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

National Bank economists note that by some measures the difference between what Canadians and Americans pay for gasoline is at record highs. It is not, however, taxes or refineries that are to blame this time,

“More than 11% of Canadian retail spending was on gasoline in the second quarter of 2018… that’s almost three percentage points higher than in the U.S., the biggest difference between the two countries ever recorded. Recall that in early 2010, the gap was close to zero... As it turns out, gasoline prices have risen 33% since the first quarter of 2010 in Canada compared to a less than 8% increase in the U.S. In USD terms, however, the gasoline price increase in Canada since 2010Q1 is very similar to that seen stateside. In other words, if you think Canadians are getting stiffed at the pump, blame the Canadian dollar’s depreciation, not refiners.”

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“@SBarlow_ROB Re Canadians getting stiffed at the pump: blame CAD” – (research excerpt) Twitter

“@SBarlow_ROB NBF: "More than 11% of Canadian retail spending was on gasoline in the second quarter of 2018... almost three percentage points higher than in the U.S., biggest difference between two countries ever recorded" – (research excerpt, charts) Twitter

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TD economists’ perspective on the domestic real estate market is summarized by the title of their recent research report, “Cue the Comeback”,

“Tighter lending rules, rising borrowing costs and provincial policy actions left Canadian housing markets stumbling out of the gate in 2018. However, our longstanding view was that some traction would be gained after sharp initial adjustments to these factors. Recent data has confirmed this view, with activity improving in several jurisdictions since May. Gains have been concentrated in Ontario, with sales in Alberta and New Brunswick also appreciably higher. Sales and prices are turning around in Toronto amidst significant pent-up demand. In contrast, Vancouver’s market has yet to find a bottom given lingering government policy impacts”

“@SBarlow_ROB TD on Canadian housing market: Cue the Comeback” – (research excerpt) Twitter

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Volkswagen AG is getting sued for changing the weather. That’s not a typo,

“The German car maker had installed hail cannons, which fire shockwaves into the atmosphere, at its Puebla site to prevent the formation of ice stones that had been damaging finished vehicles parked outside its facility. But local farmers said the devices, which were set to fire automatically under certain weather conditions, caused a drought during the months that should have been Mexico’s rainy season.”

“VW weather-altering tech causes storm in Mexico” – Financial Times (paywall)

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Falling market liquidity might be the biggest portfolio risk that investors don’t pay enough attention to,

“Since January, the number of rate hikes globally has increased quite a bit. According to a six-month rolling sum of global central bank rate hikes compiled by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, we’re nearing pre-Lehman levels… Given this tightening — much of which traces back to emerging markets trying to stem currency tremors or manage inflationary pressures — global liquidity has contracted quite substantially.”

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“Global liquidity is drying up” – Financial Times (paywall)

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(Re-post) “Some disquieting conclusions for investors about global investment flows” – Barlow, Inside the Market, August 19, 2018

Tweet of the Day: “@jammastergirish If you'd bought a million dollars in Venezuela's local currency when President Nicolás Maduro came to power in 2013, it'd now be worth $3.40. “ – Twitter

Diversion: “Safe injection sites were thought to reduce drug overdoses. The research isn’t so clear” – Vox

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