About My Portfolio
These articles showcase business and market research I’ve authored, whether it’s covering company news, documenting industry disruptors, or identifying new trends and exploring their impact on the world around us.
My work is about bringing down the high knowledge barrier associated with complex topics and making them accessible to a wider audience of readers.
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Global market storm gathers force as virtually no asset class is spared
September 23, 2022
Global markets came under more pressure Friday as the mood over the economic outlook around the world turned sour. Equities, currencies, other asset classes – virtually nothing has been spared in the economic cyclone that has been mounting over the past few weeks. Here’s what economists and analysts have their eyes on during this trading day:
Inflation tops list of concerns for Canadian businesses in third quarter: survey
September 22, 2022
A majority of Canadian companies put inflation on the top of their list of concerns for the remainder of the year, signalling the country’s year-long struggle with inflation is putting a strain on business owners.
The Canadian Survey on Business Conditions, a quarterly poll of some 17,000 businesses conducted by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and Statistics Canada, found that 60 per cent of respondents considered high inflation to be the biggest near-term challenge – the highest level of concern recorded since the survey began in the Spring of 2020.
Inflation cools more than expected in Canada
September 20, 2022
Canada’s headline inflation rate cooled for the second month in a row in August, running at an annualized pace of 7.0 per cent, lower than economist expectations of 7.3 per cent and down from July’s reading of 7.6 per cent.
The decline in the consumer price index was the largest since early in the COVID-19 pandemic, Statistics Canada said Tuesday.
The drop largely stemmed from lower gasoline prices, which fell 9.6 per cent from the month before, the largest monthly decline since April 2020. Gasoline prices fell the furthest in Saskatchewan and Alberta. The price of gasoline, however, remains 22.1 per cent higher than last year.
Inflation has likely slowed, but economists warn we’re not out of the woods yet
September 19, 2022
Economists at Canada’s biggest banks believe the country’s inflation rate cooled for the second month in a row in August, with consensus expectations from Bloomberg surveys for Sept. 20’s CPI announcement running at 7.2 per cent, down from the 7.6 per cent annualized pace reported in July.
The anticipated decline comes as global supply chain disruptions are beginning to ease and lower commodity prices are working to cool the consumer price index, the economy’s main gauge on the growth of the cost of goods. Those easing pressures have led the Royal Bank of Canada’s economics team to conclude that the recent burst of inflation likely topped out at 8.1 per cent in June.
The Bank of Canada is losing money for the first time ever on rising rates
September 16, 2022
The Bank of Canada’s historic fight against deflation during the COVID recession, and now the startling inflationary surge that has come in the recovery’s wake, will likely bring to an end the central bank’s untarnished streak of profitability.
“We expect the bank’s net interest income to be negative when our third-quarter results are published on Nov. 29,” the central bank said in a statement that was initially provided to the Toronto Star. “The bank’s interest expense is growing because of increases in the interest rate that we pay on deposits.”
U.S. inflation could push Bank of Canada to move policy rate higher than 4%
September 14, 2022
If the U.S. economy sneezes, Canada could catch a cold. That’s what economists are wary of as they look over this week’s U.S. consumer price index readings and consider how they might push the Bank of Canada to get tougher in its fight against inflation.
While the growth of U.S. CPI slowed in August to an annualized pace of 8.3 per cent, down from 8.5 per cent in July, price pressures still clocked in hotter than economist expectations of 8.1 per cent. The release sent stocks plunging the most since 2020 and have prompted economists on both sides of the border to revise their rate-hike expectations for the rest of the year, with some predicting interest rates will move north of the four per cent mark.
The Merge is upon us: Here’s what you need to know about the major Ethereum network upgrade
September 14, 2022
This week, the Ethereum blockchain is expected to finally undergo a long-awaited upgrade known as “The Merge.” The transition, which will shift the network to a proof-of-stake system from the current proof-of-work method, is expected to cut down on costs and energy use and make it possible to grow the ecosystem more quickly. Stephanie Hughes breaks down the details of the upgrade, who it helps and who it hurts.
Wages key to pace of Bank of Canada’s remaining rate hikes
September 12, 2022
Wages appear set to determine the pace at which the Bank of Canada raises interest rates over the rest of the year.
Bank of Canada senior deputy governor Carolyn Rogers said last week that the central bank is wary of a wage-price spiral, as workers take advantage of a record level of job vacancies to insist on salary increases that match this year’s spike in the cost of living. That could cause inflation to become entrenched, as employers likely would seek to recoup higher labour costs by charging more for goods and services.
Bank of Canada’s Carolyn Rogers says inflation won’t come down overnight
September 08, 2022
If Canadians were expecting a quick fix to decades-high inflation, they may be disappointed. Bank of Canada senior deputy governor Carolyn Rogers told Canadians that interest rate hikes take time to work their way through the economy.
In a Sept. 8 speech before Calgary Economic Development, Rogers said the policy rate decisions the central bank is making right now could take up to two years to have their full effect on inflation.
Bank of Canada raises rate 75 bps and signals more hikes to come
September 07, 2022
The Bank of Canada delivered another supersized hike on Wednesday, raising the policy interest rate by 75 basis points to 3.25 per cent, the highest since the global financial crisis.
The bank also signalled it was continuing its quantitative tightening policy and that more rate hikes would follow in an ongoing effort to stamp out decades-high inflation.
Three key things to watch in the Bank of Canada’s September rate decision
September 06, 2022
The Bank of Canada has embarked on a series of supersized rate hikes this year in a bid to tame inflation, but its upcoming policy rate decision on Sept. 7 comes as the economic picture has started to shift: inflation dipped below the eight per cent mark to an annualized pace of 7.6 per cent in July, while the country’s economic growth lost its momentum in the second quarter. Given these developments, here are some of the key questions on the minds of economists and market analysts ahead of this week’s decision.
BMO misses estimates as volatile markets weigh on wealth management, capital markets business
August 30, 2022
The Bank of Montreal posted lower net income for the third quarter on Tuesday, as volatile markets hurt its wealth management and capital markets segments and an acquisition-related charge outweighed solid growth in its core banking operations.
BMO’s net income slipped 40 per cent to $1.37 billion for the three months ending July 31, with the bulk of the decline attributed to an after-tax loss of $694 million tied to its $16.3-billion deal to acquire U.S.-based Bank of the West. The loss stemmed from interest rate changes between the deal’s announcement to its closing.
Banks continuing to put faith in Canadian consumers, despite growing economic headwinds
August 30, 2022
The Canadian consumer remains well positioned to take on an economic downturn even though inflation is running at multi-decade highs and some surveys suggest more people are feeling the financial pinch.
A common theme among Canada’s banking executive teams during third-quarter results announced last week was their confidence in the resilience of consumers, who are still enjoying larger-than-normal savings buffers and low impaired loan rates. Economic factors, including a strong job market, are also driving optimism.
Posthaste: Bank of Canada could put rate hikes on pause after September, CIBC says
August 30, 2022
Could the upcoming Bank of Canada interest rate decision in September be the last bump up in the central bank’s current rate hiking cycle? At least one analyst at the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce seems to think so.
CIBC’s managing director and head of fixed income, Ian Pollick, said in an Aug. 22 note his team suspects a “narrative shift is coming” and forecasts the bank will put a pause on its rate hiking cycle after hiking 75 basis points on Sept. 7. This would bring the policy rate up to 3.25 per cent, matching the bank’s previous guidance that the benchmark rate could move above neutral at between two to three per cent — a reading that would neither help nor hinder economic growth.
TD profit beats analyst expectations amid gains from higher interest rates
August 25, 2022
Toronto-Dominion Bank’s net income slipped about nine per cent to $3.21 billion in the third quarter from last year on rising costs and larger stockpiles of cash being set aside for sour loans.
The bank’s adjusted earnings came to $2.09 per share, beating average analyst expectations of $2.04 per share.
CIBC tops expectations even as profit gets weighed down by higher credit loss provisions
August 25, 2022
Canadian Imperial Bank of Canada’s net income slipped four per cent year over year to $1.67 billion in the third quarter, joining other banks reporting sliding profits caused largely by larger provisions for credit losses.
On an adjusted basis, the bank’s earnings were $1.85 per share in the three months ending July 31. Analysts on average were expecting $1.82 per share.
National Bank profit dips slightly from a year ago
August 24, 2022
The National Bank of Canada’s net income slipped two per cent year over year to $826 million in its third quarter as the bank set aside more cash for bad loans on a gloomier economic outlook.
National Bank’s adjusted diluted earnings reached $2.35 per share in the three months ending July 31. Analysts on average had been expecting $2.34 per share. Growth across all the bank’s main business lines blunted the impact of higher provisions for credit losses.
RBC profits slip on market volatility, shored-up loan loss provisions
August 24, 2022
The Royal Bank of Canada’s net income fell to $3.58 billion in the third quarter amid lower earnings in its capital markets and banking segments, and the bank also set more money aside for bad loans as the economic outlook begins to darken.
Adjusted earnings slipped to $2.55 per share in the three months ending July 31 compared to average analyst expectations of $2.67 per share.
Scotiabank profits rise, but credit loss provision gets boost on ‘less favourable’ economic outlook
August 23, 2022
Bank of Nova Scotia’s net income jumped from last year to $2.59 billion in the third quarter, largely fuelled by growth in its international and Canadian banking segments, while it shored up provisions for credit losses at the same time.
Adjusted earnings rose four per cent year over year to $2.10 per share in the three months ending July 31 — analysts had been expecting $2.11 per share — but it slipped quarter over quarter from the $2.76 billion recorded in the three months ending April 30.
Rising recession risks could make Canadian bank executives change their upbeat tune
August 22, 2022
Canada’s biggest banks have maintained a relatively upbeat view of the state of the economy despite growing concerns that rising interest rates may trigger a recession. But as they prepare to report third quarter results this week, many bank watchers are wondering if they are about to change their tune.
Analysts at the Royal Bank of Canada raised the question in their Aug. 15 preview note titled “Will the banks deny a recession is coming?”
BMO looks to tap newcomer talent pool with refugee, immigrant recruitment program
August 18, 2022
The Bank of Montreal has another tactic in the financial sector’s war for talent: recruiting refugees.
BMO Financial Group launched its BMO Newcomer Talent Program last week, seeking to recruit displaced people, immigrants and refugees to bank roles in Canada and the U.S. The campaign comes at a time when crises across the globe have more refugees resettling in North America and as the banking industry grapples with a talent shortage.
To HODL or not to HODL? Canada’s bitcoin miners tinker with their strategies amid crypto downturn
August 18, 2022
Canada’s major crypto miners are shaking up their strategies but maintaining a focus on growth as they attempt to cope with a steep downturn in crypto prices that has led to significant quarterly losses as they revalue their balance-sheet holdings.
Hut 8 Mining Corp. and Bitfarms Ltd. posted wider net losses of $88.1 million and $142 million respectively for the three-month period ending June 30, even as both reported marginally higher revenues. Those were much steeper than the $20.4 million and $3.7 million the companies lost in the same period a year ago.
‘Our job is not done yet’: Tiff Macklem says Bank of Canada has more to do to tame inflation
August 16, 2022
Bank of Canada governor Tiff Macklem called evidence that inflation decelerated in July a “relief,” but stopped well short of declaring victory in his year-long struggle with elevated cost pressures.
Macklem was responding to the latest release of Statistics Canada’s consumer price index, which increased 7.6 per cent in July from a year earlier, compared with 8.1 per cent the previous month, representing the first year-over-year decrease since June 2021.
Cooler inflation won’t sway Bank of Canada from another jumbo hike in September, economists say
August 16, 2022
From hopeful remarks of peaking price pressures to warnings of becoming too complacent, Bay Street economists are reacting to the July inflation readings, which clocked in at a relatively cooler pace of 7.6 per cent compared to 8.1 per cent in June, according to Statistics Canada. The cool-off has largely been characterized as a gasoline story, seeing the pace of prices increase 35.6 per cent in July compared to the hotter pace of 54.6 per cent in June.
With core measures reaching a record 5.3 per cent in July and the agency warning that inflation remains broad-based, economists and business leaders say that the Bank of Canada’s mission to bring inflation back down to a two-per-cent reading is far from over. Here’s what the street had to say.
It’s back to basics in cryptoland, but the party is far from over
August 12, 2022
Ethan Buchman wants crypto to get back to basics. You might not guess it from his nebular garb, replete with galactic icons and smoking unicorns, but the co-founder of the blockchain ecosystem Cosmos — who is moments away from delivering a Kendall Roy-esque rap about the virtues of crypto sovereignty (“Crypto please, you better bow down on both knees”) — thinks the sector’s excesses were due to for a shakeout.
“There’s a lot of over-exuberance and optimism and hyper-financialization — and it’s nice to kind of clear a lot of that out and be able to focus again on, really, what we’re here to build and we’re trying to address: fundamental issues in the monetary and financial system,” Buchman said in an interview, before taking the stage at the Blockchain Futurist Conference in Toronto this week.
Trouble in ‘mortgage land’ as higher borrowing rates weigh and refinancings dry up
August 08, 2022
Canada’s housing market has been on a roll for years, but the Bank of Canada’s aggressive path of interest rate hikes and the possibility of a recession are ushering in a new economic reality that is beginning to weigh on mortgage demand, industry watchers say.
David Larock, a mortgage broker and president of Toronto-based Integrated Mortgage Planners Inc., said he is definitely seeing a drop-off in business in light of the new conditions, but said he’s seeing different effects when it comes to refinances versus new purchases.
Montreal sees ‘shift in market dynamics’ as home sales and prices slip
August 04, 2022
Montreal’s real estate market saw its slowdown intensify in July, joining other Canadian housing markets showing weakness in the latest data as interest rate hikes weigh on demand.
The median price of a single-family home in Montreal in July was $550,000, down $30,000 from the April peak, according to data from the Quebec Professional Association of Real Estate Brokers. Prices, however, are still 10 per cent higher than last year at this time.
Condominiums, often seen as a more affordable housing market entry point, saw their first price drop this year to a median of $391,500, though that is still nine per cent higher than last year.
Toronto home prices slip further as sales plunge 47% from last year
August 04, 2022
Home prices and sales in Canada’s most populous city continued to slide as economic uncertainty and rising rates put more would-be homebuyers on the sidelines.
Toronto home prices fell just over six per cent in July from a month earlier, hitting an average of $1.074 million, according to data from the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board. Despite the month-over-month decline, the city’s home prices managed to eke out a one per cent increase from July 2021.
The number of homes exchanging hands tumbled 47 per cent year-over-year in July and 24 per cent from a month earlier, seeing 4,912 units sold.
Vancouver home sales tumble, Calgary’s slide as rising rates and uncertainty take toll
August 03, 2022
The aggressive path of interest rate hikes continues to take a toll on Canada’s housing markets with home sales and prices slumping in July.
Vancouver and Calgary both saw declines in home sales as more buyers move to the sidelines and await a better opportunity to jump back into the market. This comes as the Bank of Canada hikes interest rates to combat inflation, including a supersized full percentage rate hike in July.
If U.S. recession is at hand, history suggests Canada won’t be far behind
July 28, 2022
U.S. GDP has now contracted for two consecutive quarters suggesting the American economy is in or near recession and dimming the prospects for a soft landing in Canada.
U.S. gross domestic product shrank 0.9 per cent year-over-year in the second quarter, following a 1.6 per cent decline in the first quarter, according to data released Thursday. Two straight quarters of decline are the rule of thumb for determining a recession, though an official ruling won’t be made for several months.
‘Calm before the storm’: Canadian banks expected to start shoring up reserves as consumer credit risks build
July 28, 2022
Canada’s big banks may need to start shoring up their loan-loss provisions as the economic cycle turns and they eye growing consumer credit risks, according to a new report from Toronto-based Veritas Investment Research.
“Given cycle highs in household leverage and the fastest pace of interest rate increases in over twenty years, we expect provisions for credit losses (PCLs) in the upcoming cycle to match or potentially exceed PCLs during the global financial crisis (GFC),” Veritas investment analyst Nigel D’Souza wrote in a July 26 note to clients.
‘Our credibility is being tested:’ Tiff Macklem says path to soft landing is narrowing
July 21, 2022
Bank of Canada governor Tiff Macklem acknowledged the central bank’s credibility has been shaken as inflation hits multi-decade highs and the institution faces criticism for not moving on rates sooner.
“Our credibility is being tested, and that was an important reason why we took an unusually large step last week to send a clear message to Canadians they can be assured that we’re going to control inflation,” Macklem told CTV News’s Evan Solomon on Wednesday following the June inflation figures.
Peak prices? ‘Not just yet’ — What experts say about our hot inflation
July 20, 2022
The Canadian economy saw the pace of inflation hit 8.1 per cent year over year in June, the fastest since January 1983. Despite the latest reading coming up short of economists’ expectations of 8.4 per cent, the consumer price index breaching eight per cent will add more pressure on the Bank of Canada to deliver another supersized rate hike in September.
Gasoline prices, up 54.6 per cent since June 2021, largely added fuel to the inflation fire, according to Statistics Canada. Oil prices peaked in the first week of June, though Canadians still saw a 6.2 per cent month-over-month increase in prices at the pump. Car costs also rose 8.2 per cent as demand outpaced supply, particularly with a global semiconductor shortage.
Carolyn Wilkins to lead review of Reserve Bank of Australia after ‘embarrassing’ forecast
July 20, 2022
Australia’s government has tapped former Bank of Canada senior deputy governor Carolyn Wilkins to lead a review of the Reserve Bank of Australia after the central bank faced criticism for its handling of inflation.
Wilkins, who now serves as an external member of the Financial Policy Committee at the Bank of England, joins a team of economists that will undertake the first wide-ranging review of Australian monetary policy since the 1990s.
Inflation expected to top 8%, heralding another supersized rate hike
July 19, 2022
Canada’s main gauge of inflation likely topped eight per cent in June, complicating Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem’s efforts to convince businesses and households that price pressures will eventually ease.
Statistics Canada is scheduled to update its consumer price index on Wednesday morning. The monthly reports have become sources of alarm, as the year-over-year change has exceeded three per cent — the upper limit of the Bank of Canada’s comfort zone — for more than a year.
Home prices, sales slide in June as rising rates put more buyers on sidelines
July 15, 2022
Toronto real-estate agent Harry Sarvaiya was ready for higher interest rates, but not like this.
“I think the intention was shock,” Sarvaiya said a couple of days after the Bank of Canada raised the benchmark a full percentage point, the biggest increase since 1998. “In real estate, people didn’t expect it.”
Housing is probably the industry most sensitive to interest rates. That’s helpful when the economy is in trouble. The central bank can stoke demand quickly by dropping interest rates in the knowledge the Canadians will rush to buy houses — and then renovate them and fill them with big-ticket items such as appliances and furniture. Service providers such as banks, brokers, contractors, and movers all benefit.
What the Bank of Canada’s full percentage point hike means for the housing market and your mortgage
July 13, 2022
The Bank of Canada’s surprise move to hike its policy rate by a full percentage point — with no indication it will stop there — will add to the financial squeeze faced by indebted homeowners and likely push more buyers to the sidelines of already cooling real estate sector, market watchers said Wednesday.
The move, which sent a statement about the central bank’s resolve in combatting inflation, brought the policy rate to 2.5 per cent and came in higher than the 75-basis point hike most had expected.
Industry experts expressed shock at the size of the move.
CMHC expects 5% decline in home prices by 2023 if interest rates spike
July 12, 2022
A surge in interest rates could drag national home values down by five per cent by the middle of 2023, but would not lead to a collapse in prices, according to a new report from Canada’s housing agency.
The report, authored by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. chief economist Bob Dugan, forecasts scenarios for aggressive and moderate rate-hike paths, in each case projecting that a broader economic slowdown and raging inflation will weigh on prices and slow the pace of home construction.
Reverse mortgage market has plenty of room to grow, but risks abound
July 11, 2022
Canada’s reverse mortgage market has plenty of room to grow, but lenders should be wary of risks that are tied to its unique structure — such as longevity risk and appraisal risk — according to an analysis released this week by credit rating agency DBRS Morningstar.
In a July 11 report, analysts at the ratings agency noted that the penetration of the Canadian reverse mortgage market is lagging behind other developed economies (most notably the United Kingdom and Australia) with less than 0.5 per cent of more than six million senior households holding a reverse mortgage.
FP Dealmakers: Global economic uncertainty slams brakes on pandemic dealmaking boom
July 06, 2022
After two blockbuster years of pandemic fuelled activity including a record-breaking 2021, Canada’s dealmakers saw the action slow considerably in the first half of 2022, with deal counts dropping across the board.
Peter Miller, managing director at BMO Capital Markets and a veteran of the Canadian deal-making scene, said companies were spooked by a number of factors, including central bank dynamics, supply constraints and the potential for an overall economic downturn. The wildcard that proved to be the biggest surprise, however, was Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
‘Toronto ecosystem is on fire’: Canadian tech shows resilience as storm clouds gather
June 27, 2022
If tech investors and start-up entrepreneurs were nervous about the recent market volatility, their concern was not immediately obvious during the sold-out Collision conference in Toronto last week.
