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Canadians make a surprising return to frugality

When it comes to Canadians’ household debt loads, the problem is not so much about swelling debts any more. It’s about slowing incomes.

In a new report from Merrill Lynch, economist Emanuella Enenajor says Canadian consumers have been undergoing a “stealth deleveraging” – a significant reduction in debt accumulation that has largely flown under the radar because of the focus on the market’s favoured measure of household debt loads, the debt-to-disposable-income ratio. This sat at a record 164 per cent at the end of 2013 – widely seen as evidence that Canadians simply can’t break their reckless and unsustainable debt habit.