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Scott Barlow.

The Globe and Mail

A roundup of what The Globe and Mail's market strategist Scott Barlow is reading today on the Web.

The most important part of the Bank of Canada statement on monetary policy was "household credit growth has decelerated for three consecutive months." Mortgage and other credit growth has been an outsized driver of the economy in recent years, leading to well-known heights of consumer indebtedness. An economically painful deleveraging process is more or less inevitable at some point, maybe soon in light of the Bank's concerns, and it's only the speed of the adjustment in question.

"@stephen_tapp Here's the BoC announcement today, explaining why it held steady on interest rates (with my highlighting)… #cdnecon " – Twitter

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"Canada Can't Kick Its Stimulus Habit, Thanks to Trump" – Bloomberg


The Macro Man finance site presented a strong argument that trade fears are, contrary to media everywhere, not the reason the loonie has been falling,

"On a shorter time scale, the underperformance [of the Canadian dollar] is more apparent. Since the beginning of the year CAD can't get out of its own way...but it really started to trade ugly around the end of January. This is where the 'NAFTA risk' story breaks down. No chance MXN is at the top of this performance table if the risk of a NAFTA blow up were increasing. Indeed, as I highlighted last week, if anything MXN is arguably pricing in significant political risks as well – leading me to assume there is little if any NAFTA risk priced into either MXN or CAD."

"CAD and NAFTA Risk: Show me the Money" – Macro Man

"@michaelbabad A 'softer Trump' buoys the Canadian dollar (but that mercy means holding Ottawa hostage) (subscribers)… " – Twitter

"China Warns of 'Justified and Necessary Response' to Trade War" – Bloomberg

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See why I don't like writing about policy? Markets tumbled Wednesday morning on fears of a trade war but the White House is now backtracking, opening the door to tariff exemptions for Canada and Mexico, dependent on NAFTA negotiations. This is another example of why it rarely makes sense for investors to pay attention to politics until actual legislation is being drawn up.

"Trump plans to offer Canada, Mexico 30-day tariff exemption: official" – Reuters

"Actually, Trade Wars Aren't Good (For Oil, Anyway)" – Gadfly

"China Warns of 'Justified and Necessary Response' to Trade War" – Bloomberg


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The domestic trade deficit narrowed according a report released Wednesday, and CIBC sees this as bad news,

"The Canadian trade deficit came in narrower than consensus expectations in January, although that was where the good news ended in today's release. The move to a $1.9-billion deficit, from $3.1-billion in the prior month, was driven exclusively by a plunge in imports. Even though nominal exports fell less sharply, that was mainly due to higher energy prices in the month. Export volumes dropped by a disappointing 4.0 per cent to their lowest since June, 2016."

"@SBarlow_ROB CM on Cdn trade: 'The move to a $1.9bn deficit, from $3.1bn in the prior month, was driven exclusively by a plunge in imports.' " – (research excerpt) Twitter


Tweet of the Day: "@EpsilonTheory Wanna know what American workers get from an $800b trade deficit? Everyday Low Prices at Walmart, that's what. Strawberries in the dead of winter at the grocery store, that's what. A 40" TV and iPhones for the kids, that's what." – Twitter

Diversion: "Fiction That Gets [Artificial Intelligence] Right" – M.I.T. Technology Review

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