Some 35,000 people from 130 countries flocked to Canada’s biggest city for the first live edition of the popular gathering of the technology industry’s jet set since the pandemic forced the event online in 2020. This year’s crowd was nearly 40 per cent bigger than the one that gathered in 2019, despite the destruction of hundreds of billions of dollars in paper wealth that has come with the collapse of tech stocks and crypto assets this year.
High inflation ‘is keeping us up at night,’ says Bank of Canada senior deputy governor
June 22, 2022
The Bank of Canada’s senior deputy governor said inflation is keeping the central bankers “up at night” and did not rule out a three-quarter point hike after data revealed CPI has hit a near 40-year high.
Carolyn Rogers reacted to the 7.7 per cent gain in the inflation rate hours after Statistics Canada released the data on Wednesday, calling it an “unwelcome number,” but not “an entirely unexpected number” at a Globe and Mail event.
Freeland says Ottawa ‘prepared to do more’ if inflation stays hot
June 20, 2022
Finance Minister Chyrstia Freeland said the federal government is prepared to take additional steps to offset the rising cost of living if inflation continues to accelerate.
“We are not closing any door,” Freeland told reporters in Toronto on June 20.
For now, however, the finance minister said she thinks she’s done enough. Last week, Freeland used her first speech specifically on the economy in months to highlight the $8.9 billion Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government intends to spend over the next couple of years on affordability measures.
FTX Exchange plans launch in Canada through Bitvo acquisition
July 17, 2022
Cryptocurrency giant FTX Exchange will be making its Canadian market debut after announcing it is acquiring Calgary-based Bitvo Inc.
In a statement, Bahamas-based FTX said the move is part of a global push in which it is targeting regulated companies in various jurisdictions. Bitvo became the first Alberta-based crypto asset trading platform to register as a restricted dealer in April 2022 and is also registered with the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada as a money services business.
Chrystia Freeland lays out $8.9 billion affordability plan to tackle inflation
June 16, 2022
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland outlined the federal government’s $8.9 billion “Affordability Plan” aimed at helping Canadians shoulder the rising costs of living as inflation reaches multi-decade highs.
“Because of investments we have already made in the last two federal budgets, a new set of measures is coming into force right now to help the Canadians who need it most,” Freeland said during a keynote speech before the Empire Club of Canada on June 16. “This is $8.9 billion in new support for Canadians this year. This is our Affordability Plan.”
A lot must go right to achieve soft economic landing, David Dodge says
June 16, 2022
From the Russian invasion of Ukraine, to supply chain breakdowns and rampant inflation, policymakers are staring down an unprecedented mix of economic challenges — and they’re going to need a few things to break their way in order manage through it with as little pain as possible.
That’s one of the takeaways from the Spring 2022 Economic Outlook produced by Canadian law firm Bennett Jones, which examined several potential scenarios and the conditions it would take for each to play out.
Home sales plummet 22% as housing market continues to cool
June 15, 2022
Home sales and prices fell again in May, continuing a downward streak as housing markets across the country react to rising interest rates.
The nationwide average, non-seasonally adjusted price of a home clocked in at $711,000 for the month, slipping nearly five per cent from April, according to data from the Canadian Real Estate Association. However, prices managed to eke out a gain of just over three per cent from the same month last year.
WonderFi to become first Canadian-regulated crypto exchange listed on TSX
June 15, 2022
Vancouver-based WonderFi Technologies Inc. will soon become the first Canadian-regulated cryptocurrency marketplace and registered trading platform to list its shares on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
WonderFi, which owns Bitbuy Technologies Inc. and is backed by Shark Tank star Kevin O’Leary, will list with the ticker TSX:WNDR on June 22. O’Leary said he is seeing more investors demand diversification and options to invest within cryptocurrency assets.
B.C. home sales drop 35% as rising mortgage rates bite
June 13, 2022
Higher borrowing costs are continuing to weigh on British Columbia’s housing market as sales and home values slid in May over the previous month.
While the province’s average home price climbed more than nine per cent year-over-year to just over $1 million according to data from the British Columbia Real Estate Association, it was down six per cent from the $1.065 million recorded in April.
Ottawa cancels ultra-long bond sale as fiscal balance sheet improves
June 10, 2022
The Government of Canada has cancelled its ultra-long bond issue as it believes its borrowing needs are declining while its balance sheet improves on rallying commodities and higher inflation.
The government on Thursday said the bond, which was issued in 2014 as a 50-year note set to mature Dec. 1, 2064, would have its announced auction on June 16 cancelled, catching some fixed-income analysts by surprise.
Higher inflation, global tensions complicating financial system risks: Bank of Canada
June 09, 2022
The Bank of Canada warned that threats to the financial system have grown more complicated in recent months as the country grapples with tightening monetary policy, rampant global inflation, and geopolitical tensions. However, the biggest vulnerability remains higher household indebtedness, the central bank highlighted in its latest Financial System Review.
Policymakers said they are facing a “delicate balancing act,” as surging inflation will force them to raise interest rates over the months ahead, even though Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has rocked global stability and the pandemic continues to hinder economic growth.
Addition of Sobeys’ parent the latest leap in evolution of Scene+ loyalty program
June 08, 2022
The Scene+ loyalty program will soon be adding groceries to its roster of point-collecting services after Empire Co. Ltd. was brought in to join the Bank of Nova Scotia and Cineplex Inc. as a third co-owner, the three companies announced Tuesday.
Empire will be rolling out the Scene+ program across banner stores including Sobeys, IGA, FreshCo, Safeway, among others beginning in Atlantic Canada in August. The company anticipates the roll-out will be complete by early 2023.
Canada risks housing-related recession if interest rate hikes get too aggressive
June 07, 2022
Canada could be at risk of a recession induced by a rapidly correcting housing market if the Bank of Canada gets too aggressive with its rate hikes, according to a report from an economist at Capital Economics.
In a Tuesday update, senior Canada economist Stephen Brown noted the central bank seemed unfazed by a double-digit drop in home sales in May — the second consecutive such monthly drop — and that it was adopting an increasingly hawkish tone on inflation.
Transition to open banking will be bumpy but its worth it, veteran of U.K. sector says
June 07, 2022
If Canadians expect the financial world to change overnight with the dawn of open banking, they are going to be disappointed.
That was one of the lessons Kristo Käärmann, founder and chief executive officer of London-based payments company Wise, learned during the U.K. adoption of the protocol, which aims to enable third-party financial service providers to compete more directly with big banks.
Montreal home prices, sales slip in market ‘turning point’ in May
June 03, 2022
Montreal home sales and prices slipped in May, in what local real estate brokers call a “turning point,” as rapidly rising interest rates and an increase in new active listings shifted market conditions.
The median price of a single-family home in Montreal edged down less than one per cent month over month to $576,000 in May, according to data from the Quebec Professional Association of Real Estate Brokers. It’s the first time prices have fallen for two consecutive months since June 2021. However, the average home price is still up 16 per cent from May of last year.
Toronto home prices drop for third straight month as interest rates rise
June 03, 2022
Toronto’s housing market continued to buckle in May under the weight of rising interest rates as home prices and sales slid further in Canada’s most populous city.
The average price of a home sold in Toronto during May clocked in at $1.21 million, according to data from the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TREBB). The price is up a little more than nine per cent from a year earlier, but it slid about three per cent from $1.25 million in April. It’s the third straight month of price decreases.
Calgary, Vancouver housing markets extend losses as rate hikes put pressure on real estate
June 02, 2022
Real estate markets in both Calgary and Vancouver are showing signs of continued slowing as the Bank of Canada’s rate hikes appear to be biting into mortgage demand.
After setting an all-time record high of home sales in March, Calgary’s market is beginning to turn as home sales slipped for the second month in a row, falling nearly 10 per cent month-over-month to 3,071 in May, according to data from the Calgary Real Estate Board. However, the board added that this still represented a gain of six per cent since the same time last year and a record high for April.
CMHC rewrites rules of homebuyer shared-equity program to limit potential losses and gains
June 02, 2022
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. adjusted its First-Time Home Buyer Incentive program on Wednesday, placing caps of eight per cent per year on both the upside and downside returns it would received on its share in homes participating in the program.
“Now, homeowners will pay back up to a maximum gain of 8 per cent per annum (not compounded) on the Incentive amount from the date of advance to the time of repayment,” the program’s information page said. “The Government of Canada will also limit its share in the depreciation of a home at the time of repayment … to a maximum loss of 8 per cent per annum (not compounded).”
Cloudier economic outlook isn’t denting the confidence of Canada’s big banks
May 27, 2022
Executives at Canada’s Big Five banks are acknowledging the economic outlook is becoming cloudier, but took steps during earnings calls this week to assuage any concerns about the financial sector’s ability to navigate those looming headwinds.
“There’s no doubt we’re all in a very fluid environment,” Victor Dodig, president and chief executive officer of Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, told a Thursday morning conference call after CIBC reported second-quarter results that missed expectations, in part due to the impact of the bank’s acquisition of a Costco credit-card portfolio.
National Bank hikes dividend after profit climbs 11%
May 27, 2022
National Bank of Canada is hiking its dividend after all of its business units drove profit higher, bringing the company’s reported net income to $893 million in the second-quarter.
The bank’s profit jumped 11 per cent from the same period last year in the three months ending April 30. The quarter’s earnings reached $2.55 per share, up 13 per cent from $2.25 per share reported in 2021.
CIBC hikes dividend despite Costco deal costs weighing on results
May 26, 2022
The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce is joining the dividend hike bandwagon, despite its adjusted net income in the second quarter falling about one per cent to $1.65 billion from last year, largely because of acquisition costs from the Canada Costco credit business and higher legal provisions.
CIBC reported adjusted earnings of $1.77 per share for the three months ending April 30, down from the $1.79 reported a year earlier. Bloomberg analysts had been expecting a profit of approximately $1.79 a share. Despite this, the company declared a dividend boost from $0.805 to $0.830 per share for the quarter ending July 31, payable on July 28.
RBC boosts dividend as earnings beat analyst expectations
May 26, 2022
The Royal Bank of Canada is the fourth bank to boost its dividend this week as the company’s net income reached $4.3 billion in its second quarter on strong growth in the personal and commercial banking segments, as well as the wealth management and insurance divisions.
RBC’s net income rose six per cent year-over-year, seeing adjusted diluted cash earnings of $2.99 per share in the three months ending April. Bloomberg analysts had been expecting a profit of $2.69 a share. The company added it would be raising its dividend seven per cent to $1.28 per share.
TD earnings beat estimates despite higher expenses
May 26, 2022
Toronto Dominion Bank had a mixed second quarter, seeing its adjusted net income slip two per cent to $3.7 billion from this time last year as rising costs partially offset stronger revenues.
On an adjusted basis, TD’s earnings came out to $2.02 per share in the three months ending April 30, compared with $2.04 reported in the second quarter last year. Bloomberg analysts had been expecting a profit of $1.93 a share.
Canadian crypto industry brushing off concerns about sector in wake of US$40B collapse of Luna token
May 25, 2022
Some of Canada’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges are brushing off concerns about the sector after a recent bout of volatility exacerbated by the dramatic collapse of the TerraUSD stablecoin and its related Luna token.
TerraUSD (also denoted as UST) is a stablecoin native to the Terra blockchain network that used an algorithm to peg its value to the U.S. dollar through Luna. But after Luna’s market cap rose to as much as US$40 billion, the peg began to break down this month, precipitating a run on the tokens, which lost 99.9 per cent of their value within a matter of days earlier in May. The trouble spilled over into the wider crypto market as well, with the values of Bitcoin and Ethereum both tumbling more than 17 per cent between May 7 and May 11.
Bank of Montreal raises dividend as profit climbs
May 25, 2022
The Bank of Montreal is hiking its dividend by more than four per cent after posting higher second-quarter earnings fuelled in part by North American loan growth.
The bank reported adjusted earnings of $3.23 a share in the three months ending April 30, up from $3.13 a share last year. Bloomberg analysts had been expecting a profit of $3.22 a share. The dividend hike of six cents brought the quarterly payout to $1.39.
Scotiabank hikes dividend as profit beats expectations
May 25, 2022
The Bank of Nova Scotia is raising its dividend after net income surged to $2.76 billion in the second quarter, driven in part by loan growth in its Canadian and international segments.
The net income figure amounted to a 12 per cent gain over the $2.47 billion reported in the same quarter last year and on an adjusted basis worked out to $2.18 per share for the three months ending April 30 was up from $1.90 last year. Bloomberg analysts had been expecting a profit of $1.97 a share.
Solid second quarter expected for big banks, but will it be the calm before the economic storm?
May 24, 2022
Canada’s biggest banks are expected to post strong results when they report second-quarter earnings this week, but for those watching the industry, the numbers aren’t nearly as important as what the banks see coming next.
That’s because a cooling housing market and rising interest rates needed to combat inflation are stoking concerns that the economic recovery is beginning to stall, even raising the prospect of a recession in some quarters.
CIBC cuts price targets for Canada’s big banks as macroeconomic picture becomes less certain
May 19, 2022
Rising interest rates are generally expected to work in the favour of Canada’s big banks, but one team of analysts is taking a cautious stance toward their share prices given the wider economic backdrop.
Analysts at Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce this week came out with across-the-board target price cuts for the big Canadian banks, arguing that the macroeconomic picture was becoming less certain, and could drag on results in 2023.
Canada’s average home price slides to $746,000, sales plummet amid rising rates
May 16, 2022
Home prices across Canada continue to slip under the weight of rising interest rates, with the nationwide average price of homes falling to $746,000 in April, down 6.3 per cent from March’s average of $796,000, according to data from the Canadian Real Estate Association.
While prices slipped from March to April, the association noted that the average price still remained up over seven per cent since the same month last year. The organization’s home price index remained somewhat flat with a benchmark price decline of 0.6 per cent month-over-month, which was the first monthly decline since April 2020, CREA noted. However, the price was still up 23.8 per cent year-over-year.
Home building picks up in April except in Toronto
May 16, 2022
The pace of new home construction started to reverse course in April, bucking a downtrend that has been in place for most of the year, according to data from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
Standalone housing starts grew eight per cent month-over-month to 267,330 units, the CMHC said, with the six-month, seasonally adjusted moving average also growing to 257,846 units, up from 253,226 units in March.
Klarna CEO on the Canadian expansion, open banking and taking on the financial services oligopoly
May 13, 2022
Swedish fintech leader Klarna Bank is planning to establish a product development and tech hub in Toronto as it looks to grow its ‘buy now, pay later’ model in the increasingly competitive North American market.
Klarna, which found fast success in Europe, grew from a business-school concept in 2005 to a multinational corporation challenging some of the continent’s established financial services giants, before expanding into the U.S. market in 2015.
Rising rates put B.C. housing ‘on a path to normalizing’ as prices and sales slide in April
May 12, 2022
Rising interest rates are putting British Columbia’s housing market on ice as prices and sales cooled from their pandemic highs in April.
The average price of a residential home in the province slid nearly three per cent month-over-month to $1.065 million last month, according to data from the British Columbia Real Estate Association. While the prices mark a sequential decline, the association noted that prices are still roughly 13 per cent ahead of last April’s reading of $943,765.
Reverse mortgages take off in Canada as more seniors look to ‘age in place’
May 12, 2022
More Canadian seniors have been tapping into their home equity for cash to fund their retirements over the course of the pandemic, giving an earnings boost to the lenders that offer reverse mortgages and other similar loans.
One of those, Equitable Bank Inc., reported a 262 per cent year-over-year surge in its reverse mortgage product in first-quarter 2022 earnings announced this week. Altogether, Equitable originated $304-million worth of the loans, up 23 per cent over the final quarter of 2021.
Equitable posts best earnings ever as mortgage business stays strong
May 11, 2022
Equitable Group Inc. will hike its quarterly dividend after recording its best quarter ever on the back of strong loan-origination growth, showing that the mortgage market slowdown has yet to bite into the challenger bank’s bottom line.
EQ Bank saw a 27 per cent boost in earnings to $87.9 million in the three months ending March 31, or diluted earnings of $2.51 per share. This came as the company’s conventional loans segment rose 35 per cent year over year to $22.5 billion.
Canadians are clinging to cash as a savings strategy during the pandemic: RBC
May 10, 2022
The pandemic has not spelled the death of cash as many suspected it would. In fact, demand for hard currencies as a savings vehicle has gone in the opposite direction as demand reached its highest level in 60 years.
Cash withdrawals surged at the onset of the pandemic as circulating notes increased twice as much as expected in 2020 and remained elevated in the following year, according to an April 14 Bank of Canada report.
TSX tanks more than 600 points as commodities join stock retreat
The S&P/TSX composite index plunged to a three-month low, as Canada’s main stock market got caught in the undertow of a global retreat from equities amid stubbornly high inflation.
Greg Newman, a portfolio manager and senior wealth adviser at Scotia Wealth, said investors are currently trying to figure out two things: the appropriate trading multiple for stocks, given interest rates are rising faster than expected; and whether the Bank of Canada could overshoot a neutral setting for borrowing costs, potentially causing a recession.
‘That’s bull****’: David Dodge fires back at Poilievre’s criticism of the Bank of Canada
May 09, 2022
Bank of Canada governor Tiff Macklem declined to comment on Pierre Poilievre’s gibe last month that the central bank was “financially illiterate.” David Dodge, one of Macklem’s predecessors, felt no such compulsion to take the high road in an interview over the weekend, firing back at the Conservative leadership candidate with an expletive on Sunday morning television.
“That’s bullshit,” Dodge said in a pre-recorded interview that aired during CTV’s Question Period on May 8. “I’m very insulted by that,” he continued. The Bank of Canada “understands what’s going on, they made a judgment call, which I think was 100 per cent right.”
What the death of the penny teaches us about the future of money
May 06, 2022
Take one, leave one: the penny had been a regular part of Canadian cash for well over a century, sitting at the bottom of wallets, gracing tip jars, and being fished out of pockets to support local charities.
That was until the federal government decided to take the penny out of circulation in the 2012 federal budget, following a finance committee study that deemed the coin too expensive to produce and no longer necessary. The late finance minister Jim Flaherty pressed the last penny on May 4 of that year, marking the end of an era.
Bank of Canada’s Carolyn Rogers says supply is the key to solving housing problem
May 05, 2022
The Bank of Canada’s Carolyn Rogers, who has spent much of her career as a regulator and policymaker trying to keep the country’s housing boom from becoming a bust, said the only thing that will moderate prices is more houses.
“We have to fix the supply problem,” Rogers said this week in an interview, her first since replacing Carolyn Wilkins as governor Tiff Macklem’s No. 2 in December. “We keep trying these different things to dampen demand and Canadians still want houses. We have immigration coming in, (and) we have a strong economy.”
Home Capital earnings take hit, CEO points to mortgage demand headwinds
May 04, 2022
Home Capital Group Inc.’s bottom line took a hit in the first quarter due to rising deposit costs, but it is the prospect of a slowdown in sizzling mortgage growth that was a bigger cause for concern following Wednesday’s earnings announcement.
Home Capital’s net income slumped nearly 18 per cent year-over-year to $44.7 million, or $1.02 per share, for the three months ending March 31, the lender said.
Toronto home sales plunge and prices slide as rising borrowing rates bite
May 04, 2022
Toronto home prices slid three per cent on a month-over-month basis and sales slowed significantly in April as rising interest rates started to weigh more heavily on the housing market.
While the average home price of $1.254 million was still up 15 per cent from last year, sales were off 41 per cent from last April and down 27 per cent from the month prior, the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board said Wednesday.
Bank of Canada’s Carolyn Rogers seeks to shore up central bank’s credibility amid political attacks
May 03, 2022
Senior deputy governor Carolyn Rogers re-affirmed the Bank of Canada’s independence from the federal government in her first speech since taking the second-in-command post at the country’s central bank.
In a speech before the Women in Capital Markets in Toronto on May 3, Rogers also emphasized trust and credibility in the central bank as being vitally important during the pandemic and vowed to keep this trust moving forward.
Calgary home prices jump again in April, despite slowing sales
May 02, 2022
Calgary home prices managed to inch higher in April despite a market slow down as homebuyers continue to turn their attention to Alberta’s most populous city.
The benchmark price in the city reached $526,700 in April, jumping 17 per cent from the same time last year, according to data from the Calgary Real Estate Board. That figure was also up two per cent on a month-over-month basis, showing that the prospect of higher interest rates had yet to bite into demand.
Tiff Macklem acknowledges misjudging inflation, pledges to act ‘forcefully’ to bring it down
April 28, 2022
Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem acknowledged he and his lieutenants misjudged the strength of inflation at the start of the year, and pledged to act “as forcefully as needed” to make up for the mistake.
