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The Progressive Economics Forum: Inflation Eats Up Three-Quarters of Wage Gains

Today, Statistics Canada reported an annual inflation rate of 1.3% for July. By comparison, it reports that the average hourly wage rose by 1.8% between July 2012 and July 2013.

In other words, even anemic inflation is eating up nearly three-quarters of wage increases. On average, Canadian workers have eked out only a 0.5% improvement in purchasing power over the past year.

Low inflation and the weak job market both argue for the Bank of Canada to keep interest rates low. The rationale to hike interest rates would be to quell inflation, which is already under control (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Polozogistics: Nine Thoughts About the Choice of the New Bank of Canada Governor

 

1. He’s Number Two: Stephen Poloz was widely acknowledged in economic and political circles as the second-best choice for the top job at the Bank of Canada. So the surprise was not that he was chosen. The surprise was, Why Not Tiff Macklem? Will someone please find out and tell the rest of us?

2. Doctrinaire [or not?] on Inflation Targeting: He thinks it’s “sacrosanct.” Having studied with monetary policy guru David Laidler at the University of Western Ontario, and been part of the Bank of Canada team that brought inflation targeting to a neighbourhood near (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Mark Carney’s tenure and the state of monetary policy

Mark Carney’s tenure as Governor of the Bank of Canada overlaps some challenging economy history. Appointed in early 2008 just as the US housing bubble was popping, Carney took the helm in time for a financial crisis that brought the global economy to its knees. We are still living that history in terms of a [...] . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Mark Carney’s tenure and the state of monetary policy

The Progressive Economics Forum: Ontario hiding savings from lower interest rates

The Ontario government Fall Economic Statement and Fiscal Review ignores and hides billions savings the province will gain from lower borrowing rates in coming years.

While this statement acknowledges that borrowing rates will be considerably lower in coming years–and more than 100 basis points lower in 2014–their forecast of debt interest costs (on page 85) is identical to what Ontario’s 2012 budget reported (on page 167). This makes little to no sense, particularly with the province’s debt also lower than they had anticipated in the budget.

The only possible explanation would be a very large shift in composition from

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The Progressive Economics Forum: Household debt going from bad to worse

Canadians are now more indebted than either Americans or the Brits at the peak of their housing bubble. Statistics Canada today revised the national accounts. The result on the household debt front was that instead of Canadian households having a debt to disposable income ratio of 154, it has now been revised upwards to 166.

The new data allows better disaggregation of non-profits and households that were previously lumped together. The lower debt ratios of non-profits were making the entire sector look like it had less debt. Now that households can be pulled out and examined

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The Progressive Economics Forum: Quebec Tuition: Between a Rock and Hard Place?

In the context of student protests over Quebec tuition fees, my friend Luan Ngo has just written a very informative blog post on Quebec’s fiscal situation.

While I encourage readers to read his full post, I do want to use the present space to make mention of three important points he makes:

-On a per capita basis, Quebec spends more on government programs than most other Canadian provinces.

-Residents of Quebec pay more personal incomes taxes than any other province.

-Quebec’s debt-to-GDP ratio is significantly higher than that any other Canadian province.

He argues that, in light of the

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The Progressive Economics Forum: Deflating the Monetary Hawks

Canada’s business press has recently been filled with speculation that the Bank of Canada may soon hike interest rates based on its somewhat more optimistic economic outlook. But today’s Consumer Price Index report indicates that there is no need to raise interest rates. Statistics Canada reported that both headline and core inflation fell to 1.9% in March, slightly below the central bank’s 2% target.

Higher interest rates are not warranted to combat already low inflation, but could derail Canada’s fragile economic recovery by increasing borrowing costs and driving up the overvalued loonie. The latest OECD data on purchasing power

. . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Deflating the Monetary Hawks

The Progressive Economics Forum: Inflation and Drummond

Statistics Canada reported today that consumer prices jumped in January (by 0.4% or 0.5% seasonally-adjusted), offsetting the drop in December. As a result, the annual inflation rate is now 2.5% and the Bank of Canada’s core inflation rate is 2.1%.

Monetary Policy

Both measures are well within the central bank’s target range, which should allow it to keep interest rates low and perhaps reduce them further if unemployment continues to rise. Since the last inflation report, the US Federal Reserve has pledged to keep its target rate near zero through 2014, providing a further argument for

. . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Inflation and Drummond