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2 in 3 Canadians say the economy is doing poorly: poll

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A new survey from Research Co. shows that most of Canadians are not happy with the current economy and that their financial status have worsened over the past six months.

As many as 62 per cent of respondents described current economic condition in Canada as “bad” or “very bad”, up five points since Research Co. conducted a similar story in July 2022. In addition, just 35 per cent of Canadians (down five points) rate the economic conditions tight now as “very good” or “good”.

When it comes to their own personal finances, 51 per cent of respondents described their personal finances as “very good” or “good,” which is down six points, while 47 per cent (up six points) defined them as “poor” or “very poor.”

Breaking down the data by province, 27 per cent of Alberta residents said they hold a positive view of the Canadian economy, while 28 per cent of Saskatchewan and Manitoba residents and 29 per cent of Atlantic Canadians said they feel the same way.

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Meanwhile, 37 per cent of Ontario residents, 35 per cent of people in British Columbia and 41 per cent of Quebec respondents said they have a positive perspective towards economic condition.

Nearly half of Canadians (44 per cent) said they are pessimistic over the national economic stability and expect the national economy to decline over the nest six months while only 13 per cent predict an improvement.

“Most Canadians aged 55 and over (51 per cent) think an economic recovery in the next six months is unattainable,” Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. said. “The proportions are lower among their counterparts aged 35-to-54 (43 per cent) and aged 18-to-34 (38 per cent).”

More than half of Canadians (52 per cent) said they are worried “frequently” or occasionally” about the value of their investments and their savings safety.

The survey also found that 37 per cent of Canadians have “frequently” or “occasionally” expressed concerned about unemployment affecting their households, while 34 per cent expressed the same feeling about paying their mortgage and 29 per cent feel the same way about their employer running into serious financial trouble.

Most respondents also believe that certain items prices will go higher in the nest six months. For example, 85 per cent of Canadians believe a week’s worth of groceries will be more expensive while 67 per centfeel the same way for a new car price.

The survey also included respondents about whether they believe the prime minister is doing the right thing to help the economy. Of the respondents, 42 per cent said they trust Justin Trudeau, while the ratings are lower (34 per cent) for Bank of Canada governor Tiff Macklem. Fewer people (33 per cent) trust the Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre to do the right thing to help the economy.

METHODOLOGY

The results are based on an online study conducted from Jan, 13 to 15, 2023, among 1,000 adults in Canada. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The results are considered accurate within +/- 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Reporting for this story was paid for through The Afghan Journalists in Residence Project funded by Meta.

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Economy

US economy slowed but still grew at 2.9% rate last quarter – Halifax.CityNews.ca

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. economy expanded at a 2.9% annual pace from October through December, ending 2022 with momentum despite the pressure of high interest rates and widespread fears of a looming recession.

Thursday’s estimate from the Commerce Department showed that the nation’s gross domestic product — the broadest gauge of economic output — decelerated last quarter from the 3.2% annual growth rate it had posted from July through September. Most economists think the economy will slow further in the current quarter and slide into at least a mild recession by midyear.

The economy got a boost last quarter from resilient consumer spending and the restocking of supplies by businesses. Federal government spending also helped lift GDP. But with higher mortgage rates undercutting residential real estate, investment in housing plummeted at a 27% annual rate for a second straight quarter.

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For all of 2022, GDP expanded 2.1% after growing 5.9% in 2021.

The economy’s expected slowdown in the months ahead is an intended consequence of the Federal Reserve’s aggressive series of rate increases. The Fed’s hikes are meant to reduce growth, cool spending and crush the worst inflation bout in four decades. Last year, the Fed raised its benchmark rate seven times. It is set to do so again next week, though this time by a smaller amount.

The resilience of the U.S. job market has been a major surprise. Last year, employers added 4.5 million jobs, second only to the 6.7 million that were added in 2021 in government records going back to 1940. And last month’s unemployment rate, 3.5%, matched a 53-year low.

“The news couldn’t have been any better,” President Joe Biden said of Thursday’s GDP report. “We’re moving in the right direction. Now, we’ve got to protect those gains.”

Yet the good times for America’s workers aren’t likely to last. As higher rates make borrowing and spending increasingly expensive across the economy, many consumers will spend less and employers will likely hire less.

“Recent data suggest that the pace of expansion could slow sharply in (the current quarter) as the effects of restrictive monetary policy take hold,” Rubeela Farooqi, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics, wrote in a research report. “From the Fed’s perspective, a desired slowdown in the economy will be welcome news.”

Consumer spending, which fuels about 70% of the entire economy, rose at a sturdy 2.1% annual rate from October through December, down slightly from 2.3% in the previous quarter.