“(We’re coming) out of the deepest recession we’ve ever had,” Macklem said during testimony at the Senate banking committee late on April 27. “We got a lot of things right. We got some things wrong, and we are adjusting.”
Crypto has potential but it won’t usurp the loonie: Bank of Canada governor
April 28, 2022
Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem said crypto currencies have potential, but not so much that they will displace the Canadian dollar.
“In the future, the Canadian dollar will remain at the centre of our current financial system,” Macklem said during evening testimony at the Senate banking committee on April 27. “We have our Canadian currency, and we have a certain exchange rate. So, we need a monetary policy in Canada for Canadians which reflects the needs of Canadians.”
‘Conditions have not been this tight since 2006’: Behind the big rebound in Calgary real estate
April 27, 2022
A recovering energy industry, rebounding downtown commercial market and a competitive tax environment — all at a more affordable price point — have been working in tandem to drive a resurgence in Calgary real estate, according to industry watchers.
Alberta’s largest city kicked off 2022 on a strong note, setting a record for first quarter home sales.
Bank of Canada’s Lane sees major role for private sector in making central bank digital currencies flourish
April 26, 2022
A digital currency sanctioned by the Bank of Canada would likely come in a basic format and rely on private sector innovation to add capabilities, the central bank official overseeing research into a potential digital loonie told a U.K. cryptocurrency conference on Tuesday.
Bank of Canada Deputy Governor Timothy Lane shared his thinking on central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) during a panel discussion at the FT Live Crypto and Digital Asset Summit held by the Financial Times. CBDCs are digital currencies issued by a central bank rather than commercial company and have been the subject of study around the world.
Globalive’s Lacavera calls for more transparency on Freedom Mobile bidding process
April 26, 2022
The head of Globalive Capital Inc. says he is pressing Ottawa to bring more transparency to Rogers Communications Inc.’s sale of the Freedom Mobile wireless brand, part of Rogers’ effort to gain regulatory approval for the acquisition of Shaw Communications Inc.
Anthony Lacavera, founder and chairman of Globalive — which is reportedly among the bidders for Freedom — told the Financial Post Monday that he thinks Francois-Philippe Champagne, the minister of innovation, science and industry, should be concerned that viable competitors are being kept at bay.
Urban exodus slowing down as Canadian homebuyers return to the office: BMO
April 25, 2022
As Canadians are being beckoned back to their downtown offices in the post-pandemic recovery, a new survey has found that homebuyers are also turning their attention back to major urban cities.
The Bank of Montreal found in its latest home finance survey that the so-called “urban exodus” that took hold in the early days of the pandemic is slowing down, with interest in purchasing homes in major city hubs up by five per cent since last year, despite soaring prices.
Royal LePage boosts home price forecast to 15% growth despite rate hikes, cooling demand
April 19, 2022
Royal LePage is boosting its home price forecast for this year, despite signs of cooling in some markets and expectations of higher mortgage rates.
The real estate brokerage now expects aggregate home prices to rise 15 per cent in 2022 to $895,900, up from its December forecast.
The fresh forecast comes after aggregate home prices rose 25 per cent to $856,900 in the first quarter of this year despite rate hikes by the Bank of Canada, a promising sign that prices will remain strong. The price gain was the largest in the first quarter ever recorded by the company.
Canada’s hot housing streak cools as prices, sales fall in March
April 19, 2022
Canada’s real estate markets saw a significant slowdown in March, as a decline in sales pulled the national average price of a home down to $796,000.
While the average price was still up more than 11 per cent year-over-year, it declined two per cent from the February reading of $816,720, according to data from the Canadian Real Estate Association.
March housing starts decline slightly amid growing focus on supply crunch
April 19, 2022
The pace of housing construction dipped in March, with standalone housing starts coming in at 246,243 units, a two per cent decrease from February, according to data released Tuesday by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
This follows an overall downtrend in housing starts that saw the six-month, seasonally adjusted moving average reach 252,497 units compared to the February reading of 253,296 units.
Kevin O’Leary-backed WonderFi to acquire Coinberry for $38.5 million in next phase of consolidation strategy
April 18, 2022
Vancouver-based decentralized finance platform WonderFi Technologies Inc. is set to acquire Toronto crypto trading platform Coinberry in a $38.5 million all-share transaction. This comes as the company seeks to position itself as a market consolidator targeting Canadian licensed crypto platforms.
WonderFi said the deal would put about one-third of Canadian registered crypto trading platforms under its wing with more planned acquisitions to come. It would also make the company the largest publicly traded end-to-end crypto platform.
What ‘higher and faster’ Bank of Canada rate hikes could mean for homeowners
April 14, 2022
The Bank of Canada’s move to hike its policy rate by 50 basis points Wednesday will be quickly noticed by variable-rate mortgage holders and Canadians holding a home equity line of credit, but if inflation persists and rates have to rise more quickly — something the central bank’s chief acknowledged was a possibility — the effects are not likely to stop there.
“Higher and faster rate hikes will affect mortgage affordability for a significant population of homebuyers,” RatesDotCA mortgage agent Sung Lee told the Financial Post in an e-mail. “Major banks have already pushed fixed rates higher several times over the past few weeks with some approaching the four per cent mark for uninsured products.”
‘Real impact on homeowners’ wallets:’ What they are saying about the rate hike
April 13, 2022
The Bank of Canada pushed ahead with its first 50-basis point interest rate hike in 22 years on Wednesday, a move that came as no surprise to economists and bank watchers who had widely anticipated the increase. What comes next, however, is less certain.
Economist Royce Mendes from Desjardins Group saw the aggressive move — which included announcing that the central bank would begin quantitative tightening, or reducing the amount of government bonds held on its balance sheet, effective April 25 — as an acknowledgement of the need to move “forcefully” to combat rising prices and return rates to more neutral levels.
Will Ottawa’s plan to hike housing supply move the needle on home prices?
April 12, 2022
Real estate market watchers have increasingly been calling on governments to focus on building new housing to rein in runaway home prices, but were mixed as to whether supply-oriented measures introduced in the budget will have a major impact.
Among other housing-related measures, the Liberals said last week that they plan to set aside $4 billion over five years for a Housing Accelerator Fund in partnership with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. to develop 100,000 net new housing units. The government also plans to spend $1.5 billion over two years to create 6,000 affordable units — 25 per cent of which will be for women-focused housing — and make another $1.5 billion in loans and funding available to develop 6,000 co-op housing units.
Trudeau takes aim at foreign homebuyers in budget, promises support for young Canadians in federal budget 2022
April 07, 2022
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government added arrows worth $10 billion to its quiver of housing measures, pledging to tackle the affordability crisis by taking aim at foreign homebuyers, providing more tools for young Canadians who have been priced out of the real-estate market and pledging to spend billions of dollars to encourage builders to increase supply.
“Buying a house is out of reach for far too many Canadians,” Chrystia Freeland, the finance minister, wrote in the forward of the budget, which she tabled in the House on April 7.
Shoppers Drug Mart tops list of most reputable companies in Canada, Leger survey finds
April 07, 2022
The bonds that tie Canadians to major consumer-facing companies have been eroding over the past decade amid a wider decline in trust for institutions and communication fatigue, according to a report from a major market research firm.
Leger on Thursday unveiled the results of its 2022 Reputation study, which ranks the companies Canadians find most reputable, based on a survey of the opinions and awareness of more than 38,000 people toward 285 companies.
MP Rempel Garner pushes for national crypto regulation framework in bill
April 05, 2022
Conservative member of Parliament Michelle Rempel Garner touted her private member’s bill on cryptocurrencies Tuesday, calling for a national framework she hopes will encourage the growth in the crypto-asset sector.
Bill C-249, which saw its first reading in early February, would call on the Minister of Finance to consult with crypto industry innovators designated by provinces and territories to develop the framework. The bill also states that policy must focus on lowering barriers to entry in the crypto sector and protect industry innovators from crushing administrative burdens.
Toronto home sales cool in March as average price dips to just under $1.3 million
April 05, 2022
Toronto home sales in March could not keep pace with last year’s record, seeing a 30 per cent drop to 10,955 units sold last month.
Despite the dip in sales, the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board called the recent data reading the third-best March and second-best quarter on record.
The average selling price of a home slipped over 2 per cent from the month before to just under $1.3 million, bucking a seasonal trend. However, prices are still up 18 per cent from the same time last year, underscoring a worsening affordability issue amid a tight market.
Vancouver home prices soar more than 20% though sales off record highs
April 04, 2022
Vancouver home sales declined in March from last year’s record-breaking levels, but prices continued to rise, jumping more than 20 per cent amid a dearth of listings.
Residential home sales were down nearly 24 per cent year-over-year at 4,344 units last month, according to data from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. While the sales tally was below record levels, the board noted it is still historically high and was up nearly 27 per cent from the 3,424 homes sold in February. The board added that there was elevated home buyer demand in the Metro Vancouver area.
Provinces launch ‘full-scale attack’ on home prices — but it likely won’t be enough to slay housing dragon
April 04, 2022
Provinces from B.C. to Nova Scotia are rolling out a wave of new measures aimed at reining in rampant home price appreciation, but many in the real estate industry question whether the moves alone will be enough to tame the country’s housing dragon.
A Bank of Montreal report last week, authored by economist Robert Kavcic, characterized the latest policy changes and the Bank of Canada’s anticipated interest rate moves as a “full-scale attack on Canada home prices.”
RBC to acquire U.K.’s Brewin Dolphin for $2.6 billion, expand wealth management business
March 31, 2022
The Royal Bank of Canada is acquiring U.K.-based Brewin Dolphin Holdings Plc. in a $2.6 billion all-cash deal that will expand its wealth management business as well as its footprint across the pond, the bank announced Thursday.
“(RBC) had a very limited footprint in the U.K. prior to this transaction, so this pulls them up to the No. 3 market position in the U.K. and Ireland,” Canaccord Genuity analyst Scott Chan told the Financial Post. “Because it was very limited, RBC management has talked about using excess capital to support growth in wealth management in Europe, and in the U.S., and to a certain extent in Canada.”
Meta to open new engineering hub in Toronto, expects to create 2,500 jobs
March 29, 2022
Meta Platforms Inc. plans to create up to 2,500 high-tech jobs in Toronto as it builds out a new engineering hub focused on creating immersive online experiences, part of the company’s deepening bet on the metaverse.
While the hub will be located in Toronto, the company said the jobs will offer in-office and remote work options, allowing Canadians from other regions across the country to apply. Meta said it has already begun recruiting efforts and that the jobs would be added over the next several years.
Loonie’s push past 80 cents may have legs, analysts say, but commodity prices aren’t the driving factor
March 29, 2022
The Canadian dollar topped 80 cents against the greenback over the weekend for the first time since January, with analysts predicting that an improving economic backdrop and hawkish central bank mean there is more strength ahead, despite a pullback on Monday.
Karl Schamotta, chief market strategist at Corpay in Toronto, told the Financial Post that a number of factors have been driving the loonie higher in recent weeks, including the ebbing of a safe haven play that saw a rush to the U.S. dollar after Russia invaded Ukraine.
Canadian crypto industry leaders launch Web3 Council to push for national strategy
March 29, 2022
The heads of some of Canada’s biggest cryptocurrency companies are coming together to create a new industry group to push for a national strategy on crypto and digital assets.
The Canadian Web3 Council, which is being formally launched on Tuesday, includes representative from a range of organizations that have been active in the Web3 technologies space, including Wealthsimple, Dapper Labs, Ledn, Ether Capital, WonderFi Technologies Inc., Aquanow, Aciom Zen, Chainsafe Systems, ETHGlobal, Figment and Informal Systems (Cosmos).
Kyle Lowry talks crypto, that Super Bowl ad and his looming return to face the Raptors
March 25, 2022
Kyle Lowry won the hearts of Canadian basketball fans when he helped lead the Toronto Raptors to their first NBA title in 2019. Now the star guard not only has a new team, the Miami Heat, but a new job as well. Last year, the Toronto-based marketplace Bitbuy signed Lowry on as a crypto brand ambassador, featuring him in his very own Super Bowl ad campaign. Leading up to his April return to Toronto to face the Raptors, Lowry spoke with the Financial Post’s Stephanie Hughes about crypto, the partnership with Bitbuy — which was acquired by the Kevin O’Leary-backed DeFi platform WonderFi in a $206 million deal expected to close this week — and his Toronto homecoming. This interview has been edited and condensed.
Canadian firm Draganfly’s drones tapped for Ukraine search-and-rescue, medical missions
March 24, 2022
A Canadian drone manufacturer’s aircraft will soon be searching for wounded civilians and ferrying medical supplies in hard-hit areas of Ukraine after receiving an order from a humanitarian group.
Saskatoon-based Draganfly Inc. announced this week that it would be deploying its medical response and search-and-rescue drone models to Revived Soldiers Ukraine (RSU), a non-profit humanitarian organization providing aid to Ukrainians following the Russian invasion.
Liberal’s deal with NDP puts bank tax back on the table
March 22, 2022
A banking surtax appears to be back on the table as part of an agreement that will see the New Democratic Party support Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s minority Liberal government for the foreseeable future.
“We will deliver a fairer tax system for the middle class by addressing the profits made by financial institutions during the pandemic,” said Trudeau during a Tuesday morning press conference, reiterating an election promise made back in August last year.
What first-time homebuyers need to know about using RRSPs to fund a down payment
March 22, 2022
The biggest obstacle to home ownership for many is the down payment, especially these days, with home prices in Canada’s hottest markets running rampant.
One way many first-time buyers get over that barrier is with a boost from their registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs) through the Home Buyers Plan. Before depleting this tax-sheltered savings account, there are a few things to consider.
The rate hikes cometh: How to get your mortgage ahead of a rising rate environment
March 22, 2022
The era of ultra-low borrowing costs is over.
When the Bank of Canada raised its benchmark interest a quarter point to 0.5 per cent in early March, it made clear that more increases were on the way.
“The economy is now in a place where moving to a more normal setting for interest rates is appropriate,” Tiff Macklem, the central bank’s governor, said in a speech.
Rent or buy? Here’s how to decide what’s best for you
March 22, 2022
Buy or rent? Simple question, difficult answer.
Renters boast about the flexibility that comes from being unanchored by a mortgage, nor is it their problem when something breaks around the house.
Owners argue that renting is akin to throwing away “dead money.” Why do that, when mortgage payments will eventually make you the owner of a living asset?
Mortgage industry urges Ottawa to tackle housing affordability, takes aim at homebuyer incentive
March 21, 2022
Mortgage Professionals Canada took to Ottawa on Monday morning, taking aim at federal policies it says have failed to address Canada’s housing affordability problem and urging policy-makers to consider the group’s recommendations.
The organization, which represents mortgage professionals across Canada, is calling on politicians to implement the Liberal party’s campaign pledge of increasing the insured mortgage cut-off from $1 million to $1.25 million, and tying the metric with inflation to keep up with today’s home prices. It also wants first-time homebuyers to have access to mortgage terms of up to 30 years for insured mortgages.
More than a ‘flash in the pan’? The TSX is on a roll for now
March 18, 2022
The S&P/TSX composite index is finally getting its time in the sun after more than a decade of underperformance, rallying to all-time highs this week, surpassing 21,800 during Friday trading.
The index had been climbing on soaring commodities, including oil, as well as on the backs of the financial and agricultural sectors, where stocks for heavyweights such as the Royal Bank of Canada, Enbridge Inc. and Canadian National Railway Co. have been on the rise.
Binance confirms it will stop opening new accounts in Ontario
March 17, 2022
The clash between cryptocurrency exchange Binance and Ontario’s financial watchdog is over, as the crypto trading platform has legally committed to ceasing Ontario operations.
The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) published an undertaking from Binance Holdings Limited and Binance Canada Capital Markets Inc. on March 17. Binance promised it would not open new Ontario accounts, stop trading in existing accounts in the province, and provide fee waivers and reimbursements to some Ontario users.
Hut 8 Mining sees record-breaking revenue in 2021 on bitcoin price rally
March 17, 2022
Crypto miner Hut 8 Mining Corp. reported record annual revenue in 2021 thanks to last year’s bitcoin rally, and said it will use some of the money to diversify by investing in data centres.
The Toronto-based company said on March 17 that it generated revenue of $173.8 million over the 12 months ending Dec. 31, 2021, a 327-per-cent increase from a year earlier. For the quarter, Hut 8 saw revenue rise to $57.9 million from $12.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2020.
Canadian home prices up 20.6% but market could be nearing turning point
March 15, 2022
Canada’s average home price rose more than 20 per cent from the year before in February to $816,720, according to data from the Canadian Real Estate Association.
Sales jumped 4.6 per cent from the lull in January, thanks to a 23.7 per cent increase in new listings. Though strong, the sales fell 8.2 per cent short of the record set in February 2021.
Canadian housing starts rise 8%, beating expectations
March 15, 2022
Canada’s housing supply shortage received some relief in February as the country’s housing starts rose in February.
Standalone housing starts in February came out to 247,256 units, up eight per cent from 229,185 units in January and beating analyst expectations, according to data from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
Crypto goes to Ottawa: Digital assets in spotlight following Emergencies Act
March 15, 2022
Canadian cryptocurrency executives said they froze only a small number of accounts as a result of the Emergencies Act and that the crypto industry’s transparency should encourage the government to engage more deeply with the sector during testimony before the House finance committee on Monday.
The hearing was part of a post-mortem on the Act and other measures aimed at tamping down the trucker convoy protests across the country. During this time, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police provided a list of crypto wallets thought to be connected to the protests ordering exchanges not to facilitate transactions for these accounts.
TD, BMO downgraded on earnings headwinds, uncertain acquisition timelines
March 07, 2022
The merger honeymoon is over for at least one bank analyst who downgraded Toronto-Dominion Bank and the Bank of Montreal to a sector perform on Sunday, largely citing new headwinds facing the Canadian lenders but also flagging potential delays and regulatory uncertainty surrounding the two banks’ recent major acquisitions.
A team of analysts at National Bank of Canada led by Gabriel Dechaine downgraded TD to “sector perform” and reduced its price target from $110 to $100 on the grounds that they don’t expect the Canadian lender to close its US$13.4 billion First Horizon Corp. acquisition until the second quarter of 2023, a few months later than TD’s planned first-quarter close. National also cited reduced overdraft fees following a widespread backlash in the United States, which led TD to eliminate those charges if they are US$50 or less. The analysts believe the move will lead to a negative revenue hit of US$250 million on an annualized basis in the second half of 2023.
Grocery bills heading higher as Ukraine conflict continues
March 06, 2022
As the economic fallout continues from Russia’s war on Ukraine, Canadians are facing higher grocery bills as the cost of grain spikes further upwards.
The conflict between Russia and Ukraine has disrupted grain exports from the Black Sea region, putting stark upward pressures on wheat, corn, sunflower seeds, and legumes like pulses. The disruption pulled the price of wheat up about 30 per cent to US$12.09 per bushel on Friday, according to data from Macrotrends. Corn prices grew by nearly nine per cent to US$7.54 per bushel on Friday.
‘Musical chairs’ housing market to drive strong mortgage demand through spring: experts
March 04, 2022
The cost of borrowing started to rise this week after the Bank of Canada’s 25 basis-point rate hike, with major lenders following with their own prime rate hikes, but mortgage experts say it has not yet prompted a demand retreat in the mortgage market.
While the expectation of a steepening path of rate hikes could start to weigh on housing market demand psychology, Dan Eisner, founder and chief executive officer of Calgary-based mortgage firm True North Mortgage, said he has not seen that pan out so far as 75 per cent of his mortgage-seeking clients are still opting for variable-rate products.
‘No direct link’ between quantitative easing and mortgages, Macklem tells finance committee
March 04, 2022
As the Bank of Canada is discussing the prospects of quantitative tightening this week, Members of Parliament were interested in the role quantitative easing played in the housing price run-up over the course of the pandemic during Thursday’s Standing Committee on Finance focusing on inflation.
NDP MP Daniel Blaikie of the Elmwood-Transcona riding in Manitoba asked governor Tiff Macklem to clarify the impact that quantitative easing — the practice of taking more assets onto the bank’s balance sheet to lower interest rates — has had on the housing market over the past two years.
Toronto home prices soar 28% in second hottest February on record for sales
March 03, 2022
Home sales in Toronto saw the second-highest February on record, according to data from the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board.
Realtors from the Greater Toronto Area recorded 9,097 home sales in February, a 16.8 per cent decrease from February 2021. The average selling price for all property types combined rose 27.7 per cent to $1.33 million.
TD profit beats expectations with help from strong U.S. recovery
March 03, 2022
Toronto Dominion Bank saw adjusted net income grow 13 per cent to $3.83 billion in the first quarter of fiscal 2022 fuelled in part by its U.S. operations, which are set to expand following a major acquisition.
