Best of the Week
Most Popular
1.Oil Wars 2016 - US vs Russia vs Saudi Arabia vs Iran - Nadeem_Walayat
2.Crude Oil Price Crash Triggering Global Instability, Trend Forecast 2016 - Nadeem_Walayat
3.Stock Market Crash - Last Week was The 2nd and Final Warning... - Clive_Maund
4.Stock Market Crash Apocalypse or Bull Market Severe Correction? - Nadeem_Walayat
5.TShipping Said to Have Ceased… Is the Worldwide Economy Grinding to a Halt? - Jeff_Berwick
6.Crude Oil Price Crash Catastrophe, Independant Scotland Literally Begging to Rejoin the UK - Nadeem_Walayat
7.Summers: Global Economy Can't Withstand Four 2016 Fed Hikes - Bloomberg
8.Gold And Silver: New World Order: Public Be Damned, Preferably Dead - Michael_Noonan
9.Rigged U.S. Ttreasury Bond Market Double Barreled Hidden Q.E. To Infinity - Jim_Willie_CB
10.Major Stocks Bear Market Awakening - Zeal_LLC
Last 5 days
It's Stock Market Panic Time! - 9th Feb 16
Gold Stocks Picks for Patient Pickers - 9th Feb 16
Oil Price Collapse U.S. Recession Odds 2016 - 9th Feb 16
Preparing for Crisis - It's About Risk Mitigation and Capital Preservation - 9th Feb 16
Top Silver Mining CEO: Don't Laugh, We Could See Silver $100+ - 8th Feb 16
Gold, Investment Leadership Changes Permanent? - 8th Feb 16
Stock Market Panic Decline Begins... - 8th Feb 16
How to Save Money By Growing Your Own Homegrown Tomatoes Indoors From Seeds - 8th Feb 16
US Economy Slides One Step Further Towards A Recession - 8th Feb 16
Gold Bear Market Bottom : Mr. Bear has left the PM Sector for Greener Pastures - 8th Feb 16
Stock Market At Important Support - 8th Feb 16
David Cameron Humiliated in Poland Over Refusal to Stop Taking UK Benefits, BrExit or Super State? - 8th Feb 16
Why Crude Oil Prices Could Continue FALLING From Here - 7th Feb 16
Stock Market S&P, NAS Best, Most Reliable Answers Come From The Market And You - 7th Feb 16
Stocks Bear Market Continues - 7th Feb 16
Silver COT Paving Way for Sustained Upside Breakout Sharp Rally - 7th Feb 16
US Dollar Double Top, Gold Prospects Brightening Rapidly - 7th Feb 16
Gold And Silver - Is A Bottom In? Nothing Confirmed - 7th Feb 16
Gold Stocks Something has Changed - 6th Feb 16
UK Interest Rates, Economy GDP Forecasts 2016 and 2017 - 6th Feb 16
Gold Price, Mining Stocks Rocket Higher - 5th Feb 16
Crude Oil Price Bottoms and Blues - 5th Feb 16
Gold and Silver: Ripe for a Recovery! China May well Change the Game - 5th Feb 16
How Pension Plans are Responding to Financial Repression - 5th Feb 16
Senior Gold Producer Goldcorp Takes Large Stake in Nevada's Gold Standard Ventures - 5th Feb 16
Tips for Smart Oil and Natural Gas Investing 2016 - 5th Feb 16
Another Corporate Giant Is Leaving the U.S. – What This Means for You - 4th Feb 16
TPP is Economic Warfare, Trade Can Make Everyone Worse Off / Governments are Stupid - 4th Feb 16
Gold and Stock Markets Inflection Points Galore - 4th Feb 16
Putin Cries Dyadya (Uncle), Is Saudi Arabia Listening? - 4th Feb 16
Gold Price Golden Bottom? Video - 4th Feb 16
Look North for Value-Priced Growth in Healthcare Biotech Stocks - 4th Feb 16 - TLSReport
BrExit EU Referendum - Britain's FINAL Chance for Freedom From Emerging European Superstate - 4th Feb 16
HUI Now Confirming Gold Price Move Higher - 4th Feb 16
Crude Oil Price Forecast 2016 As Good As It Gets - 4th Feb 16
Gold and Silver More 'Flight To Safety' Active February - 3rd Feb 16
Raytheon Company: A Defensive Stock for a Defensive Market - 3rd Feb 16
Is Silver Really a Weak Link - 3rd Feb 16
Gold to Beat Stocks 2016? - 3rd Feb 16
David Chamberlain Cameron, Britain's Last Chance for Freedom From Emerging European Super State - 3rd Feb 16
EU UK Draft or Daft Agreement By Donald Tusk to Members of the European Council in Full - 2nd Feb 16
Europe: Why It's Going to Get a Lot Worse Before It Gets Better - 2nd Feb 16
The Next Generational Bust Is Coming, Stock Market 70% Collapse - 2nd Feb 16
The Coming Stock Market Decline May be a Monster - 2nd Feb 16
S&P 500 Has Likely Entered a New Bear Phase - 2nd Feb 16
How and Why To Move Your Assets Offshore Before the Financial Collapse - 2nd Feb 16

Free Instant Analysis

Free Instant Technical Analysis


Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

Global Financial Crisis 2016

Mark Carney Abandons Canadians Sinking Ship, As Housing Market Crashes

Politics / Central Banks Dec 04, 2012 - 03:16 AM GMT

By: Fred_Sheehan

Politics

"Just when scientific progress was supposed to be ridding the world of myths and ghosts, famous people became larger than life.... Fame was found increasingly fascinating. And it seemed to happen by popular demand. The general spread of education didn't make people more resistant to fame. If anything, it made them less resistant." -Clive James, Fame in the Twentieth Century




When Lombard Street crawls hat-in-hand to Bay Street, London is in trouble. The Bank of England, having ceded its once impregnable reputation as banker to the world, has cast its line for a Canadian to reign at the Bank of England.

Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney has been lured to the post. He is leaving the Americas in the nick of time, but you would never know it from the reaction. The Daily Telegraph felt compelled to remind readers: "Mark Carney Isn't the Messiah," but it looks as though the myth of central-banking infallibility has not suffered a jot since September 29, 1998, when the Wall Street Journal published James Grant's warning: "Alan Greenspan Isn't God."

To start (and end) with, the Carney-led Bank of Canada has encumbered the country with a housing bubble that is starting to tumble. On April 29, 2012, Barrie McKenna anticipated just such a timely exit in the Toronto Globe and Mail. The "intensely image-conscious Mr. Carney" was already known to be "a candidate to head the Bank of England." McKenna was writing after Carney had publicly worried that "Canadian households as a whole are being overstretched, which creates risk for the economy." (Carney's hokum was addressed here before, on December, 16, 2010: See: "A Vote for Gold.")

"Oh, no you don't," McKenna as much as said when he wrote: "Mr. Carney has kept the pedal to the metal for years now with ultra-low interest rates, flooding the financial system with easy money. That has kept Canadians buying homes while markets elsewhere in the world faltered." In 2005, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan engaged in a similar legacy-building exercise when he noticed there was some "froth" in the housing market.

A point of debate with Mr. McKenna is the word "falter." There may be exceptions (none come to mind), over the past few years, where a competent central bank stymied a budding housing bubble before it unleashed its horrors upon a population. (In which case, "falter" would fit.) Central banks have caused excesses in housing finance across six continents. Whether through incompetence or cowardliness they did nothing when the problems were manageable. Sometimes, they rooted for devastation when froth turned to bubble, after which, there is no return. The media's childish discussion of the heroics to be performed by Mark Carney at the Bank of England demonstrates a lack of integrity, responsibility, and intelligence

Housing excesses in Berlin, Oslo, Stockholm, Hong Kong, Hanoi, Iceland (again!), Melbourne, Nanning, Toronto, and Vancouver are in stages of bubble bursting. To see what Carney is leaving behind, some comparisons are made to the United States. These are meant to show that Canada is heading into a housing catastrophe. The numbers are calculated differently in each country so are only vaguely useful to judge the severity of Canadian indulgence.

The home ownership rate in Canada has risen from 64% to 70% over the past decade. In the United States, the ownership rate peaked at 68%. Remembering the skullduggery required to grasp the American Dream, Canadians are in for some shocking disclosures.

Canadian household-debt-to-household-income is 163%. The ratio peaked in the U.S. at 160%.

Construction jobs in Canada have grown to a larger proportion of employment than was true of the United States at its peak (which was 6%). According to Statistics Canada (statcan.gc.ca): "Construction... employ[s] more than 1.2 million men and women. In 2010, 7.1% of employed Canadians aged 15 and older worked in the construction industry, an increase of 50.8% since 2000, when 806,900 people worked in construction." (The population of Canada is close to 35 million, about 1/9th the 314 million living in the United States.)

Adding construction to the financial sector (FIRE: finance, insurance, and real estate), Canada is more leveraged into mortgages and related paraphernalia than was the United States at its housing peak. Over one-quarter of Canadian GDP is housing and financial-service related. Loonie holders (Canadian dollars) might hope the housing fever settled in the oil sands that surround Fort McMurray, but those who have been buying Canadian bonds are not simply betting on commodities.

Canadian housing starts have averaged roughly 200,000 a year since 2007. Multiply that by nine and Canada approaches the peak, U.S. building figures (2004: 1.9 million starts, 2005: 2.0 million, 2006: 1.8 million, 2007: 1.4 million).

The signs of collapse are manifest: new housing supply is booming; housing demand is waning. Prices are too high for the average buyer (the average Canadian house now costing $350,000). Without the average buyer, house markets tumble. Home equity withdrawal rose from 2% to 8% of disposable income, which spurred spending, and mortgage debt has more than doubled over the past decade.

How are those bullet-proof Canadian banks doing? Since 2000, they have expanded lines-of-credit by 700% when disposable incomes rose 70%. The five largest Canadian banks hold $400 billion of uninsured consumer credit. The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), which insures mortgage loans, got giddy (increasing insurance to 100% of loans and to 40-year amortization periods in 2006). The government lifted the limit on CMHC insurance from $450 billion to $600 billion in 2009. The $600 billion limit is close to capacity, which may not excite a U.S audience, but Canada's GDP is around 10% of its southern neighbor, so the liability (in comparative terms) is around $6 trillion.

On November 27, 2012, an "observer" at VancouverPriceDrop.com described an early indicator that the CMHC will drag Canada's credit rating down a few notches: "43 listings dropped to a cumulative total of 20%+ this week, 12 [fell] 25% and 6 [fell] 30% this week."

The opinions of Carney's effervescence come from the same sources that never saw, nor understand today, how the central banks blew up the world. What is it, exactly, that Carney, or anyone else, is going to do at the Bank of England that will matter at all? Finally, since Goldman Sachs gave us Robert Rubin and Jon Corzine, who could be anything but horrified with another alum at the top?

By Frederick Sheehan

See his blog at www.aucontrarian.com

Frederick Sheehan is the author of Panderer to Power: The Untold Story of How Alan Greenspan Enriched Wall Street and Left a Legacy of Recession (McGraw-Hill, November 2009).

Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.

Frederick Sheehan Archive

© 2005-2016 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

Biggest Debt Bomb in History