with the level of debt Canadians are taking on through long-amortization mortgages. “I think all of us are looking at [what to do],” said Ed Clark, chief executive of Toronto-Dominion Bank, adding the current situation “is not a good thing.” Speaking in an interview, Mr. Clark said TD has already acted to slow lending but it’s now up to the federal government to take steps such as reducing maximum amortization periods on home loans to 25 years from 35 years or lowering loan-to-value ratios. “These are exactly the things that government should be doing and there’s been a lot of discussion,” he said.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Jarislowsky: Canadas Lurking Disaster...

Stephen Jarislowsky
In Canada the hardship still lies ahead. Our houses are still 20 to 30 per cent above normal levels, salaries are shrinking and a lot of Canadians are heavily indebted. There’s a lurking disaster, to the extent that you have reduction of purchasing power and we are just not saving hardly anything as a nation. I think things are going to get a hell of a lot worse. We still have a trade deficit today despite the fact that commodity prices are incredibly high. I hope I’m wrong but I think Canada is on the edge of a lot of trouble.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Fed Made $9 Trillion In Loans

Fed Made $9 Trillion In Loans
The Federal Reserve made $9 trillion in overnight loans to major banks and Wall Street firms during the financial crisis, according to newly revealed data released Wednesday. The loans were made through a special loan program set up by the Fed in the wake of the Bear Stearns collapse in March 2008 to keep the nation's bond markets trading normally. The amount of cash being pumped out to the financial giants was not previously disclosed. All the loans were backed by collateral and all were paid back with a very low interest rate to the Fed -- an annual rate of between 0.5% to 3.5%...."The $700 billion Wall Street bailout turned out to be pocket change compared to trillions and trillions of dollars in near zero interest loans and other financial arrangements that the Federal Reserve doled out to every major financial institution," Sanders said.