HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK – Mar. 17
- Global markets remained tense this week as the continuing standoff between Russia and the West on the issue of Crimea weighed on sentiment.
- Chinese data on exports, industrial production and retail sales disappointed with the numbers for the January/February period painting a picture of an economy that’s decelerating at a worrying pace.
- Unless the geopolitical situation deteriorates rapidly early next week, the Fed is likely to continue to trim bond buying by $10bn to $55bn per month, remaining of the view that much of the weakness in recent economic indicators has been weather related and economic growth will accelerate with the spring thaw.
- The acceleration could be helped along should the recent Senate proposal to extend jobless benefits retroactively for another five months pass Congress.
- On Tuesday, the federal government announced that it had reached a bilateral free trade agreement with the Republic of Korea. The agreement is the first of its kind with an Asian nation. The government estimates that Canadian exports to Korea will increase by 32% as a result of the pact.
- National net worth increased 2.7% in 2013Q4, following a 2.5% rise in 2013Q3. Households remain highly leveraged, with the household credit market debt-to-income ratio edging down slightly to a still elevated 164.0%.
- Canadian housing starts rose 6.4% to 192,094 annualized units (on a seasonally-adjusted basis) in February. The February gain follows three consec
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