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Jun 5, 2013

Fed poised to evaluate bond buys, ‘fine tune’ tactics -Fisher

TORONTO, June 4 (Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Reserve is
poised to evaluate and potentially make changes to its massive
monetary stimulus, a top Fed official who is critical of the
Fed’s bond-buying program said on Tuesday.

To counter the financial crisis, the Fed dropped short-term
interest rates to near zero in late 2008 and has since bought
more than $2.5 trillion in bonds to bolster what has been an
anemic economic recovery. Financial markets have been
increasingly on edge on expectations that the Fed is ready to
start scrolling back on its stimulus.

May 21, 2013

Canada bank regulator says watching housing risk, pleased so far

TORONTO, May 21 (Reuters) – Canada’s top banking regulator
said on Tuesday she is focused on the risk Canada’s big banks
face from low interest rates and real estate lending, but is
happy that the housing market is moving into more balanced
territory.

Julie Dickson, head of the Office of the Superintendent of
Financial Institutions, or OSFI, said the impact of low interest
rates can clearly be seen in the Canadian real estate market.

May 16, 2013

CPPIB notches 10 pct return, eyes infrastructure, private equity deals

TORONTO, May 16 (Reuters) – The Canada Pension Plan
Investment Board, one of the world’s biggest dealmakers, said a
glut of cheap capital may mean it makes fewer big purchases in
2014, but it sees big opportunities in global infrastructure and
private equity in the months ahead.

CPPIB, which manages Canada’s national pension fund, said on
Thursday its assets rose to a record C$183.3 billion ($180.12
billion) at the end of fiscal 2013, as its investment portfolio
returned 10.1 percent for the year ended March 31.

May 15, 2013

Canadian April home sales edge up from March, down on year

TORONTO, May 15 (Reuters) – Canadian home sales rose in
April, the second straight monthly gain, as spring homebuying
breathed life back into the slowing real estate sector and
bolstered hopes that Canada will manage a soft landing rather
than a U.S.-style housing crash.

Sales of existing homes climbed 0.6 percent in April from
March, but year-over-year sales were down 3.1 percent, the
Canadian Real Estate Association said on Wednesday in a report
that showed a small spring bounce in an otherwise slowing
housing sector.

May 14, 2013

Canadian house prices edge higher in April

TORONTO, May 14 (Reuters) – Canadian home prices rose in
April from March as three strong cities in Western Canada more
than offset weak showings elsewhere, while the annual gain in
prices slowed, the Teranet-National Bank Composite House Price
Index showed on Tuesday.
The index, which measures price changes for repeat sales of
single-family homes, showed overall prices rose 0.2 percent in
April from a month earlier, but the weakest April gain in 15
years except for the 2009 recession.
The index was up 2.0 percent from a year earlier, the
smallest 12-month gain since November 2009.
The report suggested Canada’s housing market has regained
some spring strength after a long, slow winter of declines
following the government’s move to tighten mortgage lending
rules in July 2012, but remains subdued.
“We view this report as broadly consistent with
stabilization in the housing market over the near-term. Sales
activity has been better supported recently … which in turn
should also help carve out a trough in national home prices,”
Mazen Issa, Canada Macro Strategist at TD Securities, said in a
research note.
“Taken in context with the healthy correction in sales and
building activity, today’s report further underscores the recent
constructive developments in household imbalances,” Issa said.
Canadian policymakers, including Bank of Canada Governor
Mark Carney and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty have repeatedly
warned consumers about taking on too much household debt to get
into the housing market, and have been trying to engineer a soft
landing for the sector by tightening bank lending rules.
Residential real estate activity typically picks up in the
spring, and economists have been waiting to see if demand will
return after a dramatic slowdown since the middle of 2012.
The Teranet-National Bank report showed prices rose more
than 1 percent in April from March in three markets in Western
Canada, where booming natural resource sectors have boosted
economic activity.
Prices were up by 1.3 percent in Winnipeg and Edmonton and
by 1.2 percent in Calgary. Excluding the three regions, the
composite index would have been flat in April.
Smaller increases included a 0.6 percent rise in Hamilton, a
0.5 percent gain in Montreal and a 0.4 percent advance in
Toronto.
Prices were down from the month before in five markets.
Vancouver prices dropped 0.8 percent, Quebec City prices dipped
0.5 percent, Ottawa-Gatineau prices were off 0.2 percent, and
prices fell 0.1 percent in Victoria and Halifax.
Year-on-year price gains continued to slow but remain
positive in 9 of 11 Canadian cities as slowing sales activity
has yet to bring down prices.
Prices dropped from April 2012 by 3.3 percent in Victoria
and by 2.9 percent in Vancouver, which were among the hottest
Canadian markets prior to the slowdown.
Compared with a year earlier, prices were up 6.1 percent in
Quebec City, 5.5 percent in Calgary, 5.4 percent in Hamilton,
4.4 percent in Winnipeg, 4.3 percent in Toronto, 3.6 percent in
Edmonton, 2.8 percent in Halifax, 1.5 percent in Ottawa and 1.3
percent in Montreal.
The industry group for Canadian real estate agents is set to
release its April report on sales of existing homes on
Wednesday, which is expected to show a sharp drop in activity
from a year earlier even as prices held steady.

