Connect with us

Economy

Bank of Canada Hawks unlikely to fly too far ahead of Fed

Published

 on

Bank of Canada expecting strong growth

By Fergal Smith

TORONTO (Reuters) – The Bank of Canada‘s signal that it may begin hiking interest rates before the Federal Reserve has lit a fire under the Canadian dollar, but past tightening cycles show faster liftoff may not be sustained, particularly if the loonie overshoots.

In a move that surprised some investors last week, Canada‘s central bank sharply upgraded its forecasts for economic growth and changed its guidance to show it could start raising its benchmark interest rate from a record low of 0.25% in late 2022.

It also tapered its bond purchases, becoming the first major central bank to cut back on pandemic-era money-printing stimulus programs. The U.S. central bank’s current guidance is to leave interest rates on hold until at least 2024.

Interest rate differentials are a major driver of currency markets. Too strong a currency could reduce the competitiveness of Canada‘s exports, slowing economic growth. Canada sends about 75% of its exports to the United States.

The BoC has begun hiking borrowing costs ahead of the Fed twice since the start of the millennium – in 2002, following the 2001 recession in the United States, and in 2010, after the global financial crisis. In both cases it reversed all of the tightening before a new rate-hike cycle began.

“The idea that the Bank of Canada can go it alone ahead of the Fed without a large number of negative consequences for the Canadian economy is fundamentally flawed,” said Karl Schamotta, chief market strategist at Cambridge Global Payments.

“If the bank maintains its current trajectory and keeps communications as they are, then we see currency appreciation, which hurts the exports sector.”

RED-HOT HOUSING MARKET

Schamotta estimates the loonie’s fair value is 1.2650 per U.S. dollar, or 79.05 U.S. cents. It was trading at 1.2280 on Friday and is up 3.7% since the start of the year.

That is the second biggest gain among Group of 10 currencies, after the Norwegian crown. Norway’s central bank has signaled it could raise interest rates in the second half of this year.

The gap between Canada‘s 2-year bond yield and that of its U.S. equivalent has widened by 14 basis points since January to 16 basis points in favor of the Canadian bond, while money markets expect two BoC rate hikes in 2022, as opposed to one from the Fed, reflecting the Canadian central bank’s more hawkish stance.

“It doesn’t really make sense for the Bank (of Canada) to hike ahead of the Fed,” said Bipan Rai, North America head of FX strategy at CIBC Capital Markets. “I think when push comes to shove … they’ll be a lot more patient than I think the market is giving them credit for.”

Soaring commodity prices, a red-hot housing market and an acceleration in the pace of COVID-19 vaccinations have bolstered Canada‘s economic outlook, fueling the loonie’s appreciation. Canadian GDP likely grew by 6.5% in the first quarter, Statistics Canada said.

But that economic optimism could waver if the currency strengthens too much.

“Canadian economic exceptionalism rarely lasts – the loonie could have an Icarus moment in the months to come,” Schamotta said, referring to the Greek mythological character who flew too close to the sun and plunged into the sea when his wings melted.

 

(Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Denny Thomas and Paul Simao)

Continue Reading

Economy

Vietnam PM promises economy will rebound from COVID-19 hit | Saltwire – SaltWire Network

Published

 on


HANOI (Reuters) – Vietnam’s exports are likely to rise 10.7% in 2021, with annual inflation expected below 4%, the prime minister said on Wednesday, promising lawmakers that economic revival lay ahead.

Pham Minh Chinh told the national assembly that Vietnam, consistently one of Asia’s fastest-growing economies, had been badly hit by the coronavirus, which disrupted its supply chains and hit workers in key industries.

Vietnam’s gross domestic product (GDP) contracted 6.17% in the third quarter of 2021 from a year earlier as the containment measures hit, the sharpest quarterly decline on record.

Chinh said he expected GDP to expand 6.0% to 6.5% next year, with the government aiming to cap inflation at 4%.

“Realising 2022 targets is a heavy task, but we definitely will revive our economy,” he said, despite the pandemic having put macroeconomic stability at risk.

“Inflation is facing upward risks and there have been disruptions in the supply chains … workers’ lives have been badly hit.”

Although Vietnam had largely reined in COVID-19 until May, a fast-spreading outbreak of the Delta variant in its economic hub of Ho Chi Minh City led to wide curbs on movement and commerce, hitting key manufacturing provinces nearby.

This month, the government said Vietnam would miss its garment exports target this year, by $5 billion in the worst case, hit by curbs and a shortage of workers.

It expected $34 billion of textile exports, shy of the targeted $39 billion, and a shortage of 35% to 37% of factory workers by year-end, it said.

Ho Chi Minh City has suffered a mass exodus of workers since lockdowns eased last month, on worries they would get stuck again if there was another wave of infections.

(Writing by Martin Petty; Editing by Kim Coghill)

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Economy

Opinion | Evergrande Isn’t China’s Only Economic Worry – The New York Times

Published

 on


Crushed by $300 billion in debt, Evergrande, one of China’s biggest property developers, is sliding toward bankruptcy. This has prompted fears of a wider property crash or even a financial crisis.

But this is hardly the only crisis besieging the government of Xi Jinping. An unexpected electricity shortage threatens to slow down manufacturing. And for the past year, the government has waged a fierce campaign to regulate China’s vibrant internet companies, spurring hundreds of billions of dollars in investor losses.