Adjusted earnings came in at $2.08 per share, up from $1.83 in the same period last year and ahead of analyst expectations of $2.04 a share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
Bank of Nova Scotia beats expectations on mortgage and commercial loan growth
March 01, 2022
The Bank of Nova Scotia beat expectations with adjusted net income of $2.75 billion in its first quarter, up from $2.4 billion last year, as all four business lines saw revenue growth.
Adjusted earnings came in at $2.15 a share, compared to $1.88 last year. Analysts had expected a profit of $2.05 a share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
Bank of Montreal beats profit expectations on capital markets boost
March 01, 2022
The Bank of Montreal reported a $2.6 billion adjusted profit in its fiscal first quarter of 2022, a jump of 27 per cent from the same time last year on strength in its capital markets division.
Adjusted earnings came out to $3.89 per share in the three months ending Jan. 31, beating analyst expectations of $3.28 per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
TD Bank expands U.S. footprint with $13-billion deal for First Horizon
February 28, 2022
Toronto-Dominion Bank is expanding its U.S. footprint by agreeing to acquire Memphis, Tennessee-based regional bank First Horizon Corp. in an all-cash deal worth US$13.4 billion or US$25 per share.
Through the acquisition, which is expected to close in TD’s first fiscal quarter of 2023, the bank said it expects to see US$610 million in pre-tax cost synergies and that it will incur merger costs totalling US$1.3 billion, largely within the first two years after the deal closes.
National Bank sees 22% surge in first-quarter profit
February 25, 2022
The National Bank of Canada saw a 22 per cent surge in profit in its fiscal first quarter, fuelled by gains in all of its business segments as well as from the reversal of provisions for credit losses.
National Bank’s net income rose to $932 million for the three months ending Jan. 31 from $761 million in the same period last year. Diluted earnings were $2.65 per share. Analysts had expected $2.23 per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
CIBC beats expectations with 15% profit growth
February 25, 2022
The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce posted a 15 per cent increase in profit in its fiscal first quarter as revenues climbed in its core banking and wealth management businesses.
The bank’s net income came out to $1.87 billion with adjusted diluted earnings of $4.08 per share for the three months ending Jan. 31. Analysts had expected $3.67 a share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
Royal Bank of Canada beats expectations as profit climbs 6%
February 24, 2022
The Royal Bank of Canada saw net income rise six per cent to $4.1 billion in the first quarter, a gain that the bank attributed to strong growth in its personal and commercial banking segments as well as its wealth management business.
The personal and commercial segment saw 10 per cent year-over-year growth to earn $1.97 billion while the wealth management business posted a $765-million profit, up 24 per cent growth from the same time last year. Earnings were $2.87 per share on an adjusted basis compared to Bloomberg consensus estimates of $2.72 per share.
Analyst downgrades big banks over worries that multiple contractions will outweigh boost from rising rates
February 22, 2022
Canada’s big banks will begin announcing their first quarter earnings later this week, just as the Bank if Canada is expected to raise the overnight interest rate for the first time since the pandemic began.
Analysts tend to agree that a rising-interest-rate environment will benefit the financial giants by easing pressure on their net interest margins, which have been compressed during the pandemic. But whether shareholders see the benefit in the form of higher stock prices may be a different matter altogether.
Bitcoin wallet Nunchuk scolds Ontario court over order to freeze crypto assets
February 22, 2022
Bitcoin wallet Nunchuk.io is pushing back against an order from the Ontario Superior Court demanding the platform freeze and disclose information on digital assets sent to anti-vaccine mandate protesters.
In a letter made public on Twitter, the company stated that it was a self-custodial bitcoin wallet and software provider, not a custodial financial intermediary.
Why halting the flow of crypto to protesters may be harder than the government thinks
February 17, 2022
Ottawa’s invocation of the Emergencies Act may succeed in slowing the flow of cryptocurrency to anti-mandate protesters, but stanching it altogether is a much more difficult proposition, crypto experts told the Financial Post this week.
The act, introduced on Monday, forces financial institutions and intermediaries to freeze and report assets, including cryptocurrencies, tied to accounts suspected of funding the protesters, who have blocked border crossings and set up camp in the nation’s capital.
RCMP asks crypto exchanges to cease transactions with list of protest-related crypto wallets
February 16, 2022
Multiple Canadian cryptocurrency exchanges have confirmed to the Financial Post that they received letters from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police late last night and early this morning ordering that they not facilitate transactions for a list of more than 30 crypto wallet addresses thought to be connected to the vaccine mandate protests that started in Ottawa.
The letter called on exchanges to immediately disclose to the Commissioner of the RCMP “any information about a transaction or proposed transaction” connected to the wallet addresses.
Crypto assets pose mounting risk to financial stability, global watchdog warns
February 16, 2022
A global financial stability watchdog is raising the red flag on crypto assets, warning that they could pose a significant risk to the broader financial system if they remain outside of regulatory scrutiny.
The Financial Stability Board (FSB) said in a Wednesday report that risks like regulatory gaps, fragmentation or arbitrage could “rapidly escalate, underscoring the need for timely and pre-emptive evaluation of possible policy responses.”
Home building gains slip amid calls to boost Canada’s housing
February 15, 2022
The speed at which new homes are built in Canada slowed even further in January, despite rising calls to boost supply to address a national housing shortage.
Housing starts came in at 254,133 units in January, an approximate three per cent decline from the 261,352 units during December, according to data from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
Canadian lifecos end 2021 on a strong note but COVID-19 concerns loom
February 10, 2022
Canada’s life insurance giants saw profits surge in 2021, buoyed in part by strength in their wealth management units, but the companies continue to face headwinds from the pandemic in certain segments.
Manulife Financial Corp.’s core earnings hit $1.7 billion or $0.84 per share for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2021, bringing full year core earnings to a record $6.5 billion, an increase of about 20 per cent on a constant exchange rate basis over the prior year.
KPMG Canada adding bitcoin and Ethereum to its balance sheet in first move into crypto
February 08, 2022
KPMG Canada is making its first-ever move into the crypto space, bringing bitcoin and Ethereum assets into its corporate treasury.
In a release Monday, the company added that it will also be investing in carbon offsets to adhere to its net-zero carbon transaction requirement with its environmental, social and governance (ESG) commitments. The firm has yet to specify how much in bitcoin and Ethereum it will be adding to its balance sheet.
Takeover of Concentra furthers Equitable’s ‘challenger bank’ ambitions, CEO says
February 07, 2022
The chief executive of Equitable Group Inc. says a deal announced Monday to acquire Saskatoon-based Concentra Bank for $470 million help the digital only “challenger bank” accelerate its growth plans.
Andrew Moor, Equitable’s president and chief executive officer, told the Financial Post that the acquisition is in line with the company’s strategy to expand its core business.
CMHC wants market share back, but some observers wonder if timing is right
February 07, 2022
The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation has already acknowledged it needs to claw back business it ceded in the mortgage insurance market. Now, it’s getting more specific about its targets.
Once the dominant player in the country, the CMHC’s share of new mortgage insurance originations fell to 26 per cent in the third quarter of 2021, down from 49 per cent in the second quarter of 2020. It’s a major comedown that has eroded the Crown Corporation’s influence, leaving it in third place behind private players Sagen and Canada Guaranty.
Toronto home prices climb in January, following record-breaking sales in 2021
February 03, 2022
Toronto’s housing market had a record-breaking sales year in 2021 and hasn’t slowed down to start 2022, with the average price in the Greater Toronto Area reaching $1.24 million in January. This amounted to a nearly seven per cent jump month-over-month and a 28 per cent jump over last January, according to data released Thursday by the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB).
TRREB’s home sales volumes reported through the organization’s multiple listing service (MLS) were slightly subdued at 5,636 units, seeing a roughly 18 per cent drop from the 6,888 sales reported this time last year. The board added that while sales were down compared to the record results from last year, January 2022 still remains as the second strongest in the history for that month.
Meta shares plunge in after-hours trading on weaker than expected guidance
February 02, 2022
Shares of Meta Platforms Inc. plunged by more than 22 per cent in after-hours trading Wednesday after the tech giant, formerly known as Facebook, posted fourth quarter results that came up shy of analyst expectations and offered disappointing guidance. Meta earned US$3.67 per share in the fourth quarter, short of Bloomberg analyst estimates of US$3.86 per share, on total revenue of approximately US$33.7 billion. The company is also forecasting US$27 billion to US$29 billion in revenue for the first three months of 2022, three to 11 per cent growth year-over-year but still less than investors had anticipated. Here’s a look at five key takeaways from the earnings, in which the company broke out the financial performance of its “Reality Labs” division for the first time.
Calgary housing market heats up as homebuyers from Ontario, B.C. help fuel it
February 02, 2022
Tight supply in Calgary’s real estate market pushed the average unadjusted benchmark price to $472,300 in January, a 12 per cent increase over the same time last year, according to data from the Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB).
Housing inventory also reached its lowest point since 2006 at 2,620 units, the organization said, while the 2,009 units sold was nearly double the long term trend.
FP Dealmakers: How a ‘rocket fuel’ tech sector drove the year of the IPO to new heights
January 31, 2022
John Wilkin has seen a number of strong initial public offering cycles during his 23-year career as an M&A lawyer. But he’s never seen one quite like 2021.
A partner at Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, Wilkin said the year stood out because nearly every sector took part in the action.
“When I started out in early 2000s, the IPO market was driven by the dot-com trend, and then in the mid-2000s, with the boom in commodities,” Wilkin told the Financial Post in an interview. “This recent increase in activity has been across the board…. I think the strength of the Canadian capital markets across sectors is proving itself out.”
‘Moving without moving’: Don’t expect rush into housing market after Bank of Canada’s rate hike reprieve
January 27, 2022
The Bank of Canada is waiting to raise interest rates, but don’t expect the reprieve to spark a last-minute surge in homebuying.
That’s the message a handful of market watchers gave the Financial Post, noting that while the central bank’s decision to keep overnight rate unchanged at 0.25 per cent until at least March may prompt some remaining prospective buyers to jump in off the sidelines, most of that action has already taken place. And there is no mistaking that rates are on their way up.
What a Bank of Canada rate hike could mean for mortgages and the housing market
January 26, 2022
The era of ultra-low pandemic interest rates, which has helped drive Canadian home prices to all-time highs, may be coming to end.
Many economists anticipate that the Bank of Canada will begin hiking its benchmark overnight rate as early as today, ushering in a pricier borrowing environment with potential implications for heavily indebted Canadians and the red-hot housing market.
Crypto’s US$1-trillion rout puts stock volatility in perspective
January 24, 2022
Stock market watchers were left breathless Monday as major North American indices plummeted before staging a wild recovery. For cryptocurrency owners, that kind of volatility likely sparked more than a glimmer of recognition.
While stocks, particularly those in the technology sector, have been under pressure to start 2022, their drawdown has been only a fraction of the collapse that has hit the crypto space.
Big banks poised to benefit from rising interest rates after emerging unscathed from pandemic
January 20, 2022
Canada’s largest banks escaped the pandemic with record stockpiles of excess capital and now some analysts believe they are poised to benefit anew from rising interest rates as the economy improves.
A Barclay’s report released Wednesday notes that after years of facing net interest margin compression, higher rates would bring “palpable” relief for the Big Five, leading to improved revenue growth and rising valuations.
Iconic pen-maker Bic to acquire Toronto temporary tattoo startup Inkbox for US$65 million
January 18, 2022
Iconic French pen-maker Société Bic SA is buying Canadian temporary tattoo startup Inkbox for US$65 million in a bid to diversify its consumer product portfolio.
The deal will help Bic, which has long leaned on its classic products, such as ballpoint pens, lighters and razors, cater to younger generations that are more interested in self-expression, but who may not want the commitment of a permanent tattoo.
Housing affordability ‘likely to get worse before it gets better’ as listings hit all-time low
January 17, 2022
Canadian home sales inched higher in December as the number of listings fell to an all-time low, according to data from the Canadian Real Estate Association.
CREA said sales were up by 0.2 per cent month-over-month, but down 9.9 per cent from the record posted in December 2020. The number of newly listed properties fell about three per cent from November to December.
Crypto platform Bitfinex plans departure from Ontario, tells users to withdraw funds
January 17, 2022
Cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex will cease offering services in Ontario as of March 1 and has told users to close out their accounts and withdraw any funds by that time.
In an announcement, the company said it would immediately close the accounts of Ontario users who have no balances on the platform and would cut off their access to peer-to-peer financing markets. No reason was given for the planned departure.
FP CryptoDecoded: Consolidation, GameFi and the metaverse all trends to watch in 2022
January 13, 2022
Industry consolidation, the growth of the metaverse and the expansion of decentralized finance are among the trends that are likely to dominate the rapidly evolving crypto sector in 2022, a panel of experts told the Financial Post on Thursday.
The comments were made during the third installment of the FP Crypto Decoded virtual series, moderated by Financial Post senior business correspondent Barbara Shecter.
Binance’s Changpeng Zhao richest Canadian on Bloomberg list with US$96 billion crypto fortune
January 13, 2022
The chief executive officer of the cryptocurrency exchange Binance has a net worth close to US$100 billion, making him the richest crypto entrepreneur in the world and by far the wealthiest Canadian, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Changpeng Zhao, who was born in China but was raised and educated in Canada and who has Canadian citizenship, started Binance in 2017. The Bloomberg Index, which calculated the value of his stake in the company for the first time this week, pegged his net worth at US$96 billion but added that his fortune was likely much larger than that figure since the ranking did not take his personal crypto holdings into account.
CMHC to review down payments on investment properties as part of federal strategy to tackle housing risks
January 12, 2022
The federal government is planning to review the rules surrounding down payments on investment properties in a bid to curb speculation in red hot housing markets, with increases in the downpayment or restriction on the source of funds the most likely measures it might pursue, according to industry experts.
The review was one of a series of measures to combat soaring housing prices laid out within the Fairness in Real Estate Action Plan in the mandate letter from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to Ahmed Hussen, the minister responsible for housing, in December.
Canadian bank CEOs weigh in on uncertain economic outlook in 2022
January 10, 2022
The head of Canada’s largest bank says uncertainty wrought by the Omicron variant is making it difficult to generate economic forecasts, as the country struggles with rising COVID-19 hospitalizations, employee absences and new lockdown measures.
RBC chief executive Dave McKay made the comments Monday at the RBC Capital Markets Canadian Bank CEO Conference, which brought together the chief executive officers of Canada’s top banks, as well as their primary federal regulator, the head of the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI).
Rug-pull scams raked in over US$2.8 billion in crypto in 2021, report finds
January 07, 2022
Cryptocurrency rug-pull scams were responsible for more than US$2.8 billion in illicit activity in 2021, close to an all-time high and up 81 per cent from 2020, according to a recent crime report from Chainalysis, a blockchain research company.
Rug pulls are a relatively new type of scam that has cropped up with the rise of decentralized finance (DeFi), the blockchain-based financial movement that does not rely on central bodies such as banks. In a rug pull, developers create new crypto tokens and promote them to investors to pump up their value and boost overall liquidity. They then drain the funding pool and send the token’s value crashing to zero before disappearing with the money.
CMHC-funded group proposes surtax on homes over $1 million to address housing inequality
January 05, 2022
A think-tank funded in part by the Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation (CMHC) and National Housing Strategy is proposing that homes valued at more than $1 million be subjected to an annual deferrable surtax as part of a plan to tackle housing inequality.
In a report released on Wednesday, the research organization Generation Squeeze argues that such a surtax would hit nine per cent of homes across the country and could raise between $4.54 billion and $5.83 billion to go toward other housing projects.
Kevin O’Leary-backed WonderFi to purchase Bitbuy parent First Ledger in first takeover of regulated crypto platform in Canada
January 04, 2022
Vancouver-based decentralized finance platform WonderFi Technologies Inc. announced Tuesday that it is buying First Ledger Corp, the parent company of cryptocurrency marketplace Bitbuy, for $206 million, in what would be the first acquisition of a fully regulated cryptocurrency platform in Canada.
WonderFi, which is backed by Shark Tank star Kevin O’Leary, will fund the deal by issuing 70 million new shares and pay a total of $50 million in cash, including $20 million up front, the company said in a release.
This number is no longer in service: Farewell to the BlackBerry
January 04, 2022
The year was 2012 and the Canadian crown jewel of the consumer tech scene was near peak popularity with more than 80 million active users. The ubiquitous BlackBerry swiftly became a status symbol from Wall Street to Bay Street to Rodeo Drive. It was the hotline of Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, with the U.S. president often photographed gripping the phone well after Inauguration Day.
Fast forward to today and the once-popular cellphone has fallen far out of favour. As of Tuesday, older models running BlackBerry 10.7.1 operating systems and earlier will no longer be supported by the company. Those still using these models will no longer be able to use data, send texts, hop online, or even make phone calls.
Binance to continue Ontario operations after working with regulators
December 30, 2021
Cryptocurrency exchange Binance said it will not pull its operations out of Ontario after all, telling users in an email on Wednesday that it was successfully able to cooperate with regulators and set itself on track to register in Canada.
Binance stated its registration as a Money Services Business with the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) would allow the company to resume operations in Ontario while pursuing full registration.
Burning Questions: Could this be the year crypto finally goes mainstream?
December 30, 2021
The Financial Post takes a look at some of the biggest issues Canadians have about business and investing in 2022 in our latest Burning Questions series.
The crypto space has come a long way in 2021, as record-breaking price rallies, more new ground broken in the non-fungible token (NFT) space and the metaverse, and further innovations on the blockchain network drive the industry’s growth.
What portfolio managers are looking at heading into 2022
December 27, 2021
Volatility continues to whipsaw across the markets as COVID-19 uncertainty keeps investors on edge, something portfolio managers expect will carry over into the new year as the Omicron variant takes hold.
Other factors, such as an inflationary environment, the prospect of interest rate hikes and a shifting economic backdrop could also make 2022 another interesting year for the financial markets.
Dye & Durham’s Link acquisition makes it a global player in sector, CEO says
December 22, 2021
Canadian cloud-based software company Dye & Durham Ltd. is set to acquire Australia-based Link Administration Holdings Ltd. for $3.2 billion, an expansion that the company’s CEO says will put it on the map globally in their sector.
“First and foremost, (this deal) really, truly cements us in place as a global B2B software solutions provider,” Matthew Proud, Dye & Durham’s chief executive, told the Financial Post in a telephone interview.
‘It is going to define his legacy’: Bank of the West transaction a defining moment for BMO’s White
December 20, 2021
The Bank of Montreal made the biggest splash of chief executive Darryl White’s four-year tenure Monday when it announced it was buying BNP Paribas SA’s U.S. operations for US$16.3 billion.
BMO expects the deal, one of the biggest in Canadian banking history, will bring it 1.8 million new customers when it closes at the end of next year.
CEO Darryl White, who had been at the helm of BMO since 2017, told analysts on a Monday investor call that the transaction will be funded using cash and excess capital and will meaningfully expand the bank’s already robust growth south of the border.
CARR recommends shifting to CORRA reference rate by June 2024
December 16, 2021
The Canadian Alternative Reference Rate (CARR) recommended that the Bank of Canada moves to a more market-friendly Canadian Overnight Repo Rate Average (CORRA) in a Thursday report, and retire the original model, the Canadian Dollar Offered Rate (CDOR), after June 30, 2024.
CDOR, is partially derived from the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR), was developed in the 1980s and has since been the benchmark reference rate at which Canadian banks are willing to lend.
Credit-card giants aren’t waiting to be disrupted when it comes to crypto
December 16, 2021
In 2019, credit-card giant Visa launched a full-time crypto product team for the first time after noticing that a new generation of fintechs were capturing the imaginations of customers with crypto-based digital wallets and exchanges.
“They were growing very quickly. There were millions of customers signing up … and they had billions of dollars of assets on their (platforms),’” Cuy Sheffield, Visa Inc.’s vice-president and head of crypto, told the Financial Post in a recent interview.
Average home price in Canada hits all-time high of $720,850
December 15, 2021
Canada’s hot housing market became even more heated in November as the average price hit an all-time high at $720,850, according to data from The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) released Wednesday.
This seasonally unadjusted figure beat out the previous record of $716,828 set in March, as the disconnect between housing supply and demand continues to push prices higher, said Cliff Stevenson, chair of CREA, in a release. “Even at what is traditionally the slow time of year for housing, conditions and price trends are at the same record levels we saw this spring. Things may calm down a bit through the balance of December and January, but next year’s spring market will no doubt be an interesting one.”
More action to address hot housing coming in budget, Ottawa says — but some are getting impatient
December 15, 2021
Those looking for Ottawa to announce significant new measures to address housing affordability in Tuesday’s fiscal update were out of luck, though the government said the issue was a “priority” and that it would take more action in the spring budget.
“We know housing prices are a real concern, especially for those in the middle class looking to buy their first home,” the government said in its fiscal update. “We will take further action in the upcoming budget.”
Canada’s financial watchdog maintains capital buffer for big banks as risks persist
December 10, 2021
The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) is maintaining the capital buffer the country’s big banks must hold to better protect against risks at 2.5 per cent.