May 2, 2013

Analysis: Canadian housing – bursting bubble or gentle landing?

TORONTO (Reuters) – It’s looking like an unsettling spring in Canadian housing, a market that has proven far more even-keeled and less scary for investors in recent years than in the United States.

In what is traditionally the best season of the year for real estate agents, Toronto agent Ecko Jay says the industry is seeing far fewer buyers, a result of tighter lending rules, high prices and fear of a bubble. In Toronto alone, sales dropped 40 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier, making homeowners and investors jumpy.

May 2, 2013

Canadian housing: bursting bubble or gentle landing?

TORONTO, May 2 (Reuters) – It’s looking like an unsettling
spring in Canadian housing, a market that has proven far more
even-keeled and less scary for investors in recent years than in
the United States.

In what is traditionally the best season of the year for
real estate agents, Toronto agent Ecko Jay says the industry is
seeing far fewer buyers, a result of tighter lending rules, high
prices and fear of a bubble. In Toronto alone, sales dropped 40
percent in the first quarter from a year earlier, making
homeowners and investors jumpy.

Apr 25, 2013

C$ hits over one-week high after U.S. job data

TORONTO, April 25 (Reuters) – The Canadian dollar hit its
strongest level in more than a week against its U.S. counterpart
on Thursday after U.S. data showed a fall in new jobless benefit
claims, briefly tempering broader fears about tepid U.S.
economic growth.

The data fueled investor appetite for riskier assets
including stocks and helped support the prices of some
commodities. While the Canadian currency climbed in early trade,
activity fell off when the data bounce faded.

Apr 25, 2013

C$ hits strongest in more than a week after U.S. data

TORONTO, April 25 (Reuters) – The Canadian dollar hit its
strongest level in more than a week against its U.S. counterpart
on Thursday after U.S. data showed a fall in new jobless benefit
claims, briefly tempering broader fears about tepid U.S.
economic growth.

“We traded all the way down to C$1.0201, so it’s been a very
strong morning, a lot just based on U.S. dollar broad-based
weakness,” said Camilla Sutton, chief currency strategist at
Scotiabank.

Apr 17, 2013

Canadian house prices rise 0.4 pct in March from Feb – Teranet

TORONTO, April 17 (Reuters) – Canadian home prices rose in
March from February, ending a six-month string of declines, as
spring home buyers breathed some life back into Canada’s cooling
housing market, the Teranet-National Bank Composite House Price
Index showed on Wednesday.

The index, which measures price changes for repeat sales of
single-family homes, showed overall prices rose 0.4 percent in
March from a month earlier.