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New immigrants projected to make 680,000 home purchases over next five years

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Good Morning!

Canada’ five-year fixed mortgage rates fell around roughly 100 basis points from the turn of the year to recent lows, which analysts believe was behind the rebound in the housing market. Buying activity rose another 0.6 per cent in September to 512,000 units (seasonally-adjusted and annualized) — the highest level in 21 months and 6.6 per cent above the 10-year average.

Royal Bank of Canada senior economist Robert Hogue notes that conditions are ripe for another rally in housing prices after a pause earlier in the year.

“Demand-supply conditions have tightened up, and are gradually heating up prices. Low interest rates, strong labour markets and rapid population growth will continue to fuel demand in the period ahead,” said Hogue in a report. “Promises made during the federal election campaign could heat things up further.”

The influx of immigrants will also see demand for residential units soar. A new report by Royal Le Page out this morning says newcomers — those who arrived in the country within the past 10 years — already represent one in every five home buyers in the country.

“If the current international migration level is maintained, Canadian newcomers are expected to purchase 680,000 homes over the next five years,” Le Page said in a report. In 2018, international migration accounted for 80.5 per cent of Canada’s population growth according to Statistics Canada.

Only 32 per cent of newcomers own a home, compared to the national average of 68 per cent. “Of those who purchase a home, 51 per cent of newcomers buy a detached house, 18 per cent buy a condominium, 15 per cent buy a townhouse and 13 per cent buy a semi-detached house,” according to Le Page.
Here’s what’s you need to know this morning:

New immigrants

  • Statistics Canada likely to report annual inflation rate rose to 2.1 per cent in September
  • Retail sales data out today
  • ATB Financial presents 2020 Economic Outlook with keynote speakers, Todd Hirsch, Chief Economist, ATB Financial, and Pierre Cleroux, Vice President, Research and Chief Economist, BDC in Calgary
  • Max Bell Foundation presents The Future of Energy in Canada with Martha Hall Findlay, CEO of Canada West Foundation in Calgary
  • Bruce Ralston, B.C. minister of jobs, trade and technology, joins Indigenous economic development leaders for an announcement regarding support for Indigenous businesses in Kamloop, B.C.
  • BMO & TMX Hemp & Medical Cannabis Conference, in London, U.K.
  • The Federal Reserve will release an updated Beige Book at 2:00 pm ET
  • Notable earnings: Kinder Morgan Canada, The A&W Revenue Royalties Income Fund, Netflix, Bank of America, IBM

Justin Trudeau may no longer be the flavour of the month, but he has presided over a strong job market. And that could still tilt the election the Liberals’ way.

Ridings where the NDP fared well in 2015 also seem to enjoy strong labour markets, but Conservative-favouring ridings have seen slower job growth, according to a new report.

“We find that recent labour market strength has been concentrated in certain areas of the 2015 electoral map. In particular, regions where the NDP or Bloc Quebecois were competitive, typically splitting with the Liberals, have seen substantial improvement, mostly in Quebec or B.C,” Indeed Hiring Lab said in a study out last week. “Meanwhile, there’s been more modest progress in areas the Liberals either swept or split with the Conservatives, primarily in Ontario and Atlantic Canada. Finally, the post oil-crash labour market malaise in Alberta and Saskatchewan has had solid Conservative regions lagging.”

The report noted that in August, the average unemployment rate over the previous 12 months in Liberal-NDP/Bloc regions was 2.1 percentage points lower than in December 2015, while other NDP-competitive areas also saw a substantial decline.

“Regions the Liberals swept or split with the Conservatives also made progress, but with declines closer to 1 percentage point. Unemployment was up slightly in Conservative areas,” the report noted.

It must also be pointed out, though, that Conservative-favouring Alberta and Saskatchewan are also going through a lean period mostly due to lower commodity prices, which would have skewed the results.

New immigrants

— Please send your news, comments and stories to yhussain@postmedia.com. — Yadullah Hussain @YAD_FPEnergy

With files from The Canadian Press, Thomson Reuters and Bloomberg

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U of T names Michael Sabia director of the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy

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Michael Sabia, one of the country’s most accomplished leaders in business, investment and public policy, has been named the new director of the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy.