More recent numbers, including a 1.1% drop in retail sales last month, indicate that consumers have begun to pull back.

“That suggests higher rates were starting to take a bigger toll and sets the stage for weaker growth in the first quarter of this year,’’ said Andrew Hunter, senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics.

Economists at Bank of America expect growth to slow to a 1.5% annual rate in the January-March quarter and then to contract for the rest of the year — by a 0.5% rate in the second quarter, 2% in the third and 1.5% in the fourth.

The Fed has been responding to an inflation rate that remains stubbornly high even though it has been gradually easing. Year-over-year inflation was raging at a 9.1% rate in June, the highest level in more than 40 years. It has since cooled — to 6.5% in December — but is still far above the Fed’s 2% annual target.

“The U.S. economy isn’t falling off a cliff, but it is losing stamina and risks contracting early this year,” said Sal Guatieri, senior economist at BMO Capital Economics. “That should limit the Fed to just two more small rate increases in coming months.”

One additional threat to the economy this year is rooted in politics: House Republicans could refuse to raise the federal debt limit if the Biden administration rejects their demand for broad spending cuts. A failure to raise the borrowing cap would prevent the federal government from being able to pay all its obligations and could shatter its credit.

Moody’s Analytics estimates that the resulting upheaval could wipe out nearly 6 million American jobs in a recession similar to the devastating one that was triggered by the 2007-2009 financial crisis.

At least the economy is likely beginning the year on firmer footing than it did at the start of 2022. Last year, the economy shrank at an annual pace of 1.6% from January through March and by a further 0.6% from April through June. Those two consecutive quarters of economic contraction raised fears that a recession might have begun.

On corporate earnings calls for the April-June quarter of 2022, nearly half of companies in the S&P 500 had cited a “recession” — the highest such proportion since 2010 — according to the data provider FactSet. Forecasters at Bank of America and Nomura had predicted that a recession would hit by the October-December quarter.

But the economy regained strength over the summer, propelled by resilient consumer spending and higher exports.

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AP Writers Christopher Rugaber and Josh Boak contributed to this report.

Paul Wiseman, The Associated Press






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Oil advances on solid U.S. economic report, signs of China demand – BNN Bloomberg

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Oil gained on signs of better-than-expected U.S. economic growth and the potential for greater energy demand from China. 

West Texas Intermediate traded near US$81 a barrel, paring some earlier gains. Global benchmark Brent also advanced.

The U.S. economy expanded by more than forecast in the fourth quarter, figures released Thursday showed, easing recession fears and buoying markets. Meanwhile, a gauge of the dollar slipped to the lowest since April, making commodities priced in the currency cheaper for overseas buyers. 

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Oil has recovered from a steep drop at the start of the year, largely on hopes that Chinese consumption will pick up after years of lockdowns. The number of virus-related deaths and severe cases at hospitals in China is now 70 per cent lower than peak levels in early January, authorities said late Wednesday. 

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Energy demand is starting to pick up and the momentum will continue this year, Trafigura Chief Economist Saad Rahim said during a webinar. The rebound in Chinese tourism will have a big impact on consumption, he added, noting that the recovery takes place against a “backdrop of structural underinvesment” in supply.

Liquidity is also returning to the futures market, with open interest in global benchmark Brent near the highest since last February. 

Prices:

  • WTI for March delivery rose 1.3 per cent to US$81.20 a barrel by 10:03 a.m. in New York.
  • Brent for March settlement increased 1.1 per cent to US$87.09 a barrel.

U.S. crude inventories rose for a fifth week to the highest level since June 2021, the Energy Information Administration reported Wednesday. Still, the gain of 533,000 barrels was smaller than some market participants expected. 

Russian oil products will be subject to a European Union ban on seaborne imports and a Group of Seven-led price cap on the fuels in less than two weeks, with concern it may be more disruptive to markets than recent sanctions on Russian crude. Russian shipments of diesel-type fuel from the Baltic port of Primorsk are already on course to slow. 

Meanwhile, French strikes are hampering deliveries of fuels such as diesel and gasoline as labor action hits the refining industry for the second time this month.

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Big tech props up U.S. stocks amid mixed economic data – BNN Bloomberg

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A rally in tech megacaps drove the stock market higher, with traders assessing economic data that suggest the Federal Reserve still has a path to a soft landing —  with officials set to further downshift their rate hikes next week.

The S&P 500 headed toward its highest since early December. Tesla Inc. led gains in the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100, with Elon Musk teasing potential for the carmaker to produce 2 million vehicles this year. International Business Machines Corp. weighed on the Dow Jones Industrial Average as its cash flow miss overshadowed a profit beat.