The buffer, which is a policy tool to ensure stability in the country’s financial system, was set at that level in June and came into effect at the end of October.
‘The big challenge is talent’: Louis Têtu on Coveo’s IPO and state of innovation economy
December 09, 2021
Quebec City-based artificial intelligence (AI) and retail tech company Coveo made its market debut on the Toronto Stock Exchange on last month at $15 per share. Louis Têtu, the company’s chairman and chief executive officer, spoke to the Financial Post’s Stephanie Hughes about the decision to go public, the Canadian tech ecosystem and the battle for talent in a tight labour market. This interview has been condensed and edited for brevity.
Mortgage surge helped fuel bank earnings, but observers split on 2022 growth
December 06, 2021
Canada’s big banks reported strong growth in mortgage originations over the past year, fuelled by the country’s hot pandemic housing market, but have differing views on whether that strength can continue in 2022.
Canadian residential mortgage and home equity line of credit (HELOC) volumes have grown by $151.2 billion or 13 per cent over the course of the pandemic, according to Bloomberg News. That growth outpaced the 2.8 per cent pace seen in non-mortgage loans.
Why crypto literacy is crucial for investors eyeing the space
December 03, 2021
Earlier this year, the U.S. website CoinDesk created a crypto literacy test with basic questions about bitcoin, blockchain and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Out of thousands of respondents taking the online survey, the website reported, roughly 98 per cent failed. Respondents had to score over 60 per cent to pass the test.
Nine out of 10 were unaware of bitcoin’s limited supply cap, believing the cryptocurrency had an unlimited supply (bitcoin actually has a 21 million supply cap). The quiz asked other questions such as what typo of crypto is secured by an underlying asset such as fiat currencies or commodities (the answer is stablecoins) and what the smallest unit of bitcoin is called (answer: a satoshi, named after the pseudonymous creator of bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto).
Royal Bank of Canada to hike dividend and buy back shares after earnings miss
December 01, 2021
Royal Bank of Canada became the second Canadian bank to announce a hike in dividends in its fourth-quarter results, saying Wednesday that it would raise its payout 11 per cent to $1.20. RBC will also seek to buy back 45 million of its common shares.
RBC reported a net income of $3.9 billion in the three months ending October 31, amounting to a 20 per cent growth from the same time last year. The bank’s earnings came out to $2.71 per share, missing analyst expectations of $2.81 on average.
Toronto’s Bitbuy first crypto marketplace to receive full OSC approval
December 01, 2021
Toronto-based crypto company Bitbuy Technologies Inc. is set to announce Wednesday that it has received registration approval from the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC), making it the first registered marketplace that is also a brokerage of crypto assets.
Bitbuy was formed in 2013 as a trading platform before pivoting to become a marketplace in November 2019, merging the broker dealer business with a market infrastructure. Michael Arbus, Bitbuy’s chief executive officer, told the Financial Post that the marketplace element sets them apart from other Canadian crypto trading platforms that function solely as a brokerage or have crypto as a feature on a larger business model.
Bank of Nova Scotia hikes dividend as profit beats expectations
November 30, 2021
The Bank of Nova Scotia is hiking its dividend by more than 10 per cent and announced share buybacks Tuesday after reporting strong fourth quarter results to kick off bank earnings season.
Scotiabank said it would be raising its quarterly dividend by 10 cents per common share to $1 after the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) lifted restrictions on dividend hikes earlier this month. The first dividend pay-out will come on Jan. 27.
Duelling metaverse ETFs set to launch in Canada, with different approaches to futuristic space
November 29, 2021
Metaverse ETFs will hit Canadian markets for the first time Monday as both Toronto-based Horzions ETFs and Evolve ETFs launch funds tracking companies involved in the space.
The Horizons Global Metaverse Index ETF (MTAV) will target a number of segments that overlap with the metaverse, including: augmented and virtual reality; the creator economy, in which companies provide platforms for individuals to create and share content; digital infrastructure; gaming; and digital payments.
Alberta looks to cut red tape for growth capital with proposed ‘corporate opportunity waivers’
November 22, 2021
Alberta growth companies could see their pool of potential investors widen if proposed amendments to Alberta’s Business Corporations Act allowing for so-called “corporate opportunity waivers” is passed.
Under proposed amendments tabled on Monday, the waivers would allow private corporations to set their own rules regarding when directors could invest in other companies and take part in projects in related industries, a measure some jurisdiction in the U.S. have implemented to boost venture capital and private equity investment.
What you need to know about bitcoin’s Taproot Update
November 18, 2021
Developers in the crypto space woke up with a new tool in the toolbox this week with bitcoin’s much-anticipated Taproot Upgrade.
Activated on Sunday, the Taproot Upgrade is designed to promote Bitcoin’s privacy, security and scalability while giving developers a larger toolbox to bring new projects to light. Taproot had been locked in earlier in June after it gained 90 per cent of support from miners.
Hamilton youth arrested in alleged $46 million crypto theft following joint probe with FBI
November 17, 2021
Hamilton Police said they’ve made an arrest in a $46 million cryptocurrency theft on Wednesday, calling it the “biggest cryptocurrency theft reported from one person”.
The suspect is described as a “youth” in Hamilton and was arrested for a theft exceeding $5,000. The victim, who is based in the United States, had been targeted in a SIM swap attack, which is a way scammers hijack accounts by tricking cellphone company employees to duplicate phone numbers onto the hacker’s SIM card so that they can intercept two-factor authorization requests.
Royal Canadian Legion creates poppy NFT to honour veterans
November 11, 2021
The Royal Canadian Legion is getting in on the NFT trend for Remembrance Day with a limited-edition non-fungible token of its own to honour the 100th anniversary of the remembrance poppy.
The organization said that the Immortal Poppy NFT will support fallen Canadian heroes in a “new, more lasting way”. The NFT is a three-dimensional 60-second looping image replica of a real poppy picked from Flanders Fields with the names of 118,000 fallen Canadian soldiers inscribed onto the petals. With the unique digital asset linked to the blockchain, the Legion said in a release that it will immortalize the memory of those who fought for their country’s freedoms.
‘A proxy for holding Bitcoin’: Crypto firms set to go public as market hits US$3 trillion
November 08, 2021
The cryptocurrency market’s total value passed a milestone US$3 trillion on Monday fuelled by gains in the prices of bitcoin and Ether, but it isn’t just the currencies themselves that are seeing an inflow of investor interest.
Since the pandemic bull market emerged, demand for publicly traded companies that participate in the crypto ecosystem have surged, too, with a number of firms such as Coinbase and Voyager Digital listing on public markets. Last week, Toronto-based crypto trading platform CoinSmart became the latest to go public, listing on the NEO Exchange, where its shares jumped by 24 per cent on their first day of trading.
Surging bond yields point to rising mortgage rates ahead, industry watchers say
November 08, 2021
Ultra-low mortgage rates offered throughout the pandemic may soon be coming to an end after the Bank of Canada last week ended its bond-buying stimulus program and signalled it would hike interest rates sooner than expected in the face of rising inflation.
The move led to a spike in five-year bond yields, a figure closely followed by mortgage lenders, by nine basis points to 1.43 per cent on the day the announcement was made.
Why Mike Silagadze calls his new DeFi fund the ‘boring way to invest in crypto’
October 28, 2021
Mike Silagadze and Andrew McGrath, known for their educational software company Top Hat, are diving into the crypto space with the launch of a US$25 million DeFi fund with the recently established Gadze Finance. The pair spoke to the Financial Post’s Stephanie Hughes about crypto regulation, democratizing finance, and why their fund is the “boring way to invest in crypto.” This interview has been edited and condensed.
Who is Edward Rogers, family scion at the centre of the Rogers storm?
October 22, 2021
Way before Edward Rogers, son of Rogers Communications Inc. founder Ted Rogers, triggered a crisis in the company’s leadership last month, his father got him a job at Comcast Corp.
Edward was fresh off completing his Bachelor of Arts at the University of Western Ontario in 1992 and Ted was specific in his instructions to his counterpart, Ralph Roberts, founder of Comcast, according to Bob Brehl, who’s written several biographies on the Rogers dynasty.
People are paying real money for virtual real estate in the metaverse
October 21, 2021
Location, location, location. That’s the common phrase for success in the real estate market, and it’s no different when these properties are listed in an alternative virtual reality, called a metaverse.
Square signals Toronto-based executive will lead push into bitcoin mining
October 19, 2021
Square Inc. chief executive Jack Dorsey says the financial services company is considering an entry into the bitcoin mining space — and it appears that one of Square’s Toronto-based executives will be leading the project.
Bitcoin mining is a process in which high-powered computer rigs solve complex mathematical problems, leading to the creation of new bitcoin and supporting the existing network.
Aritzia sales top pre-pandemic levels on strong U.S., e-commerce growth
October 14, 2021
Vancouver-based fashion retailer Aritzia Inc. reported second-quarter sales Wednesday that exceeded pre-pandemic levels as in-store shopping rebounded and e-commerce continued its rapid growth.
Aritzia, which was founded in 1984 as a standalone boutique, posted $350.1 million in net revenue for the three months ending Aug. 29, jumping by roughly 75 per cent since the same reporting period last year.
Crypto is less anonymous than you thought — and it might be a good thing
October 14, 2021
Follow the crypto. That’s what the Federal Bureau of Investigation likely did after Colonial Pipeline Co., a U.S.-based refined oil pipeline operator, was forced to pay US$4.4 million in cryptocurrency after its systems were disabled by a ransomware attack in early May.
To track down the funds, authorities would have accessed the public blockchain ledger that recorded the payment and pulled out the mix of characters that indicated the digital addresses that received the money, according to Pamela Clegg, vice-president of financial investigations at U.S.-based blockchain forensics firm CipherTrace, which researches and works with federal authorities in these kinds of cases.
Posthaste: Small businesses, restaurants call for extension of government pandemic benefits
October 13, 2021
Business leaders are calling on the federal government to extend COVID-19 benefits for small business and food service operators, saying moving ahead with plans to end the wage and rent subsidies on Oct. 23 will pull the safety net out from under struggling business owners.
‘No easy feat’: How Coinberry became Canada’s first regulated crypto-only trading platform
October 08, 2021
Getting nationwide regulatory approval for a crypto exchange is no easy task. But after years of consulting with Canadian regulators, Coinberry became the first pure-play, crypto-only trading platform (and second overall) to be fully registered across all of the provinces and territories in August. Andrei Poliakov, Coinberry’s chief executive officer and co-founder, spoke with the Financial Post’s Stephanie Hughes about what it takes to become a regulated exchange in Canada. This interview has been edited and condensed.
One million new homes needed in Ontario in next 10 years to end ‘cruel game of musical chairs’
October 07, 2021
With Ontario’s population growing rapidly, one policy think tank argues that Canada’s most populous province will need about one million new homes over the next 10 years.
Ottawa-based Smart Prosperity Institute and Ontario Home Builder’s Association arrived at the near-million home figure after exploring how many homes and what types of homes would be needed to reach the needs of the anticipated 2.27 million more people who will reside in the province over the next 10 years, according to the Ontario Ministry of Finance.
Ontario urged to overcome NIMBYism and change zoning laws to ease Toronto’s housing crunch
September 30, 2021
Archaic’ zoning laws are at the heart of Toronto’s affordable housing problems and need to be redrafted, says the province’s real estate association.
The zoning regulations prohibit Toronto neighbourhoods from converting a single-family home into a townhome, duplex, triplex or fourplex.
Vancouver’s Dapper Labs to produce digital football collectibles after reaching deal with NFL
September 29, 2021
Canadian blockchain company Dapper Labs Inc. will be adding NFL highlights to its roster of digital collectibles after signing a partnership agreement with the National Football League (NFL) and the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA), the company announced Wednesday.
The collectibles, also known as “Moments,” will allow fans to buy, sell and trade in-game digital moments from the football league throughout the season as well as some of the greatest plays in the NFL history. The launch date has not yet been disclosed, though the company expects to have these NFTs on the market by the end of the current season. Terms of the deal were not revealed.
More than half of small businesses don’t feel supported by their government and banks
September 28, 2021
As COVID-19 restrictions slowly lift across most provinces and small business owners are able to open their doors again, a recent Equifax Canada survey found that the majority of them do not feel supported by their banks and government.
In a nationwide panel of 300 small business owners, 52 per cent of respondents said they were not getting the proper supports from their banks. Sixty-two per cent said that they felt this way about their government.
There has never been more housing under construction in Canada — but the city that needs it the most is missing the boom
September 24, 2021
Canada is in the midst of a record housing construction boom, but Toronto is notably absent from this surge, according to the Royal Bank of Canada.
Canada has long wrestled with a housing supply shortage problem, but over the past year, it’s not for a lack of building. A report by the Royal Bank of Canada found that housing starts over the past 12 months were at their strongest since 1977 and the number of new housing units currently under construction is at an all-time high.
Mogo’s David Feller talks open banking, the rise of crypto and Canada’s evolving fintech landscape
September 23, 2021
Mogo is no stranger to change. The Vancouver-based fintech company has been working to keep up with innovations in the digital banking world since it was launched in the early 2000s. These days, it’s navigating the growth of crypto, the rise of free stock trading and the pending arrival of open banking. David Feller, Mogo’s founder and chief executive officer, spoke with the Financial Post’s Stephanie Hughes this week about Canada’s rapidly evolving fintech landscape and his company’s plans.
CIBC rolls out new logo in makeover strategy
September 22, 2021
The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) is getting a makeover with a new logo the company plans to roll out across all of its marketing and advertising platforms this Thursday.
Customers can also expect to see the new logo in their own branches over the coming year.
Cryptocurrencies swept up in China property crisis that’s rattling the world
September 21, 2021
China’s growing property crisis kicked off the week by sending the markets into a spiral, and cryptocurrencies were not spared the turmoil.
The Chinese property developer, Evergrande Group, has been plagued with a ballooning debt crisis that prompted a crackdown on real estate firms by Xi Jinping’s government.
Canada faces skilled labour crunch when 700,000 tradespeople retire this decade, warns RBC
September 16, 2021
Addressing Canada’s skilled trade shortage problem will be no easy feat, but it’s an issue that employers and policymakers will need to address before the country is hit with a skilled labour crunch, according to Royal Bank of Canada in a report released Tuesday.
Canada’s workforce will see a 10,000-worker deficit in 56 nationally recognized so-called Red Seal trades over the next five years — a scarcity that could be widened tenfold when 250 provincially regulated trades are added into the mix. Red Seal certificates ensure a worker has met the national standard in their trade. The report added these shortages will be particularly felt in high-demand jobs such as industrial mechanics, boilermakers and welders.
Crypto gains can come with a hefty — and unexpected — tax bill
September 16, 2021
The potential for big returns has been drawing more and more Canadians into cryptocurrency markets in recent years, but for some cashing in has come with a hefty — and unexpected — tax bill attached.
“It’s not as straightforward as buying some stock,” said Mehran Sedigh, a cryptocurrency tax expert at Toronto-based accounting agency Triple M Professional Corp. who has worked with a number of clients audited by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) because their crypto earnings were misfiled.
Canadians consider splitting a mortgage with friends. But it’s complicated
September 14, 2021
Canada’s hot housing markets have been pushing home affordability out of reach for younger Canadians over the years, meaning that in order to get a piece of the market, some Canadians will have to get creative.
According to a survey by real estate company RE/MAX, one in three Canadians are looking into alternative ways to finance their dreams of home ownership, such as multi-person housing, which could have a group of friends or family pool together their finances to get approved for a mortgage. At least 13 per cent of those surveyed are seriously considering a group financing option to afford a home.
Posthaste: Non-homeowners twice as likely to miss a bill payment — underscoring wealth inequality in Canada
September 10, 2021
The average Canadian homeowner owes $393,887 in total debt, according to a study by the Canadian credit and financial services company Borrowell. That’s about 19.5 times the amount that non-homeowners owe, though real estate-owning Canadians tend to have an easier time with rising costs of living, the report suggests.
Canadian homeowners shoulder an average of $359,597 in mortgage debt and $34,290 in non-mortgage debt.
Choppy waters: Ontario canoe maker posts jobs only for ‘unvaccinated individuals’
September 07, 2021
An Ontario canoe company turned heads this week when it posted a job ad requiring applicants to not be vaccinated against COVID-19.
“Please DO NOT apply if you have taken any vaccines for COVID-19,” read the job posting for watercraft retailer Souris River Canoes. “We will only be considering unvaccinated individuals.”
Real estate doubters can now double down as Horizons’ introduces leveraged sector ETFs
September 03, 2021
A new ETF product is giving investors the chance to double down on their negative bets on Canada’s real estate sector, which has defied its doubters for years.
Horizons ETFs Management (Canada) Inc. this week launched a pair of leveraged ETFs that track the Solactive Equal Weight Canada REIT Index, and give investors the chance to place bets either for or against the sector.
Bomb Squad combines a retail experience with NFTs for a good cause
September 02, 2021
David Krovblit’s art often gives objects a different meaning. For example, the Toronto-based artist’s Fabergé grenades take tools of warfare and turn them into works of art. Now, his grenade art will be featured in the Bomb Squad NFT launch in collaboration with packaging and accessories brand Clikbo Labs, with a portion of the sales going to an anti-violence campaign.
Non-fungible tokens (or NFTs) are digital assets, such as a digital painting or online collectible, that are one-of-a-kind. Demand for them exploded in early 2021, pushing the NFT marketplace OpenSea to a record sales volume of US$1.9 billion in August alone. As the NFT trend picks up steam, more people are looking to get on board.
Crypto mortgages are coming, but there are big hurdles to their acceptance
September 02, 2021
This summer, cryptocurrencies moved into new territory in Spain when a bill was introduced that would allow borrowers to pay their mortgages using the digital assets. The proposed legislation, aimed at deepening the acceptance, use and regulation of digital currencies, would also allow the real estate industry to invest in mortgage pools using crypto and encourage banks to use blockchain technology to keep track of mortgages and insurance.
Spain is further along than Canada in contemplating the incorporation of crypto into daily financial affairs, but it is hard not to wonder whether it is just a matter of when — not if — crypto mortgages become a reality here.
New mortgages surge to record high, raising red flag about HELOC growth
August 31, 2021
House-hungry Canadians drove new mortgage volumes up to a quarterly high, soaring 60.2 per cent to more than 410,000 in the second quarter from the year before, according to new data from credit company Equifax Canada.
The size of the average new mortgage loan also jumped by 22.2 per cent from last year to more than $355,000.
This is how much the Big Six banks would have to pay if Trudeau’s tax goes through
August 26, 2021
The Liberal Party is vowing to target bank and life insurance profits with a three per cent surtax on profits over $1 billion, a move they expect will free up an additional $2.5 billion a year in government revenue over the next four years starting from 2022.
Given the sizeable earnings the Canadian banks reported this week, the Big Six could end up contributing a significant amount to government coffers under the plan. But just how much would each bank be forced to pay?
Hut 8 Mining CEO Jaime Leverton on Canada’s bitcoin mining boom
August 26, 2021
The recent run-up in the price of bitcoin is fuelling a new round of interest in crypto mining, especially after a crackdown in China sent miners scrambling for more receptive pastures, including Canada. For Jaime Leverton, who has been chief executive of the Canadian bitcoin miner Hut 8 Mining since December, that spells opportunity. Leverton spoke to The Financial Post’s Stephanie Hughes about the Canadian bitcoin mining scene and what she has in store for Hut 8. This interview has been edited and condensed.
Visa is jumping on the NFT bandwagon with $150,000 CryptoPunk purchase
August 25, 2021
Credit card giant Visa Inc. is wading into the non-fungible token (NFT) space with the purchase of a “CryptoPunk,” which it bought with US$150,000 worth of the Ethereum cryptocurrency.
CryptoPunks, a series of digital avatars each with a unique design, were among the first NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain network when they were released back in 2017.
Liberal housing platform includes foreign home buying freeze, blind bidding ban
August 24, 2021
The Liberal Party is proposing to place a freeze on foreign home buying and to ban blind bidding as part of an election housing platform aimed at improving affordability in Canada’s major cities.
Party leader Justin Trudeau unveiled the platform in a speech to media in Hamilton, Ont., Tuesday.
Posthaste: Credit market rebound may point to an economic recovery – but don’t count out Delta
August 24, 2021
Recovering credit demand may be a sign that the economy is slowly finding its feet again, according to a new report out this morning.
The study by consumer credit reporting agency TransUnion found that overall credit market health improved, with the performance of key consumer credit trends rising by nine basis points from the first quarter to 93.5 points in Q2 2021. The score, tracked by the firm’s Credit Industry Indicator, is influenced by credit supply, consumer behavior and performance.
National Bank becomes the first major Canadian bank to scrap online trading commissions
August 23, 2021
Just in time for Canada’s bank earnings season, the country’s sixth largest bank is stepping up its game by announcing on Monday that it would be scraping its online trading commissions, calling it the “most competitive online brokerage fee structure on the Canadian market.”