The university’s Agenda Committee of Academic Board recently approved the appointment of Sabia, who is currently CEO of pension fund Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), which has more than $325 billion of assets invested globally, for a five-year term beginning Feb. 1, 2020.

A U of T alumnus, Sabia will draw on his considerable experience in both the public and private sectors – he once ran Canada’s biggest telecom and helped privatize its largest railway – to help realize the Munk School’s growing ambitions in Canada and on the global stage.

“CDPQ is now a global financial institution with investments around the world. Over the last decade, we have had to navigate through an increasingly complex and turbulent geopolitical scene,” Sabia said.

“With the lessons learned and the global relationships built, I am looking forward to working with the scholars, students and staff at the Munk School to continue building an institution engaged in the world and widely admired around the globe for the quality of its ideas and its practical solutions to the issues facing us all.”

The Munk School, created through a merger last year of the Munk School of Global Affairs and the School of Public Policy & Governance, is a leading hub for interdisciplinary research, teaching and public engagement that houses world-class researchers and more than 50 academic centres, labs and programs.

It’s also home to 20 teaching programs, including Munk One – a first-year foundational program that focuses on global problem-solving.

Sabia will take over the role of director of the Munk School from Professor Randall Hansen, who is currently serving as interim director.

“I’m delighted to welcome Michael Sabia back to the university as the Munk School’s new director,” said President Meric Gertler. “Throughout his career, he has made significant contributions to public policy, to business and to the world of investment. I know he will bring the same kind of engaged thought leadership to the school.

“I would also like to thank Professor Hansen for his excellent leadership and guidance at the school. His work has helped set the stage for future success.”

Sabia, who earned a bachelor’s degree in political economy from U of T before completing two graduate degrees at Yale University, took over the role of chief executive at CDPQ in 2009 and proceeded to build the organization into a global financial institution with more than $325 billion in assets under management.

He also oversaw the implementation of a new investment strategy that made CDPQ an internationally recognized leader among investors working to address climate change, develop urban infrastructure and forge global industry partnerships.

Before that, Sabia held several senior positions at Bell Canada parent BCE Inc., including the role of CEO from 2002 to 2008 when he led a strategic transformation of the telecommunications giant. He also served as chief financial officer at Canadian National Railway, where he worked with then-CEO Paul Tellier to successfully launch CN as a publicly traded corporation through what was then the largest-ever initial public offering in Canadian history.

Sabia spent several years in the public service prior to entering the corporate world. He was director general of tax policy in the federal department of finance, where he was one of the architects of a comprehensive reform of Canada’s tax system, and served as deputy secretary in the Privy Council Office.

More recently, Sabia served on Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s advisory council on economic growth. He is currently co-chair of the G7 Investor Leadership Network on Climate Change, Diversity and Infrastructure Development, as well as co-chair of long-term investment, infrastructure and development for the World Economic Forum.

In addition, Sabia is a trustee of the Foreign Policy Association of New York and a member of the Asia-Pacific Foundation of Canada’s Asia Business Leaders Advisory Council. He was named an Officer of the Order of Canada two years ago, and has received an award from the non-profit Public Policy Forum for his many contributions to public policy in Canada.

President Gertler said Faculty of Arts & Science Dean Melanie Woodin, Vice-President and Provost Cheryl Regehr and he have asked Sabia “to lead a consultative process within the university to determine whether establishing the Munk School as a free-standing faculty would be a constructive step forward.”

“I’m immensely proud of everything that has been accomplished at the Munk School so far,” President Gertler said.

“With the invaluable financial and ongoing commitment of the Munk family and other generous donors, and with the dedication of the school’s first-class faculty and staff, I am confident of our continued success.”

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Metro Vancouver Transit strike to resume bargaining on Wednesday

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If talks on Wednesday aren’t productive, Unifor negotiators say job action could escalate as early as Friday with drivers refusing overtime shifts.

The union representing transit workers in Metro Vancouver is returning to the bargaining table on Wednesday morning, with warnings of strike escalation on Friday if talks don’t progress.