The common feature of these crises: All were triggered by government policies. In the eyes of Beijing, these policies are meant to fix deep structural problems in the economy and lay more solid foundations for future growth. To many outsiders, they represent a dispiriting retreat from the market-oriented reforms of the past and signal the end of China’s long economic boom. But forecasts of China’s doom are most likely mistaken, as they have so often been.

True, in the latest quarter, economic growth slowed to a crawl, growing by just 0.2 percent compared with the previous quarter. The next several months will be rockier still. Slower growth in China is unwelcome news for a global economy struggling to regain its footing after the disruptions of the Covid-19 pandemic. But over the next few years, China is likely to regain momentum — in part because of the hard work it is doing now.

The biggest immediate worry is the collapse of Evergrande. Like most Chinese property developers, it relies on two key funding sources: deposits paid by home buyers before construction and huge amounts of debt.

Evergrande’s woes result from a government campaign begun last year to force property developers to reduce their liabilities. It is the latest move in a five-year effort to bring the country’s debt under control. According to the Bank for International Settlements, China’s gross debt level, at 290 percent of G.D.P., has doubled since 2008. While that level is comparable with that of rich countries with well-developed financial systems, it is high for a middle-income country. China’s leaders know that to avoid a financial crisis or avoid a repeat of Japan’s stagnation of the 1990s — the aftermath of a big debt-fueled property bubble — growth in the future must be far less reliant on debt than it has been.

Aly Song/Reuters

The problem is that by attacking debt in the property sector, regulators risk shutting off a powerful engine that directly or indirectly affects as much as a quarter of China’s economic growth. Problems are spreading beyond Evergrande. Other developers are having trouble repaying their debts. And the sales and construction of new housing are both falling.

The drive to cut real estate debt will almost certainly depress China’s growth in the coming quarters. But it will not lead to a “Lehman moment,” when the implosion of a single heavily indebted company triggers a broader financial or economic collapse: The country has an enormous pool of savings. And the government is now adept at managing meltdowns of major companies, including the private conglomerates HNA and Anbang, Baoshang Bank and Huarong, a huge state-owned asset manager.

The larger question is whether China can maintain a dynamic economy when its government, under Mr. Xi, seems increasingly intent on meddling in the market. The answer: Despite a desire for more state discipline, China has not rejected markets — dynamism will continue.

Some of this state meddling is prudent. The property crackdown is part of a serious drive to cure the economy’s addiction to debt. Similarly, the power shortages that have plagued much of industrial China are due largely to efforts to slash the country’s reliance on coal. China has said that its carbon emissions should peak by 2030 and then decline, with a goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2060.

One response to the energy shortage has been a long-overdue deregulation of electricity prices. This has allowed generators to pass on some of the impact of higher coal prices to end users. So it is not true that Mr. Xi’s government is implacably anti-market. Beijing, as it has for decades, will continue relying on a combination of state guidance and market forces: The state sets the direction for investment, with day-to-day outcomes dictated by the market.

A more serious concern is the yearlong offensive against privately owned big tech companies, notably e-commerce and the financial technology giant Alibaba, and the ride-hailing company Didi. It’s unclear whether China can ever become a true leader in innovation if it insists on squashing its most successful entrepreneurial businesses.

Yet even here, the story is not black-and-white. The internet crackdown is not really about crushing private enterprise: Private companies in many sectors, including tech hardware, are doing just fine. Rather, the crackdown addresses — in a very authoritarian way — the same anxieties about big tech that governments around the world are grappling with: unaccountable power, monopolistic practices, shoddy consumer protection and the tendency of a tech-heavy economy to drive income inequality.

One final worry is that these moves toward greater state discipline are driven not by economic motives but by Mr. Xi’s desire to reinforce his power, ahead of a Communist Party conference in late 2022 where he expects to gain a third term as the country’s leader. In the long run there is a risk that overly centralized power could degrade the government’s ability to manage the economy. But Mr. Xi also recognizes that his power will not be worth much unless the economy keeps growing.

China will never run its economy in a way that pleases free-market purists. But it has come up with a mixed model that works. And despite the stresses of the moment, it will keep on working.

Arthur Kroeber is a partner and the head of research at Gavekal Dragonomics, a China-focused economic research firm.

The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips. And here’s our email: letters@nytimes.com.

Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook, Twitter (@NYTopinion) and Instagram.

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Economy

Britain’s Royal Mint to extract gold from discarded electronics

Published

 on

Britain’s Royal Mint said on Wednesday it planned to build a plant in  Wales that could reclaim hundreds of kilograms of gold and other precious metals from electronic waste such as mobile phones and laptops.

Gold and silver are highly conductive and small quantities are embedded in circuit boards and other hardware, along with other precious metals.

Most of this material is never recovered, with discarded electronics often dumped in landfill or incinerated.

The more than 1,100-year old mint said it had partnered with a Canadian start-up called Excir which has developed chemical solutions to extract the metals from the circuit boards.

“It’s able to selectively pull out precious metals with a high degree of purity,” said Sean Millard, the mint’s chief growth officer.

He said the mint was currently using the process at small scale while designing a plant that “would look to process hundreds of tonnes of e-waste per annum, generating hundreds of kilograms of precious metals”.

The plant should be up and running “within the next couple of years”, he said, declining to say how much it would cost.

A kilogram of gold is worth around $55,000 at current prices.

 

(Reporting by Peter Hobson; Editing by Jan Harvey)

Continue Reading

Trending