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Report on Business Week ahead: Comparing those who own ($1.2-trillion) to those who owe ($2.1-trillion)

Expect to learn this week that Canadians are juggling a heavier debt burden.

Then compare that to the growing number of ultra wealthy, and the ultra wealth they hold.

Statistics Canada's measure of household credit market debt as a proportion of disposable income eased in the first quarter to a still elevated 168 per cent, which means we owed $1.68 for each dollar we had to spend. In total, we owed more than $2.1-trillion.

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Bank of Montreal expects Statistics Canada to report Friday that the debt ratio "moved modestly higher" in the second quarter as the housing market gained ground, meaning more mortgage borrowing, while growth in incomes "slowed sharply" from a year earlier.

Consider, too, that the ratio traditionally rises in the second three months of the year, and has done so in every such quarter since at least 1990, noted Benjamin Reitzes, BMO's Canadian rates and macro strategist.

"And this quarter will be no different, with the only question being the extent of the increase," Mr. Reitzes said.

"So, don’t be surprised to see the ratio perk up after Q1’s record drop, but look for the rise to be very modest compared to the average Q2 increase of 1.4 percentage points."

Expect in the same report to see that what we're worth looks a little better.

"Net worth as a share of disposable income saw its largest decline in nearly seven years in Q1, thanks to a drop in home prices, but Q2 should be better with equities up, the [Canadian dollar] weaker and home prices stabilizing," Mr. Reitzes said.

"Over all, Canadian balance sheets are in decent shape, but don’t be shocked if debt ratios deteriorated a bit in Q2."

Given that income inequality is a big issue, compare the Statistics Canada report to the latest study from research firm Wealth-X, which measures the number of ultra high net worth people, or those with at least US$30-million.

Canada ranked in the top tier, in fifth spot, behind the U.S., Japan, China and Germany, and ahead of France, Hong Kong, Britain, Switzerland and Italy.

The number of ultra wealthy Canadians rose almost 14 per cent in 2017 to 10,840 people, their net worth swelling almost 15 per cent to US$1.15-trillion, Wealth-X said.

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What else to watch for this week:


What everyone wants to see is how markets fare amid last week's turmoil and where NAFTA negotiations stand. (Oh, and whether anyone fesses up to writing that New York Times op-ed.)

"The TSX fell 1.1 per cent, and, after a solid run through the first half of the year, has settled back into its lagging ways, at least versus the S&P 500," said senior economist Robert Kavcic, a colleague of Mr. Reitzes at BMO.

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"Since the end of June, Canadian stocks are down slightly, while the S&P has gained about 6 per cent," he added.

"A few things have weighed: Gold stocks have been hammered; the oil price momentum through the first half of the year has faded, particularly for [Western Canada Select crude] as the differential has widened out again; and, NAFTA talks deteriorating haven’t helped."

Indeed, President Donald Trump is threatening to hit Canadian auto exports with stiff tariffs should talks to overhaul the North American free-trade agreement fail.

"For what it’s worth, the biggest negative point contributor to the TSX since June, outside of the gold sector, has been Magna (auto parts)," Mr. Kavcic said.


Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. reports on residential construction starts, which economists believe rose in August to an annual rate of 210,000 or more.


A big day for Apple Inc., this.

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The all-things-i tech giant holds a product unveiling that analysts expect will include new iPhones and more.

"There's been much speculation about in the last few weeks about the next range of product upgrades from the U.S.'s most innovative company as management seek to maintain expectations about Apple’s ability to sustain its place as a cash machine," said CMC Markets chief analyst Michael Hewson.

"In terms of dominance of the mobile phone market, it is slowly losing market share globally to Samsung and Huawei," he added.

"This shouldn’t be too much of a surprise given that the next areas for growth are likely to be in places like India, and consumers are likely to be much more price sensitive."

Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty expects three fresh iPhone models, an Apple Watch Series 4 and upgrades to its range of Mac computers.

"Whether or not Apple finally unveils the AirPower wireless charging mat [this] week is unknown at this point, however they provided a sneak peak of it at last year's September event, so the timing could make sense," Ms. Huberty said.

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"While the launch of the Watch, iPad, Mac and potentially AirPower are a net positive, we expect the focus of the event to be the new iPhone model launches."

Also on tap are the release of the Federal Reserve's Beige Book of regional conditions and quarterly results from Roots Corp.

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Both the European Central Bank and the Bank of England are expected to hold their key rates steady, with the ECB reminding investors the "tapering" of its asset-buying stimulus program is on schedule.

"This week’s meeting is likely to see the ECB outline that it remains on course to begin the tapering process at the end of the month, despite current evidence that inflation still remains subdued," said CMC's Mr. Hewson.

"The ECB will also update its latest economic projections, against a backdrop of rising concerns about the imposition of tariff barriers on some areas of the European economy."

As for governor Mark Carney's Bank of England, it recently raised its benchmark to 0.75 per cent.

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Bank of England governor Mark Carney.


"We do not look for another hike by Carney et al until the spring of 2019, after Brexit Day has passed," said BMO senior economist Jennifer Lee.

"Until then, the bank will be parked on the sidelines as Brexit talks heat up ahead of the October EU Summit," she added.

"The data have been mixed but the economy looks to have softened in the second half of 2018, partly on Brexit uncertainty."

Watch, too, for the report on U.S. consumer prices, which economists expect to show a monthly rise of 0.2 to 0.4 per cent in August and an annual inflation rate of 2.7 to 2.9 per cent.

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Along with the Statistics Canada report, markets will be watching for the latest trade numbers from the euro zone and the August measure of U.S. retail sales, which observers forecast will show a rise of 0.4 or 0.5 per cent.

"A 0.4-per-cent gain in retail sales in August is still consistent with a healthy consumer who is reaping the benefits of tax cuts and higher wages," said Katherine Judge of CIBC World Markets.

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