Zero-commission trading would take place within clients’ direct investments accounts for Canadian and U.S. stocks, as well as exchange-traded funds, the bank said in a statement. National Bank is expected to be the first major Canadian bank to do so, putting its competitors on notice.
How federal parties plan to fix housing crisis after years of failed policies
August 20, 2021
One of the most pressing issues for Canadians as the election campaign heats up is the soaring cost of housing. The Conservatives and NDP wasted no time in releasing platforms with promises to address the problem, using solutions largely targeting new home construction and favourable tax measures.
The Liberals haven’t been as quick to the draw in releasing a full-fledged party platform on housing. But after years of policies that real estate analysts and financial watchdogs say have failed to meaningfully move the needle, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has plenty of work to do to convince priced-out younger Canadians that he can rein in runaway home prices.
Pornhub case raises questions of accountability for financial firms like Visa
August 19, 2021
The Canadian website Pornhub found itself in the headlines again in June when more than 30 women filed a lawsuit alleging that it, along with parent company Mindgeek, profited off of content promoting non-consensual intercourse, human trafficking and child pornography.
While Pornhub has faced criticism on a number of fronts, the lawsuit, launched by Brown Rudnick LLC in the U.S., is notable for another reason: It also names Visa Inc. and the credit card giant’s merchant banks, alleging they were actively aware of the exploitation and were profiting from it while they settled transactions for the company. It is believed to be the first Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) case that attempts to hold financial institutions accountable for the role they may play in sexual exploitation by processing payments.
Reeling from the pandemic, more artists turn to augmented reality NFTs
August 19, 2021
Toronto-based luxury artist Max Jamali is always on the lookout for ways to innovate and evolve his brand as an artist, which is why he was hooked when the non-fungible token (NFT) trend took hold in late 2020.
“I always wanted to be the first to do things within the art world,” Jamali said, adding that augmented reality took it a step further. “It’s not about someone just buying your art and putting it in the living room, it’s like you can actually create a whole experience in a hotel, in a restaurant — that’s the kind of stuff I’m really tapping into with my art right now.”
Sustainability-linked bonds come with a ‘greenium’ — here’s how they work
August 12, 2021
Green bond issuance in Canada surged to a new high in 2020, but as demand continues to be strong in 2021, a new variation known as sustainability-linked notes is gaining in popularity.
Unlike standard green bonds, in which a company raises funds tied to specific project or purpose, sustainability-linked bonds require a company to meet an overall ESG target, such as reducing emissions. Generally speaking, if the company fails to meet the goals laid out in the bond’s offering statement, the terms of the bond become more onerous for the company.
Posthaste: Toronto housing market may be cooling but it is still too hot for millennials
August 06, 2021
Canada’s most populous city hit its lowest month in home sales this year, reporting a two per cent drop of sales in July from June, according to data from the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB).
That was the fourth monthly decline in a row since the market’s peak in March, but that didn’t stop prices from moving higher.
TRREB’s chief market analyst Jason Mercer said in a release Thursday that we can expect prices to keep going up into next year.
Coinsquare’s new CEO has seriously big plans for the Canadian exchange
August 05, 2021
Martin Piszel cut his teeth in capital markets and trading, most recently with the alternative trading system TradelogiQ. Now, he’s putting that experience to work as the new chief executive of Toronto-based crypto trading platform Coinsquare. While the company has seen some controversy, prompting the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) to crack down on the firm after alleging it artificially inflated trading activity with fake trades two to three years ago, Piszel’s vision is to see it become a fully regulated broker dealer offering a variety of services, while still leading the way in digital currencies. Piszel spoke to Financial Post’s Stephanie Hughes about regulation in the crypto space and his big plans for the company. This interview has been edited and condensed.
‘A shady diffuse network of online funny money’: Cryptocurrencies under scrutiny in trio of U.S. hearings
July 27, 2021
Cryptocurrencies came under scrutiny in the United States on Tuesday as three separate committees explored their viability and risks — one of the most pressing being the use of the digital currencies and their underlying technologies in cybersecurity breaches such as ransomware attacks.
The Senate Banking Committee held a hearing titled “Cryptocurrencies: What are they good for?” that explored some of the ways cryptocurrencies could be useful, but also included some foreboding remarks on how digital currencies could contribute to systemic risk.
Posthaste: Canadian businesses say it’s too soon for the government to take them off life support
July 23, 2021
Things may seem to be returning to normal in cities across Canada, but for many small and medium-sized businesses, there’s still a long way to go. That’s why the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) launched a petition yesterday asking the federal government not to phase out wage and rent subsidies just yet.
Posthaste: What Canadians should consider in a post-pandemic work-from-home world
July 22, 2021
There’s little doubt that the pandemic has been the number one driver of the work-from-home trend lately, having many Canadians feel accustomed to working from the comfort of their couch, their home office, and even their bed.
So accustomed, in fact, that 61 per cent of surveyed Canadians prefer a hybrid work model that sees them spending some days of the week in the office and other days at home, according to professional services and consulting firm Accenture Plc. However, there are a few mental health and labour law considerations employees and their bosses need to take into account in this hybrid world.
Posthaste: Dying enthusiasm for bitcoin pushes it below $30,000 for first time in 4 months
July 21, 2021
Call it a healthy correction or call it price discovery, but bitcoin dropped below US$30,000 for the first time in about four weeks yesterday, raising the question of whether investors are seeing a cool-down on a potentially overheated asset or if this plunge runs parallel to the overall market correction unfolding in the North American markets this week.
Changing hands in Muskoka: The property boom is ushering in a new generation of cottagers
July 20, 2021
The two-bedroom waterfront Port Carling property had been the summer escape for a Courtice, Ont., couple for decades. They purchased the property in 1965. During their years at the cottage, they were fondly remembered as avid sailors who would bring their nieces and nephews up to the area to enjoy Muskoka.
“They were just a lovely, lovely pair of people who made great neighbours,” said Sean Stokes, their cottage neighbour who knew the couple, now in their 80s, for 40 years. “That’s one of the great things that we’ve been blessed with is we have had great neighbours.”
Posthaste: Canada’s luxury real estate market keeps smashing records – and the return to the office won’t change that
July 13, 2021
The relentless march of Canada’s luxury real estate market continues to see strength as multi-million dollar home sales smash records.
Toronto led the charge with a 400 per cent increase in attached home sales worth over $4 million dollars since last year, according to a report from luxury real estate firm Sotheby’s International Canada. In Vancouver, there was a similar frenetic pace in these types of home sales, seeing a boost of 300 per cent year-over-year.
CMHC at a crossroads: Agency faces tough decisions after losing mortgage insurance market share
July 12, 2021
When the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation moved to tighten its underwriting practices last summer, it was the largest provider of mortgage insurance in the country, capturing 49 per cent of new business in the second quarter.
“There is no doubt that we have willingly chosen to forgo some profitable business that our competitors would find appealing,” then-chief executive Evan Siddall wrote in August, in a letter to Canada’s biggest lenders, following the implementation of the stricter standards. Siddall used the letter to caution the banks and others mortgage lenders about risky lending, warning that “there is a dark economic underbelly to this business that I want to expose.”
Posthaste: The high-flying loonie is starting to lose its wings
July 12, 2021
The loonie is starting to lose its wings, tumbling to a two-and-a-half month low, largely fuelled by the June outlook from the U.S. Federal Reserve and — to a lesser degree — falling oil prices.
The Canadian dollar dropped to 80 cents against the greenback last week, the lowest it has been since late April.
Are bank-backed cryptocurrencies the future? One Canadian lender wants to find out
July 08, 2021
At a time when mainstream financial institutions are grappling with how to approach digital assets, one Ontario-based bank is diving right in.
VersaBank, a digital-only ‘Schedule 1’ bank best known for financing corporations and public sector entities, is in the later stages of developing its own digital currency, which it expects to launch later this year, an experiment that would make it the first Canadian bank with its own crypto.
How BNPL became the most lucrative four letters in fintech
July 01, 2021
Buying in instalments used to be a niche payment option, a staple of infomercial hustlers looking to cast the widest net — and present the most affordable price — possible. But if you shopped online during the pandemic, you probably noticed that virtually every major online retailer and thousands of smaller ones are now offering some version of buy-now-pay-later, or BNPL for short, at checkout.
Digital loonie may be inevitable amid rise in competing cryptocurrencies, experts say
June 30, 2021
The Bank of Canada has said steadfastly that it is not currently planning to issue its own digital currency, but a growing chorus of experts suggest the need to compete with private forms of money may end up ultimately forcing the central bank’s hand.
El Salvador’s embrace of bitcoin could launch a financial revolution — or sow the seeds of more instability
June 17, 2021
El Salvador’s decision to adopt bitcoin as legal tender this month has turned the tiny Central American country into a global test case: Can crypto really go mainstream and help resolve some of the issues that have plagued developing countries, or will the still volatile currency only exacerbate the problems?
There’s no doubt which side of that question the country’s president, Nayib Bukele, is on.
Som Seif on his new retirement fund — and why Canada is falling behind on financial innovation
June 10, 2021
Som Seif is no stranger to being the first mover in his industry. A pioneer when it comes to ETFs, Seif’s Purpose Investments earlier this year launched the first bitcoin and ether ETFs to be approved by Canadian regulators, beating U.S. providers to market. Now, Purpose is rolling out a new product that he hopes will revolutionize retirement investing: the Longevity Fund, which mirrors a defined-benefit pension plan by offering an interest rate for life starting at 6.15 per cent, after age 65. Seif spoke to the Financial Post’s Stephanie Hughes on his latest launch and the state of Canadian financial innovation. This interview has been edited and condensed.
FP Explains: What is a stablecoin and why do they make central bankers nervous?
June 10, 2021
Stablecoins have been touted as a unique kind of crypto asset, less volatile than their free-floating brethren such as bitcoin, and thus, perhaps, more suited for transactional rather than speculative ends. Recently, however, regulators who have consistently cast doubt on bitcoin have started expressing fears about stablecoins, too, warning they could lead to a fragmentation of the financial system with a patchwork of coins creating less efficient outcomes for households and businesses. But just what exactly is a stablecoin and how do they work? The Financial Post’s Stephanie Hughes explains.
Amazon is borrowing at record low rates, but corporate Canada isn’t quite as fortunate
June 10, 2021
Amazon.com Inc. broke records when it raised US$18.5 billion in an eight-part bond bonanza earlier this year, taking advantage of the low cost of borrowing during the COVID-19 pandemic to pad its coffers.
It was a staggering sum, but the deal really turned heads for just how cheaply the e-commerce giant was able to raise the cash: just 10 basis points more than U.S. treasuries on the two-year bond and 70 basis points on the 20 year, both records according to the Financial Times.
Business leaders see rapid testing as the key to economic reopening
June 01, 2021
Rolling out rapid tests for COVID-19 was a trial-and-error exercise for Kristen Danson, owner of Ontario-based automotive supply company, Swift Components Corp. It was an exercise that paid off.
“We got the tests in-house, and we thought, OK, we’re ready to roll,” Danson said. “But a lot of thought actually has to go into how to actually implement and give out the test and I think we underestimated that.”
Canada’s big banks still cool on cryptocurrencies even as global financial giants begin to dabble
May 27, 2021
Major international financial services companies have been warming to cryptocurrencies in recent months, but Canada’s big banks do not appear likely to join them any time soon.
Though the banks’ trading platforms include exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that may have exposure to cryptos, none of the Big Five, which are reporting earnings this week, offer a direct avenue to invest in bitcoin or other crypto assets.
Toronto-based digital asset platform Ledn raises $30 million in Series A financing
May 26, 2021
Toronto-based digital asset platform Ledn Inc. has secured $30 million in Series A financing that the company aims to use to expand its workforce and grow its presence in the global financial services market.
The round was led by London-based investment firm Kingsway Capital and saw a group of new investors coming to the table, including hedge fund manager Alan Howard, Seoul-based blockchain team Hashed Investments, Susquehanna trading firm, ParaFi Capital, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian and John Pfeffer. The funding was further supported by returning investors including White Star Capital’s Digital Asset Fund, Coinbase Ventures, Global Founders Capital and CMT Digital.
More financial services companies push to offer gender reassignment benefits to employees
May 25, 2021
A growing number of banking and financial services companies in Canada are offering gender reassignment benefits to their clients and employees as part of their core health coverage.
Scotiabank announced it would add gender reassignment benefits for employees in Canada and the United States starting on June 1, by covering the costs of procedures like rhinoplasty, electrolysis (hair removal), voice training and surgery, as well as facial feminization and masculinization.
High-flying loonie’s ‘good’ dilemma for investors: Ride the streak or shop abroad?
May 20, 2021
The Canadian dollar is riding a six-year high above 83 cents US, a surge that is posing something of a dilemma for investors: should they keep their money at home and try to ride the hot streak or put the strong loonie to work internationally?
David MacNicol, president and portfolio manager at MacNicol & Associates Asset Management, said that investors should keep an eye on the commodities cycle if they’re trying to decide between the two options.
The loonie is soaring — and it isn’t just an oil story
May 19, 2021
Surging demand for commodities and the Bank of Canada’s relatively hawkish stance on interest rates are helping to propel the loonie to levels not seen in years, according to analysts.
The Canadian dollar has been trading above 83 cents US in recent days, its highest level since 2015.
Timber? Why investors looking to get in on the lumber boom may be late to the party
May 17, 2021
A surge in demand for wood brought on by the pandemic housing boom has sent lumber prices to all-time highs this year, but investors looking to build on significant run-ups in forestry stocks may have a harder time going forward, according to at least one analyst.
Lumber futures were trading at US$1,630 per thousand board feet late this past week, after touching a record high just shy of US$1,700 earlier in the month, quadruple the price of a year ago.
Everything you need to know about the top cryptocurrencies — but were too confused to ask
May 14, 2021
Not that long ago, cryptocurrencies were a curiosity, viewed with enthusiasm among a small group of early investors — and with a heavy dose of skepticism from the broader institutional investor community.
All that has changed. In recent months, the coin that was largely traded among tech junkies has been embraced by big-name companies, financial institutions, and even auction house Sotheby’s, which held the first auction ever on Wednesday to accept cryptocurrency as payment for a physical piece of art, receiving US$12.9 million in 14 minutes of bidding for street artist Banksy’s iconic piece, “Love Is In The Air.”
How to hack a pipeline: Colonial attack puts energy cybersecurity in spotlight
May 10, 2021
The weekend ransomware attack that forced Colonial Pipeline Co. to shut the largest U.S. fuel pipeline has been one of the most disruptive cybersecurity incidents ever reported.
While Colonial hopes to have operations restored by the end of the week, questions about the attack remain. For one, how did the hackers, believed to be a Russian group called DarkSide, gain access to the Colonial’s systems? And just how secure is pipeline infrastructure more generally?
Suncor eyes share buybacks, debt reduction with free cash flow boost: CEO
May 04, 2021
The head of Suncor Energy Inc. is charting the course for share buybacks and debt reduction with stronger free cash flow from the company’s first quarter results.
Mark Little, president and Chief Executive Officer at Suncor, told BNN Bloomberg that while the company typically uses its shares as currency for merger and acquisition activity, this strategy would be difficult to implement when the share price is weakened. Before the company uses cash for potential acquisitions, it would first need to identify synergies for shareholders.
April Vancouver home sales surge 342% from 2020 pandemic lows
May 04, 2021
Vancouver home sales bounced back from pandemic lows last month as sales surged 342 per cent year-over-year, according to data from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV).
Residential home sales in the region totalled 4,908 last month, driven by heightened demand in the Metro Vancouver area, which helped push the composite benchmark price 12 per cent higher year-over-year to $1.15 million.
New Toronto condo sales near pre-pandemic levels
May 03, 2021
Toronto’s downtown condominium segment is staging a comeback with sales nearing pre-pandemic levels.
New condo sales in the Greater Toronto Area totalled 5,385 units in the first quarter of 2021, which was just shy of the 5,593 figure from a year ago, according to a market report by real estate research firm Urbanation Inc.
Sweats to impress: How the pandemic is shaking up office wear
April 30, 2021
Throughout the pandemic, suits sat in closets collecting dust as Canadians flocked to sweatpants, baggy shirts, and other athleisure trends while working from home.
Those cozy Canadians may not be too eager to get rid of their snug threads once they begin returning to the office, raising the question of what suitable office wear will look like in the anticipated post-pandemic world of balancing working in-office and from home.
CN Rail CEO sees KCS deal key to becoming a true ‘NAFTA railroad’
April 28, 2021
The head of Canadian National Railway Co. said its planned merger with Kansas City Southern (KCS) will bring the Montreal-based rail company closer to becoming a true North American railroad able to serve the continent-wide free trade agreement.
“We’ve always had our eyes, back to the days of Paul Tellier, about being the NAFTA railroad not just by partnering commercially with the KCS to the marketing alliance that we had 20 years ago, but also at some point making an acquisition,” said JJ Ruest, president and chief executive officer at CN Rail, in a broadcast interview.
Structural change, not ‘gift-bag’ items, missing from budget: Manitoba’s Pallister
April 22, 2021
The Liberal government’s latest budget falls short on giving the Canadian economy what it needs to find its footing again after the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister.
“[There’s] very little attention paid to how we pay for all this stuff,” Pallister said in a broadcast interview Thursday.
Metro’s blowout sales growth to slow in pandemic’s second year: CEO
April 22, 2021
Metro Inc. is bracing investors for more subdued sales growth after panic-buying in the early days of the pandemic allowed the supermarket operator to deliver a stretch of blowout gains.
In an interview Thursday, Metro President and Chief Executive Officer Eric La Flèche said his company is running into the reality of tough COVID-era in-store sales comparisons. Indeed, same-store food sales were up 5.5 per cent in the last quarter, compared to double-digit gains in the three prior quarters.
JetBlue expanding into Canada, ‘high-fare’ incumbents on notice
April 21, 2021
JetBlue Airways flights will soon head northward to Canada, as the popular carrier expands into this country for the first time.
The U.S. airline announced Wednesday that it will be touching down in Vancouver as its first Canadian destination, offering service from Vancouver International Airport to New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and seasonal flights to Boston Logan International Airport beginning in the summer of 2022.
Small businesses speak out on what they need from the federal budget
April 15, 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic ravaged the Canadian small business community, leaving a trail of shuttered storefronts and “For Lease” signs in its wake. As the country stares down a third wave of lockdowns, there’s been a growing call from stakeholders for the government to invoke further measures during the upcoming federal budget that will not leave businesses deeper in debt on the other side of the pandemic.
Big tech companies flock to the gaming industry: Enthusiast Gaming CEO
April 14, 2021
Some big technology companies are ramping up their investment in the video gaming industry as younger generations pour into the space, said the head of a Canadian gaming content firm.
Canada must recognize ‘generational transfer of wealth’ in housing: Victor Dodig
April 13, 2021
The head of one of Canada’s largest banks is wading into the housing debate, arguing supply constraints need to be addressed amid surging home prices.
Victor Dodig, Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, also told BNN Bloomberg he supports government intervention in an overheated real estate market as long as it can contribute to stable home ownership.
There’s no ‘magic switch’ to reset home values: Liberal MP
April 12, 2021
One Liberal MP argues that a housing correction may not be the silver bullet solution needed to fix Canada’s mounting housing affordability crisis.
“When people tell you they want to cut housing prices by 10 per cent… there is no magic switch in the Finance Department or the Bank of Canada where you just go to it and reset everybody’s home equity rates and housing prices across the country,” Spadina-Fort York MP Adam Vaughan, whose portfolio covers housing issues as parliamentary secretary for the Liberal government, said in an interview.
Housing policy must cool market imbalance: RBC CEO
April 08, 2021
Amid a scorching real estate market, the head of the Royal Bank of Canada warned that the country needs short-term policy changes to cool the stark supply and demand mismatch.
Canada needs ‘very targeted relief’: Former TD Bank CEO
April 05, 2021
Bay Street veteran Ed Clark is expressing concerns Canada is overdoing it with pandemic stimulus that he thinks may be too broad and improperly targeted.
In a television interview Monday, Clark, the former Chief Executive Officer of TD Bank Group and current board nominee at Spin Master Corp., said policymakers would be better off implementing extremely precise supports rather than broad-stroke stimulus.
Businesses’ excess cash won’t drive the recovery: CIBC’s Tal
April 05, 2021
It isn’t just households with pent-up savings during the pandemic: businesses are also sitting on a massive cash cushion ready to be unleashed once the world returns to normal. However, the country can’t count on that capital alone to drive the pandemic recovery, according to one Bay Street economist.
MLB looks to NFTs as a ‘cutting edge opportunity’: Blue Jays President
March 31, 2021
Baseball won’t be sitting on the bench when it comes to the cryptocurrency game.