“We will see if the company is serious about achieving a resolution to this dispute and if so, bargaining can be wrapped up in a matter of hours,” said Unifor lead negotiator Gavin McGarrigle during a news conference on Tuesday morning.

According to McGarrigle, the union has heard TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond change his tune in recent days, acknowledging some of the concerns that prompted roughly 5,000 transit workers to begin job action on Nov. 1.

Bargaining teams are scheduled to return to the table on Wednesday morning but if talks aren’t productive, McGarrigle said transit operators have been advised to refuse overtime shifts beginning Friday, which would see massive impacts to bus service across the region.

Talks broke off earlier this month after the company tabled offers that included “loopholes big enough to drive a SeaBus through,” said McGarrigle.

“In short, the company decided to pick this fight,” he said, adding that passengers were the ones who “suffer from a broken model everyday.”

McGarrigle also cited massive pay increases and bonuses granted to TransLink executives, and pointed out the discrepancies between the treatment of bus workers and SkyTrain workers.

Coast Mountain Bus Company handles Lower Mainland bus and SeaBus routes on behalf of TransLink, but talks between the company and Unifor broke off nearly two weeks ago.

Wages, benefits and working conditions are key issues.

A ban on overtime by maintenance workers slowed or cancelled runs on about two dozen bus routes last week, and there have been frequent cancellations on the SeaBus link between Vancouver and the North Shore, including six planned cancellations late this afternoon.

The union had previously warned the overtime ban could be extended to drivers, potentially affecting as much as 15 per cent of bus service across the region; that came to fruition with Tuesday’s announcement.

Premier John Horgan warned last week that lengthy job action, similar to a four-month transit strike in 2001, will not be tolerated.

More to come.

–with files from Canadian Press

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US$1 billion in 67 seconds and other numbers to know

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Singles’ Day in the world’s most populous country has become a mammoth marketing event for China’s e-commerce businesses that have turned it into the world’s biggest online shopping extravaganza.

Singles’ Day, which originated on university campuses in Nanjing, China in the 1990s, became an annual shopping bonanza after Alibaba, China’s biggest e-commerce retailer, made it into an event a decade ago.

This year’s sales surpassed last year’s record, with two of the country’s largest online retailers reporting combined sales of more than US$63 billion, even before final numbers were reported. The eye-popping figures make Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the U.S. seem somewhat anemic and humdrum by comparison. Alibaba posted live updates on its website and on Twitter, but for the very keen, the company also provided a real-time sales counter.

Singles’ Day by the numbers:

1. Singles’ Day takes place on November 11, because the number one and the date, 11/11, looks like a single person.

2. Alibaba said sales by merchants on its platforms totalled 268.44 billion yuan (US$38.38 billion) by midnight local time, handily surpassing last year’s total of US$30.8 billion.

3. Alibaba said the number of delivery orders exceeded 1.042 billion in 18 hours and 31 minutes; surpassing the 2018 total.

4. Alibaba said sales exceeded US$1 billion just 1 minute and 7 seconds after midnight on November 11, and surpassed US$10 billion after 29 minutes and 45 seconds.

5. In the U.S. in 2018, Black Friday brought in US$6.2 billion last year, and US$7.9 billion on Cyber Monday, according to Adobe Analytics.

6. Alibaba rival, JD.com, reported sales of 179.4 billion yuan ($25.6 billion) by mid-afternoon, according to The Associated Press.

7. More than 200,000 brands from over 200 countries and regions were expected to participate in this year’s event; only 27 brands participated in 2009.

8. A once-informal day, a countdown gala leading up to Singles’ Day that included a performance from Taylor Swift was broadcast on nearly 30 online streaming platforms and TV channels.

9. Online shopping makes up 19.5 per cent of Chinese consumer spending, compared with about 11 per cent for American consumers, according to The Associated Press.

10. Alipay said it set a record on Singles’ Day in 2017 for most payment transactions, processing 256,000 payment transactions per second, just 5 minutes into Singles’ Day; 1.48 billion transactions were ultimately processed over the course of 24 hours.

11. China’s State Post Bureau is expected to handle 2.8 billion packages from Nov 11 to 18, according to state-run press agency Xinhua.

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