The U.S. economy grew faster than forecast into the end of 2022, but there were signs of slowing underlying demand as the steepest rate hikes in decades threaten growth this year. Sales of new homes rose for a third month in December, wrapping up an otherwise disappointing year in which soaring borrowing costs stifled demand and weighed on the economy.

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Comments:

  • Fawad Razaqzada, market analyst at City Index and FOREX.com:
    • “The weaker GDP print compared to the previous reading means the economy is slowing, but the above-forecast number will ease recession fears at the same time. They call this the ‘goldilocks’ scenario. It should be positive for risk assets, I would imagine, and judging by the reaction post the data, that’s how it is proving to be so far.”
  • Ian Lyngen, the head of U.S. rates strategy at BMO Capital Markets:
    • “Overall, it was a solid round of data that is consistent with the Fed continuing on with the steady quarter-point hikes at the next 2-3 meetings and then retaining a restrictive policy stance throughout the year.”
  • Jeffrey Roach, chief economist at LPL Financial:
    • “The Q4 GDP report will likely reignite conversations about the economy sticking a soft landing. Given the softer inflation data, the Fed will likely downshift the pace of rate hikes to 0.25 per cent at next week’s meeting. However, other recession indicators are flashing red so upcoming monthly data, especially on the labor market, will be key for investors.”
  • Bill Adams, chief economist for Comerica Bank:
    • “A slowing trend in real GDP — and more importantly, slowing inflation — is enough for the Fed to reduce the size of their rate hike at next Wednesday’s decision. The Fed is nearing the end of its rate hike cycle, which we forecast will conclude with a final quarter percentage point increase at the March decision.”

A team led by Deutsche Bank AG’s Binky Chadha is maintaining its view that the S&P 500 can rise to 4,500 by the end of the first quarter, 12 per cent above Wednesday’s close, before slumping amid an economic contraction. That’s even as the benchmark is headed for its best January since 2019.

“We view the rally as having further to go,” the strategists wrote. “While a number of leading indicators have fallen steeply, raising the alarm, there are several reasons for a continued pushing out of the timing of a potential recession.”

However, it appears many investors don’t have the appetite to chase the rally. Some 35 per cent of clients in a recent JPMorgan Chase & Co. survey said they plan to add to stock holdings in the coming weeks. That’s a hair away from a 33 per cent reading in late November that marked an all-time low.

Corporate Highlights:

  • American Airlines Group Inc. expects profit this year to exceed estimates following a slow start, as steady demand for air travel keeps an industry recovery going into 2023.
  • Southwest Airlines Co.’s operations meltdown last month will lead to a first-quarter loss as the fallout extends into 2023 from a fiasco that led to thousands of canceled flights and prompted a federal probe into its operations.
  • Lam Research Corp., one of the three biggest providers of chip-manufacturing equipment in the U.S., is cutting about 7 per cent of its workforce to reduce expenses in a declining market.
  • Dow Inc. plans to cut about 2,000 jobs as the chemical maker seeks US$1 billion in savings and confronts a flareup in energy costs that followed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
  • Mastercard Inc. warned revenue growth would slow even faster than expected this quarter, stoking fears that inflation has put a damper on consumer spending.
  • Comcast Corp. topped Wall Street profit estimates in the fourth quarter despite continuing to lose customers in its cable and broadband businesses.

Key events:

  • Earnings for the week include: American Express, Charter Communications, Chevron, HCA Healthcare (Friday)
  • U.S. personal income/spending, PCE deflator, University of Michigan consumer sentiment, pending home sales, Friday

Some of the main moves in markets:

Stocks

  • The S&P 500 rose 0.6 per cent as of 10:26 a.m. New York time
  • The Nasdaq 100 rose 1.4 per cent
  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.2 per cent
  • The Stoxx Europe 600 rose 0.5 per cent
  • The MSCI World index rose 0.6 per cent

Currencies

  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose 0.1 per cent
  • The euro fell 0.3 per cent to US$1.0888
  • The British pound fell 0.2 per cent to US$1.2372
  • The Japanese yen fell 0.5 per cent to 130.29 per dollar

Cryptocurrencies

  • Bitcoin fell 2 per cent to US$23,127.32
  • Ether fell 0.4 per cent to US$1,612.75

Bonds

  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries advanced five basis points to 3.49 per cent
  • Germany’s 10-year yield advanced four basis points to 2.19 per cent
  • Britain’s 10-year yield advanced five basis points to 3.29 per cent

Commodities

  • West Texas Intermediate crude rose 1.3 per cent to US$81.19 a barrel
  • Gold futures fell 0.5 per cent to US$1,950.10 an ounce

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