Mark Shapiro, president and chief executive officer of the Toronto Blue Jays, told BNN Bloomberg in an interview that the league was looking at non-fungible tokens (NFT) as a “cutting edge opportunity” that could help bolster fan interest in the sport.
Swoop adds B.C. flights for summer season to meet pent-up demand
March 31, 2021
Discount airline company Swoop is gearing up for the peak summer travel season by adding more routes to three cities in British Columbia, starting in May.
Housing policy must ‘break the psychology’ to cool prices: BMO
March 30, 2021
BMO Economics is adding its voice to the concerns being raised on how policymakers need to act immediately to cool Canada’s hot housing market, recommending they break the market psychology that has caused home prices across the continue to soar.
Condo investors ‘stealing activity’ from future amid low rates: Tal
March 29, 2021
Real estate investors are piling into the condo market and taking advantage of low interest rates – even if it means withstanding short-term losses, according to a prominent Bay Street economist.
How the ‘COVID shuffle’ made 2020 the year for luxury real estate
Paul Matysek, CEO of Gold X Mining, was taken by the lush, forested scenery of Whistler, B.C. and its active recreational lifestyle in both summer and winter. This stood in stark contrast to life in West Vancouver during the pandemic, where he owns his primary residence.
WestJet adds western routes; CEO urges domestic travel
March 26, 2021
WestJet Airlines Ltd. announced that it would be adding 11 new domestic routes across Western Canada starting June in a push towards its COVID-19 recovery.
The airline will be offering nonstop service to 15 communities in Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario, according to a news release issued Friday.
‘Doing nothing is not a solution’: Experts weigh in on carbon tax ruling
The Supreme Court of Canada ruled Thursday that the federal government’s carbon tax was constitutional, furthering the Liberals’ climate change mandate.
However, reactions to the decision from stakeholders and policy experts were decidedly mixed. Here’s a sample of what some of them had to say.
Powell playing ‘risky game’ with markets on inflation: CIBC’s Tal
March 22, 2021
Following the U.S. Federal Reserve’s decision to leave interest rates low for the foreseeable future last week, Chair Jerome Powell signalled that inflation was under control. One prominent Bay Street economist says: Think again.
Rogers-Shaw deal could be ‘win-win’ for Feds: former Telus CFO
March 18, 2021
Rogers Communications Inc.’s blockbuster proposed takeover of Shaw Communications Inc. could break down some barriers in expanding Canada’s broadband coverage, according to a former industry executive.
Canadians need to mind ‘dangers of debt’: Former CMHC chair
March 15, 2021
A former head of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation is sounding the alarm on Canada’s rising debt problem, an issue that has gone unaddressed in the country’s recent run-up in home prices.
‘This is not normal’: experts weigh in on housing bubble warnings
March 12, 2021
Real estate analysts and economists alike continue to weigh in on the state of Canada’s housing market, which was recently described by one prominent Bay Street economist as one of the “biggest bubbles of all time”.
Here’s what they told BNN Bloomberg this week.
‘One of the biggest bubbles of all time’: Rosenberg warns on housing
March 10, 2021
Canada’s hot housing markets are setting off alarm bells for one of North America’s best known economists.
David Rosenberg, the chief economist and strategist at Rosenberg Research, described real estate valuations in this country as a “huge bubble” of historic proportions.
Sudden five-year mortgage rate spike could be ‘recessionary’: Tal
March 08, 2021
One Bay Street economist said the five-year mortgage rate growth needs to take a slow-and-steady approach – or else risk hurting the Canadian economy.
Benjamin Tal, deputy chief economist of CIBC World Markets Inc., told BNN Bloomberg the risk of a sudden rate spike could come from the Bank of Canada’s sentiment in undermining inflation concerns.
‘Priced out’: Analysts weigh in on first-time home buyer problem
March 05, 2021
Amid a hot housing market in major Canadian cities that has pushed ownership further out of reach for young first-time prospective home buyers, there are increasing calls for the government to address the issue – starting with the tone from the top.
‘We are much better off today’: TD CEO on Canada’s economic outlook
March 01, 2021
The head of TD Bank Group is optimistic about Canada’s economic outlook as vaccines roll out.
“We are much better off today than we were 90 days ago,” said Bharat Masrani, president and chief executive of TD Bank Group, in an interview Monday. “[The COVID-19 vaccine rollout has] been a bit clunky, but from my perspective, these things will get sorted out.”
From ‘Big loss for Canada’ to ‘Immoral’: Reaction pours in on Machin’s resignation
February 26, 2021
Mark Machin’s swift resignation as head of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board following a trip to the United Arab Emirates where he received a COVID-19 vaccination drew a range of reaction from finance leaders, governance experts, and veteran politicians.
Canadians sitting on $100B in excess cash: CIBC’s Tal
February 25, 2021
Canadians who curtailed their spending over the past year as the pandemic raged on could be sitting on as much as $100 billion, according to new data from CIBC.
“More and more money is being accumulated on the sidelines,” said Benjamin Tal, who co-authored the report and is deputy chief economist at CIBC World Markets Inc., in a television interview. “The question is what people will do with it.”
‘Get people off support’: Dream Office REIT CEO on COVID benefits
February 19, 2021
One business leader is speaking out on COVID-19 benefits and its impact on the recovery.
“Get people off of support,” Michael Cooper, chair and chief executive officer of Dream Office Real Estate Investment Trust said in an interview on Friday before a federal government announcement extending two recovery benefits. “People have got to make their own money. And whether that’s companies or individuals, we’ve got to get people taking care of themselves.”
‘Not even dreaming’: Tal says Bank of Canada won’t move before Fed
February 18, 2021
The Bank of Canada is likely to wait for the U.S. Federal Reserve to be the first central bank to hike interest rates before doing so itself, according to one Bay Street economist.
Corporate downgrade ratio in 2020 worst since financial crisis: DBRS Morningstar
February 17, 2021
Corporations worldwide were hit with a flurry of downgrades last year as the pandemic’s impact bore down, according to a report by credit rating agency DBRS Morningstar.
Peloton home fitness craze ‘not a threat at all’ to gyms: GoodLife CEO
February 16, 2021
As COVID-19 closed down gyms and recreation centers across the country, more Canadians turned to home gyms and home exercise programs like Peloton to break a sweat. Despite the shift, the head of Canada’s largest health club company, GoodLife Fitness Centres Inc., is not concerned about this trend.
Canada is ‘doing it right’ with vaccine strategy: Novavax CEO
February 03, 2021
Despite the criticism surrounding Canada’s vaccine strategy, Novavax Inc. is doubling down on its partnership with the country. “I can tell you I think Canada’s doing it right,” said Stanley Erck, president and chief executive officer of Novavax. “They’re going to be one of the first countries to get a vaccine from us and we think we have a great vaccine.”
Miscounted population part of home demand ‘puzzle’: CIBC’s Tal
February 01, 2021
The housing market may not be losing steam any time soon. Benjamin Tal, deputy chief economist at CIBC, said he anticipates a post-pandemic population boom that will strengthen the demand for rental units and housing.
‘It will be chaotic’: CIBC’s Tal sees bankruptcy wave once government support ends
January 28, 2021
Record-low insolvencies may be a metric pointing to good news, but it may come with an asterisk as once government supports are lifted, the country will see a wave of business closures, according to CIBC Deputy Chief Economist Benjamin Tal.
‘Good reason to be optimistic about 2021’: CN Rail CEO
January 27, 2021
The head of Canada’s largest railway says the company expects a positive second half of 2021, pinning his hopes to fewer COVID-19 cases and the nation’s prospects for economic recovery.
Now is the time to toughen up at the border: Freeland
January 26, 2021
With the threat of new COVID-19 variants detected in places like the U.K. and South Africa, the federal government is doubling down on its priority to put firmer travel measures in place to protect Canada’s borders.
Canadians ‘overdoing it’ with work-from-home trend: CIBC’s Tal
January 25, 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic has transported many Canadians from the downtown cores of major cities to the comforts of home with the remote-work trend in full swing. However, one prominent economist is concerned that workers expecting the trend to last may be “overdoing it.”
Strong getting stronger: Retailers scouting property amid COVID
January 22, 2021
Amid shuttering storefronts and business closures, the pandemic’s small business devastation has brought discount real estate opportunities for retailers with bulked-up balance sheets.
Keystone XL is ‘cooked’: Former NAFTA advisor James Moore
January 20, 2021
The controversial Keystone XL pipeline has been dealt a final blow with U.S. President Joe Biden’s confirmed plans to cancel its construction permits, according to one advisor.
“I think Keystone XL is cooked, I think it’s done,” James Moore, senior business advisor at Dentons and a former member of the NAFTA Advisory Council, said in an interview on Wednesday.
What Canadian investors should watch for after Joe Biden’s inauguration
January 19, 2021
The weeks leading up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday have been rife with tension and uncertainty, as outgoing U.S. President Donald Trump’s lingering policies and Senate trial for his second impeachment looms over the transition. Despite this, Canadian investors have a chance to seek out new opportunities in different sectors amid the change.
More ‘zombie businesses,’ failures ahead in Ontario lockdowns: CFIB
January 12, 2021
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) warned that it will have to revise business closure estimates, just hours ahead of the Ontario government’s announcement of new COVID-19 restrictions.
Indigo CEO calls for government compensation amid lockdowns
January 11, 2021
With more anticipated restrictions in Ontario set to be announced by Premier Doug Ford on Tuesday, Indigo Books & Music Inc. Chief Executive Officer Heather Reisman called for the government to take more action in supporting the non-essential businesses it has shut down during the pandemic.
Pandemic, oil downturn hitting Calgary’s office real estate with one-two punch
January 08, 2021
Sharlene Massie, founder of Calgary-based employment agency About Staffing, made great time on her commute from a nearby suburb earlier this week, reaching the city’s empty downtown core in only 15 minutes. The trip in non-pandemic times would take 45 minutes out of her day – but this shortened commute came at a cost.
National foreign buyer tax may have unintended consequences: Experts
December 18, 2020
When the Liberal government proposed the foreign homebuyer tax in its fiscal update last month as part of a plan to lower home prices, it drew skepticism from observers who say the policy would fall short in addressing housing affordability.
It is also drawing criticism from some experts who argue that the proposed tax, for which the federal Liberals did not provide specific details, will get in the way of economic activity and housing supply growth.
‘Time is running out’: Restaurants hang by a thread during second wave
November 13, 2020
Another wave of restrictions is set to add new pressures to the ailing restaurant industry, leaving many business owners who managed through the first wave wondering if they can survive a second.
COVID-19 forces Canadians to adjust retirement plans
November 09, 2020
The pandemic has added new challenges to Canadians’ retirement plans, putting as many as 5.5 million out of work at the peak of job losses, potentially pushing some to dip into their savings or pull back on building their nest egg. The financial shortfall is prompting Canadians to change their own retirement picture.
Be vigilant, not alarmist about BoC balance sheet: economist
October 27, 2020
The Bank of Canada’s ballooning balance sheet has raised eyebrows this year, but one economist says while concern is warranted “we shouldn’t be alarmist. “When confronted with crisis, you don’t hold back, you attempt to crush it with a large policy response up front,” Brett House, the vice president and deputy chief economist at Scotiabank, told Yahoo Finance Canada.
Canada pulls back from ‘debt deferral cliff’
October 14, 2020
While the rate of mortgage deferrals in Canada remains in the double-digits, it has been on the decline in recent months, blunting concern of a looming ‘debt deferral cliff’. Data collected by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and made available to Yahoo Finance Canada show that deferrals fell to 10.89 per cent in August from 12.28 per cent in July.
Ten Canadian companies with rapid COVID tests awaiting Health Canada approval
October 06, 2020
At least ten Canadian companies have developed rapid COVID-19 tests and are awaiting approval by Health Canada. Epidemiologists say having rapid tests available to Canadians should help get the country past the pandemic sooner, but that the strategy for rolling them out is key.
Timing is everything with federal supports for Canada’s Black-owned businesses
October 05, 2020
On any given day, Dina Helen Essoka balances a corporation dealing in both private security services and African food products. Essoka described a challenging debut for the business created just last year, finding difficulty in securing funding to cover the start-up costs. Essoka relied on her own out-of-pocket funds and soon, the business found its footing.
“Childcare is the chokepoint of the recovery”: economist
September 24, 2020
The federal government signalled it would include a child care action plan in its recovery priorities to support women returning to the workforce. The plan can’t come quickly enough as daycare centres are forced to shutter and the economic recovery stalls, argues Armine Yalnizyan, economist and Atkinson Foundation fellow on the future of workers. Yalnizyan says this marks a pivotal moment in designing an early learning and childcare system that serves the needs of the Canada’s economic future – one that the country cannot afford to fumble.
“Profit over people”: The business of Canada’s for-profit long-term care sector called into question
September 21, 2020
Aaliyah* faced a lot of pressure and professional oversight working in an Extendicare long-term care home in the Toronto area over the past two years, but what she saw during the COVID-19 pandemic couldn’t compare. Amidst growing COVID-19 cases in April, she describes a lack of communication from management, inadequate training for frontline workers, some isolated patients missing meals, and slings being used across bedroom doors to prevent patients from wandering – there were even talks of sedating patients to control their movements.
Vulnerable groups remain a concern after debt-to-income drop
September 17, 2020
The drop in the debt-to-disposable income ratio reported by Statistics Canada may not paint an accurate picture of the country’s debt profile. The ratio fell from 175.4 per cent to 158.2 per cent in the second quarter of 2020, though one economist says government supports coming to an end could present risks to groups that have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.
“House prices to hold steady in the Fall, but 2021 is a different story: RE/MAX”
August 27, 2020
Low inventory and high demand will keep house prices moving higher until at least the end of 2020, according to a new report by RE/MAX. After that, the economic fallout from the pandemic are expected to catch up with the market.
‘What will a temporary layoff do to my benefits?’ Here’s what you need to know if you’ve been laid off
August 17, 2020
Jobs are slowly returning to the Canadian economy. According to the latest Statistics Canada report, 419,000 jobs were added in July. If you were temporarily laid off due to the COVID-19 shutdown, your job is probably one of them and no doubt you have questions about issues such as job security and benefits.
“Loyalty Wars: company rewards programs gear up to attract customers”
August 12, 2020
The loyalty program wars are ramping up with deeper discounts for cash-strapped Canadians. Just this week, Air Canada announced its launch of a revamped Aeroplan to stoke interest in the travel industry, dropping expensive carrier charges and allowing members to use their points to book seats on any Air Canada flight. Other companies are either expanding rewards plans or rolling out their own programs to entice consumers to start spending again.
“The dream will become a nightmare,” Siddall says on wealth inequality
July 29, 2020
The growing wealth gap between homeowners and renters is an issue that the Canadian Mortgage Housing Corporation (CMHC) is striving to solve, especially with the economic impacts from COVID-19 widening the divide. For the organization, that means tackling the country’s obsession with homeownership and promoting alternatives.
Don’t have a Post-CERB game plan? Here’s where to start
July 27, 2020
If you’re concerned about your finances after the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) runs out, you’re not alone. By mid-July, the Government of Canada received 8.4 million unique applications from unemployed Canadians, all of whom will find themselves cut off from the $2,000 a month benefit in September. Many Canadians are living close to the edge. The Canadian Payroll Association found that 47 per cent of people were living paycheque to paycheque in 2017, which means that people without a plan can have a financial catastrophe on their hands.
Claims CMHC is funding home equity tax research ‘inaccurate’
July 17, 2020
The Canadian Mortgage Housing Corporation (CMHC) says claims it invested $250,000 in federal home equity tax research are “not accurate”. A CMHC media relations representative told Yahoo Finance Canada in an e-mail that the funding will be used for the Solutions Lab initiative in an 18-month project to improve housing affordability in Canada, exploring an array of solutions.
Get used to fewer employees for the next three months: Statistics Canada
July 15, 2020
When it comes to staffing levels during the COVID-19 recovery, most Canadian businesses don’t have all hands on deck. A Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) survey found that only one third of businesses had re-hired their pre-pandemic staff capacity. It’s likely going to stay that way for some time: In a separate survey on Canadian business conditions, newly released from Statistics Canada, almost two-thirds of businesses expect their number of employees to remain the same over the next three months.
Canada can expect a slow-and-steady credit growth after the pandemic: economist
July 07, 2020
Canadian credit borrowing will see a slow return to normal, with the credit growth trend expected to stay below average during the recovery phase following a steep contraction during the pandemic, economists say.
Consumer ‘COVID-19 hangover’ means a slow return to normal for businesses
June 22, 2020
The country is slowly re-emerging from lockdown one region at a time, but Canadians are not in a rush to go out and spend like they would in pre-pandemic days. Businesses can expect a gradual return to normal as consumer anxiety slowly lifts.
New CERB bill is punitive for low-income workers: economist
June 15, 2020
The federal government says it is working on a solution to extend the Canadian Emergency Relief Benefit (CERB) for the 8.4 million unique applicants relying on it. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did not give details in a press conference Monday morning, but said there would be more to announce later this week. Before today, the July 4 end date was fast-approaching, prompting concerns for Canadians who may not have a job to return to post-pandemic or for the many workers who have had their hours significantly reduced.
Daycares and parents tell Ford reopening is ‘too soon’
June 12, 2020
When Barry Choi heard the provincial government was reopening daycares across the province, his first thought was “too soon.”
About a week ago, the daycare that Choi’s two-year-old daughter, Scarlett, attends opened for just one day to allow parents to pick up a few things their children left behind in March.
Eviction bans are not expected to hurt commercial landlords: Colliers
June 11, 2020
Commercial landlords across Canada will be confronted with many challenges after months under lockdown, though eviction bans are not expected to be one of them, according to John Duda, the president of real estate management services for Colliers Canada.
New CMHC requirements will have buyers flocking to the market: brokers
June 09, 2020
Experts in the real estate industry say CMHC’s new, strict lending measures will trigger a surge in home purchase volume as potential home buyers rush to the mortgage market before July 1, when these policies take effect.
‘The hurdles I have to jump are unbelievable:’ How systemic racism in banks and support networks is holding back Black entrepreneurs
June 06, 2020
Before Pauline Thomas started her own business, Comfort Bras, she worked a corporate job at a multibillion-dollar firm and brought home a six-figure salary.
But whenever she applied for a bank loan, it wasn’t the dollar figure the person on the other side of the counter saw, it was her skin colour.
Record low insolvencies in Canada are the calm before the debt storm, says experts
June 05, 2020
Insolvency filings hit a record low in April, dropping by 43.5 per cent compared to last year. This drop followed a full month of lockdowns across most Canadian provinces, according to a report by Scotiabank. Once the economy reopens, these insolvency filings are expected to not only bounce back, but they could trigger a massive wave, according to licensed insolvency trustees.
Continued stimulus for business will be key to economic recovery from COVID-19: economist
June 05, 2020
Earlier this week, the Bank of Canada walked back their negative outlook for the economy, stating that the severe impact of COVID-19 “appears to have peaked”. However, the report still leaves a lot of questions unanswered, according to CIBC executive director and senior economist Royce Mendes.
COVID-19 puts international student-driven economic growth in Canada at risk
June 03, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic could put a strain on Canada’s international student sector, according to a new report by RBC. The study, published Tuesday morning, found that there was a 45 per cent drop in international student permits in March compared to last year.
“They’re whistling past the graveyard”: Siddall pushes back on housing outlook criticism
May 29, 2020
After the Canadian Mortgage Housing Corporation (CMHC) released its projection that house prices could drop up to 18 per cent over the next 12 months, real estate company RE/MAX responded with an outlook of its own.
Don’t expect working from home to kill the corporate office
May 27, 2020
The world is seeing the largest work-from-home experiment in history. The list of major companies allowing employees to work from home, even after the pandemic, continues to grow to change with the future of work.
Upcoming bank loan loss provisions won’t be ‘fireworks’, but will have a long-lasting impact
May 25, 2020
Analysts are expecting one of the most dramatic quarters in years. Bryden Teich, partner and portfolio manager at Avenue Investment Management, warns that the pandemic’s effects on banks’ loan loss provisions won’t come as a one-off hit to the financial sector, but will be much longer-lasting.
Students asking universities for refunds, but it’s not that simple
May 19, 2020
When Ye En Kim came to Canada to study engineering, she was eager to practice at McGill University’s state-of-the-art labs in Montreal. She wanted to get hands-on knowledge in research projects and immerse herself in Canadian culture. COVID-19 quickly ruined that strategy, leading to class suspensions, campus closures and online classes. The labs closed, shutting Kim out of what she sees as a valuable part of her education.
Not all provinces are equal in the COVID-19 debt crisis
May 06, 2020
COVID-19 has exposed many weaknesses in the Canadian economy – particularly with mounting debt loads across the country. With the latest net debt percentage of 53.4 per cent, the federal government still holds the bulk of the debt load compared to the provinces.
A look back at Stephen Poloz’s legacy
May 01, 2020
Tiff Macklem’s appointment as the governor of the Bank of Canada closes the chapter on Stephen Poloz’s tenure. On June 2, Poloz will step down and pass the torch to Macklem, who served as senior deputy governor from 2010-2014.
Provincial bond market purchases are a start, but may show too much restraint: economist
April 24, 2020
The Bank of Canada introduced one of the most drastic provincial funding measures the country has ever seen, doubling its balance sheet and outgrowing any strategy taken in 2008 – and it might not be enough.
Canada braces for higher mortgage defaults – but it won’t be the next “U.S. crash of ’08”
April 20, 2020
Rising unemployment and high debt is expected to boost mortgage loan delinquencies in Canada, though experts say it won’t play out like the U.S. subprime mortgage crisis of 2008.
Credit card payment deferrals won’t hurt your credit score – if you get it in writing
April 07, 2020
The federal government is encouraging Canada’s banks to do more to help struggling Canadians during COVID-19: “We continue to have discussions with them that are really focused on the need for banks to do more,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a press conference Tuesday. “We acknowledged that they did go in the right direction. But we see every day that this crisis is more and more of a challenge for everyone.” Trudeau added that the government is working on other credit solutions for Canadians that will be announced in the next few days.
Canada could be headed for negative yields, as quantitative easing begins
April 03, 2020
The Bank of Canada’s secondary market purchase program seems to be working for the bond market, according to one analyst.
The central bank released details for the secondary market purchase of federal government securities on Tuesday, as part of a series of liquidity measures that include the country’s first-ever quantitative easing program. Canadian investors are beginning to see the effects play out.
Medicago says coronavirus vaccine could be ready for human trial by July
April 02, 2020
One of the companies on Ottawa’s list for $192 million vaccine development funding still does not know how much it will receive from the federal government, but says the money will help push its vaccine development from early testing to full clinical trials. Medicago, a private Quebec-based biotech company, says it has already received $7 million from the government of Quebec.
Were Canadians gouged by the airlines on their emergency flights home? Some say they were
March 28, 2020
[Also featured on the front page of the Business Section on Monday, March 30]
It was meant to be another regular trip to Mexico for Donna and Marcello Prete, until the coronavirus swept across the globe and put international flights at a standstill by the end of March. Prompted by a call to come home from their Prime Minister and on the advice of their doctor in Mexico, all they wanted was to return to Canada. However, the costs for them to do so – and many Canadians – were soaring.
The Bank of Canada’s measures may fuel higher corporate debt loads
March 25, 2020
A burgeoning debt load in Canada’s corporate sector could make an economic recession deeper and more long lasting. One economist says that low interest rates and income interruptions could work in tandem to dig the country into a corporate default spiral that’s harder to bounce back from.
Need to cancel a trip due to COVID-19? Here’s how to get your money back
March 12, 2020
With the federal government issuing an advisory against “non-essential” travel outside the country, and the inconvenience of having to self-isolate upon the return from a holiday, many Canadians are desperately trying to cancel vacations that may have been books months ago.
Has Silicon Valley Lost Its Shine?
February 26, 2020
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has built and managed many successful tech start-ups – but if he had to do it again today – he would choose anywhere other than Silicon Valley.
In late January, Zuckerberg spoke on-stage at a conference in Utah about the San Francisco Bay area, holding no specific ill-will to the place he moved to at 19-years-old, but acknowledging its faults: “I like the Bay Area, so I’m not super negative on it, but I do think on balance if I was starting from scratch now, I would not pick the Bay Area,” Zuckerberg explained, further stating that it was “too short-term focused”.
Masterclass: The Real Cost of Sending Your Kids to Uni
February 25, 2020
Your child worked hard through high school, getting good grades and having the ambition to launch a successful career. Now here you are, helping your son or daughter get into the school of their dreams. This move will do wonders for their career – but have you thought of what it might do to your pocketbook?
Why Jamaica’s Small Stock Exchange Dominates the Global Markets
February 20, 2020
The world’s most successful market index comes from an unlikely place: Jamaica. The Jamaican Stock Exchange (JSE) has been in the top-five highest-performing market indexes in the world over the past few years, being something of a dark horse in global economics.
Why Cannabis Investors are Targeting Germany as the next Budding Market
February 14, 2020
Like many other countries across Europe, Germany has not fully embraced legal recreational cannabis. Despite that, the country has become an industry leader in Europe since it legalized medical marijuana in 2017 and has caught the eyes of global cannabis investors. Why are Canadian cannabis companies seeing green in Germany?
How to navigate the profits and pitfalls of the gig economy
February 13, 2020
The working world has changed a lot in recent years. Ask any of your friends if they have a side hustle on top of their full-time job and many of them will probably say “yes.” In fact, for some of them, their employment is probably exclusively made up of side hustles or a mosaic of freelance jobs that make up the “gig economy.”
Amazon and Visa Aim to Shake-Up Retail with Palm Payments
February 11, 2020
Amazon and Visa are considering taking biometrics and fintech trends a step further with “palm payments”, according to people familiar with the project speaking with the Wall Street Journal. The idea is to allow consumers to pay for purchases using credit card information connected to their hand with payment terminals at check-out sections in brick-and-mortar locations. It’s a new model that eliminates the need for cash and credit cards for consumers as well as envisioning a cashierless retail future.
The Lessons Learned from the Tech Unicorn Stampede of ‘19
February 03, 2020
Even more valuable than the profits investors make in the stock market are the hard lessons they learn along the way… Thing is, the lessons are only valuable if they’re actually learned.
I’ve been meaning to write about this topic for a while since the year 2019 presented an interesting case study with (often misplaced) vaulting optimism in tech companies from venture capitalists. It was the year where investors seemed to have ditched the age-old wisdom of putting your money on a company that had a secure business plan, was either profitable or had a clear path to profitability, kept debt loads low and had a positive press following. It was the year when venture capitalists flocked from shiny new company to shiny new company, picking up shares in the companies with the sleekest packaging and best marketing team. For most of these companies, the ‘packaging’ laid a temporary veneer over huge financial losses, a chaotic board, endless controversy, and no clear plan in place to turn financials around.
5G Is Coming. What Does This Mean for Us?
January 21, 2020
The 5G network is fast-approaching, promising a stronger network with wider coverage and processing speeds unlike anything we’ve seen before. The headlines surrounding 5G have all at once been starkly political, brimming with optimism, and gloomily suspicious with health impacts. The network’s adoption seems inevitable, so what exactly does this mean for us?
Fintech Trends That Investors Should Be Watching for the Next Decade
January 17, 2020
Financial technology (or “fintech”) is where banking and big tech intersect to provide quick banking, investing, and payment services for clients. The last ten years, blockchain and artificial intelligence dominated headlines with everything from e-payments, arranging loans and insurance, wealth management, and just your day-to-day banking.
How Finland Plans to Be on Top When It Comes to AI Technology
January 17, 2020
The great hand of AI technology and automation is poised to claw away thousands of jobs in various countries, threatening to leave the less technologically-inclined in the dust. Finland is among the first countries to recognize the threat of an untrained workforce and is now offering a free online course called “Elements of AI” to ensure that their citizens are well-equipped to shoulder the future of work.
The End of Nine-to-Five: The Inevitable Gig Economy
January 12, 2020
If you worked an office job many years ago and five o’clock rolled around, you would stretch, gather your things, and clock out for the day. Maybe you’d even leave a half-hour earlier if it’s a Friday. It’s five o’clock freedom and you’re probably running through weekend plans, chores to cross off your to-do list — anything other than your workday.
U.S.-Iranian Tensions Are Shaking up Politics – and the Markets
January 09, 2020
What goes up can come back down just as easily. The S&P 500 rally in the first two days of 2020 was quickly interrupted when U.S. President Donald Trump ordered and airstrike that claimed the life of top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani in Iraq.
For Better or Worse, More Millennials are Finding the Gig Economy a Necessity
January 02, 2020
Canada’s job market has shown a weakening supply of stable positions, even reporting that as many as 71,000 jobs were lost in November. The unemployment rate increased to 5.9 per cent according to Statistics Canada. In this precarious work environment, more millennials are relying on the gig economy, transforming the nine-to-five workday to a 24/7 work life so that Canadians can get ahead of – or even keep up with – growing costs.
Amuka Esports Invests to give the Canadian Gaming Industry a Level-Up
December 20, 2019
Esports is a rapidly growing global industry, first finding its legs in the Asian markets before surging in popularity in the U.S. According to Statista, the esports industry had a global market capitalization of $865 million USD in 2018 – and it’s expected to grow. For the sports purists who have their doubts about the industry, the North American League of Legends Championship Series Spring Split Finals drew in a larger viewership than the Super Bowl this year.
Why Millennials Choose To Be Entrepreneurs
December 15, 2019
New year, new headwinds: the next turn of the decade is appearing to be increasingly morose for an already cash-strapped Millennial demographic. Soaring debt loads stemming from the historically highest tuition rates and highest costs of living put Millennials in a particularly tough financial spot both in Canada and the U.S. This has prompted North Americans in their 20’s and 30’s to put off milestones like home ownership, starting a family, and even has many of them filing for insolvency. Many of these issues can be pinned on the lack of stable, traditional employment since the financial crisis. As a new decade rolls around, Millennials will likely be faced with the same challenges, but may find new ways to out-maneuver these financial hurdles.
Holiday Sales Expected to Hit $1 Trillion – What Will The Average Consumer Spend?
November 28, 2019
This holiday season, retailers are expected to have a banner year with holiday sales forecasted to breach the $1 trillion-dollar mark for the first time ever. This record comes at the end of a rough year for the retail industry in North America, giving analysts mixed feelings about its overall health.
Canada’s Increasing Debt Problem and What it Means for You
November 26, 2019
The number of Canadians filing for insolvency jumped by 19 per cent in September from the year before, amounting to 11,935 consumers who were unable to meet their long-term debt obligations. The escalating rate of filings is at its largest in about ten years, drawing concerns as these spikes tend to precede an economic crisis.
How Hudson’s Bay — and Canada — Is Not Immune to the U.S. Late-Cycle Retail Market
July 17, 2019
The Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) closures represent a contraction in its business plan after the company underwent an overly optimistic expansionary phase. Late-cycle market dynamics have challenged sales revenues for retailers like Home Outfitters and Saks OFF 5TH. While the proverbial “retail apocalypse” is largely focused on the United States due to the country’s over-retailed commercial real estate market, Canada is not immune to the effects of declining retail sales, the prominence of e-commerce and too-optimistic business expansions that put retailers in debt and eat away at revenues.
High and Low: The Soaring Demand and Limited Supply of Toronto’s
Purpose-Built Multifamily Market
June 13, 2019
The Toronto housing market stands at the intersection of housing affordability and availability, with asking rents trending higher amid wages that struggle to keep up. While average rental rates for private condominiums (condos) have outpaced increases in wages, so too have rates for purpose-built rentals. Exacerbating the issue further, developers are economically incentivized to build condos, limiting the supply of purpose-built rentals and worsening affordability. These trends improve the credit risk for multi-family lenders by ensuring that occupancies and rents will remain high. Despite recent government initiatives, DBRS, Inc. (DBRS) expects supply and demand to remain “tight,” putting upward pressure on rental prices and pushing residents to seek affordability farther outside the city.
Scorching Real Estate: Comparing the California, B.C. and Fort McMurray Wildfires’ Impact
April 03, 2019
Last August was devastating for British Columbia (B.C.) and California — each had declared a state of emergency because of wildfires. Both the province and the state experienced a severe decline in tourism, mass evacuations and seemingly unending fights to contain the conflagrations. There was significant loss on both sides, though as far as impact on commercial infrastructure and industry went, California’s wildfires took more of a toll on the local economy. This commentary explores the immediate effects of the wildfires across B.C. and California. In addition, this commentary looks at the impacts of the Fort McMurray fire that devastated a large part of Alberta’s infrastructure back in 2016.
How Coworking Co-Opts the Traditional Office Space
March 11, 2019
Having a roommate is not just part of the college experience — it is a growing trend in the workforce. More and more companies are working together under the same roof in nine to five harmony in what is known as coworking space: a more flexible alternative to traditional office space where multiple workers can share a single space for a monthly rent while working independently on their own projects. In the past, coworking space mostly appealed to freelancers and the self-employed who either worked from home, traveled often or otherwise had little use for costly full-scale offices. Now, the model is becoming increasingly attractive to traditional corporations looking to reduce long-term lease obligations and maximize the use of their space. DBRS, Inc. (DBRS) believes that the coworking industry will continue being a disruptor in the traditional-office-space market, whether through pioneer coworking companies like IWG plc (formerly Regus) and WeWork or through well-established traditional companies expanding their services to include more flexible options.
Monitoring “The Stuff That Counts”: Shopko’s Closures Minimally Affect CMBS Transactions
February 12, 2019
The store closures announced by Shopko will likely have a minimal impact on commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) in aggregate; however, DBRS, Inc. (DBRS) does see the potential for localized defaults as the company rejects leases across the country. In addition, the closures highlight the risk of exposure faced by retailers owned by private equity firms, specifically. According to Bloomberg, Shopko, which was acquired by Sun Capital Partners, Inc. in 2005, had sought debt restructuring from its lenders, but its efforts proved unsuccessful. With ownership unwilling to invest further in the company, Shopko filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January 2019. Since then, the original closure list has ballooned to over 250, which will reduce the company footprint by more than half.
Brick-and-Mortar Retail Just May Have a Happy Holiday
December 17, 2018
This holiday season, growing consumer trends have given the brick-and-mortar retail industry plenty to be merry about. America’s malls and department stores may enjoy an uptick in foot traffic with preliminary studies, which hinted that consumers are not only willing to spend more money, but are actually prepared to visit retail locations. E-commerce is still a strong sell for many U.S. holiday shoppers; however, traditional store-to-store shopping appears to be here to stay with help from the growing “order online, pick up in store” trend, which is also driving consumers to physical retail spaces. There are many factors strengthening the performance of traditional retail options, the largest of which is a strong market cycle. In this article, DBRS looks at U.S. consumers’ intentions and spending behaviors for the holiday season to assess their potential impact on retailers and department stores from a commercial real estate perspective.
Retail Optimism Gets Canadian Malls into the Holiday Spirit
December 17, 2018
Canadian malls are set to have a happy 2018 holiday season with promising retail trends. Many preliminary studies suggest that consumers plan to spend more money than last year and, while e-commerce is still expected to trend upward, shopping attitudes during the holidays are driving much-needed foot traffic back into traditional retail space. In this report, DBRS dives into shoppers’ intentions and trends this holiday season as well as their impact on mall owners from a real estate perspective.
Lowe’s Renovates Its Retail Strategy
December 04, 2018
Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (Lowe’s or the Company, rated A (low) with a Stable trend by DBRS) is attempting a different retail strategy to stay competitive with other home improvement and hardware companies by closing 47 locations across North America. DBRS sees little impact from this on the retail market, on commercial mortgage-backed securities or on Lowe’s itself. This is because unlike traditional retail stores, Lowe’s and other big box home improvement stores have largely been immune to the rise of e-commerce and the “Amazon effect” since there is little product overlap between them, though the overlap continues to grow. Despite surviving the changes in retail that claimed other departments stores, the home improvement giant still faces stiff competition from competitors like The Home Depot (rated “A” with a Stable trend by DBRS).
The Fall of an Icon — Sears and the Evolution of the Great American Shopping Mall
November 27, 2018
In a largely unsurprising move, Sears Holdings Corporation (Sears) filed for bankruptcy on October 15, 2018. Soon thereafter, the notoriously troubled franchise — which had already announced that 150 stores would close in 2018 — announced an additional two rounds of closures. The latest closures include an initial round of 142 locations, with liquidation sales expected to be completed by the end of the year, as well as a second round of 40 stores early next year, bringing total additional closures to 182 Sears and Kmart locations. Once these stores are shuttered, there will be under 700 Sears and Kmart stores remaining, down from approximately 3,900 locations combined in 2005, according to Forbes.
Costa-Hawkins Prevails, Securing Certainty in the Los Angeles Multifamily Market
November 08, 2018
On Tuesday, November 6, 2018, Californians took to the polls to determine the fate of Proposition 10, a statewide rent-control measure that would repeal the Costa–Hawkins Rental Housing Act (Costa-Hawkins) and allow individual municipalities to exercise more control over multifamily rental rates. The citizen-run measure was stopped in its tracks with a voting margin of 65.0% against it and 35.0% in favor. California will continue to impose limits on rent control for cities across the state, including Los Angeles.
The Great Costa Hawkins Debate: How the Los Angeles Multifamily Market Hangs in the Balance
November 01, 2018
For renters across the Los Angeles multifamily market, 2018 has been both an interesting and challenging year, with fears of wildfire damages to their homes as well as the continuing debate surrounding Proposition 10, the statewide rent control law that, if passed, will repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act (Costa Hawkins) and give municipalities more power to enact rent control laws that supporters say will promote affordable housing. On one hand, Proposition 10 would provide reprieve for citizens struggling to pay the rent. On the other hand, repealing the act could negatively affect the rental and housing market. November will be a deciding month for the City of Angels, as the average rent rate climbs beyond affordability for the average citizen.
Repurposed Real Estate: How Adaptive Reuse Gives Old Properties New Purpose
October 18, 2018
Teaching an old building new tricks is a growing trend in the commercial real estate investment industry. Adaptive reuse is the process of finding an older building that once served a now-obsolete purpose and renovating it to take on new responsibilities. Historic buildings, like those in the notable Distillery District in Toronto, tend to be prime candidates as this makeover process preserves their architectural character and conserves their place in the community.
New Construction Woes: Steel and Aluminum Tariffs Likely to Strain North American Commercial Real Estate Construction
October 15, 2018
In June 2018, the Trump Administration imposed a 25.0% tariff on steel imports and a 10.0% tariff on imported aluminum from Canada, as well as tariffs on all foreign steel and aluminum. In retaliation, the Canadian government implemented counter-tariffs of its own on steel, aluminum as well as select consumer products imported from the United States. These disputes will likely have an adverse effect on new construction on both sides of the border — particularly on new steel-majority construction in major cities. The aluminum tariffs, while not as influential on construction as steel, have added fuel to the emotional fire in this issue. DBRS considers that the increased global prices on steel imports, the resulting domestic price increases, related supply problems, as well as the unpredictability of the trade disruptions will result in increased construction costs for commercial property developers. In this environment, commercial real estate development is likely to become more complicated, expensive and uncertain.
The Retail Crossroads: Exploring the Potential for Malls
September 25, 2018
Although regional malls have generated negative headlines over the past few years, the recent acquisitions of the Westfield Group (Westfield) by Paris-based Unibail-Rodamco (Unibail) and General Growth Properties (GGP) by Brookfield Property Partners (Brookfield) may signal new opportunities in the space. Unibail purchased Westfield in 2017 for $15.8 billion in a deal that included acquiring 35 regional malls plus the Westfield World Trade Center retail complex. Brookfield, which had acquired a stake in GGP during the latter’s 2009 bankruptcy, took control of the entire company in March 2018 for $9.3 billion in cash. These large acquisitions demonstrate that investors see value in prime retail assets and are looking to implement strategies to improve the relevancy of the brick-and-mortar model for retailers. Malls will come out of the downturn in the retail industry if the assets are characterized by key factors, including location in a densely populated area, attractive appeal to a diverse mix of tenants, dynamic consumer base and sustainable strategies to drive foot traffic.
How Chicago Office Development Is Fueling the Multifamily Boom
September 10, 2018
The Chicago skyline is seeing more office and apartment developments from 2017 well into 2018 thanks to a significant boost in firms re-locating to, or expanding their presence in, the city. Industry watchers are observing significant inventory growth as well as a year-over-year increase in apartment and office rents. In this commentary, DBRS, Inc. (DBRS) looks at how these market metrics compare with properties within multifamily commercial mortgage-backed securities transactions across the greater Chicago area.
Improving a Building’s IQ: How Smart Technologies Can Benefit Commercial Real Estate
August 28, 2018
Increasing use of automation and smart building technologies can have a meaningful impact in commercial real estate, not only on operating expenses but also on asset quality. As these technologies proliferate, DBRS expects to see more reliance on computers to perform basic functions like temperature control, lighting, air quality, sanitation and even tenant-roster organization through Internet of Things (IoT) technology — a system of connected computing and mechanical devices that automatically transfer data without human interaction.
Is Airbnb Choking Out New York’s Multifamily Market?
August 21, 2018
The housing issue in New York City has never been more dire than it is in 2018, with a vacancy rate of 3.6% according to the New York City Rent Guidelines Board 2018 Housing Supply Report. Rental listing analytics from Reis state that as of Q2 2018, the average asking rent for an apartment in New York was $3,653. The city currently has a rent rate much higher than the national average (roughly $1,064, collected by averaging the one-bedroom and two-bedroom rates) caused by a number of factors, including unit supply-to-population ratios. However, affordable housing advocates have pointed the finger at short-term rental companies like Airbnb.