Bank of Canada Reveals Latest Interest Rate Decision

The Bank of Canada resisted pressure from investors by declining to signal it will soon follow global peers in easing monetary policy.
At a decision Wednesday, policy makers left interest rates unchanged for a seventh straight meeting and said stronger than expected growth, as well as inflation on target, means current levels of stimulus are where they should be. That’s despite the escalating trade war between China and the U.S. undermining global economic momentum.
The Bank of Canada’s reluctance to signal a greater willingness to cut rates -- which makes it an outlier as counterparts around the world ease policy -- may come as a surprise to some investors and analysts who had expected more dovish language and some easing later this year. The Canadian dollar rose after the statement.
“This is a bit more hawkish than we anticipated,” said Brett House, deputy chief economist at Bank of Nova Scotia. It’s “not a clear change in bias. It doesn’t close the door on an October cut, but it doesn’t set up an October cut either.”
Wednesday’s narrative underlined trade risks and reiterated that Canadian growth is likely to slow in the second half of this year -- all of which suggests policy makers are far from confident about the economic outlook and could be keeping the door open for increasing stimulus if things worsen.
Global Easing
But the net effect of the statement is a continuation -- at least explicitly -- of the central bank’s reluctance to show its hand on whether it plans to join other central banks like the Federal Reserve in easing policy, preferring instead to wait for more concrete signs of weakness before moving.
“In sum, Canada’s economy is operating close to potential and inflation is on target. However, escalating trade conflicts and related uncertainty are taking a toll on the global and Canadian economies,” the central bank said in its statement. “In this context, the current degree of monetary policy stimulus remains appropriate.”
The Canadian dollar rose 0.4% to C$1.3280 per U.S. dollar at 10:09 a.m. Swaps trading suggests investors are fully pricing in a cut by December, with strong odds of a second by this time next year. That’s still less than the four rate cuts priced by the Federal Reserve over that time.
“The Bank of Canada is stalling but it will eventually be peer-pressured into interest-rate cuts,” Frances Donald, chief economist at Manulife Investment Management Ltd., told BNN Bloomberg.
Waiting too long is a risky strategy that could backfire if policy makers are late to recognize spillover effects on businesses and households, particularly since the country’s outlier status on policy could fuel gains in the Canadian dollar.
Bank of Canada officials said they will pay close attention to “global developments and their impacts on the outlook for Canadian growth and inflation.”
The case for cheaper money isn’t as compelling in Canada as it is elsewhere. A strong run of economic data affords the Bank of Canada opportunity to resist -- as it has so far -- the dovish turn in global policy.
Interest rates also remain stimulative in real terms, and borrowing costs have already declined sharply in the country because of falling global bond yields -- a development the Bank of Canada cited in its statement. But escalating tensions between China and the U.S. are getting tougher to overlook. Trump’s tariffs on imports from China have already become a major reason behind global factory weakness.
The Bank of Canada characterized Canadian second quarter growth of 3.7% annualized as “strong” but noted some of the strength was probably temporary and pointed out that consumption spending was unexpectedly soft.

Article by - Canadian Real Estate Wealth

Canmore Compost Bins Roll Out

                            Photo by Rocky Mountain Outlook

CANMORE – Canmorites can now pick up residential compost bins before the pilot project officially kicks off.

A new accessory on the Civic Centre counter, the eight-litre kitchen bin can be picked up at several locations over the next couple of weeks including the Civic Centre, the weekly Canmore Mountain Market on 7th Avenue and grocery stores in the community with the project officially starting Sept. 3.

"Food waste programs for municipalities are part of the norm," said Amy Fournier, Climate Change Specialist for the Town, who previously worked with the City of Vancouver sustainability group.

"There has been lots of enthusiasm, lots of community members are engaged on it, it's been fantastic. People have been waiting for this for a long time."

Introduced to Canmore as a result of community interest and pressure, the $2.9 million pilot project will be here a year earlier than expected after Canmore council made the decision in April to transfer $51,000 from the waste operating budget to the recycling operation budget to pay for the cost of sending the organic material to Banff for 12 months.

Benefits of moving up the residential pilot program were outlined in the staff report, which included moving the community sooner towards achieving the Town's waste diversion goals, per Environmental Sustainability Action Plan.

Partnering with the Town of Banff, which has been successfully running its compost program for more than 10 years, the Town of Canmore will be sending its food waste 24 km west where it is then sent to a composting facility in Strathmore, Alta.

An estimated 500 tonnes of organic waste will be diverted from landfills from residential homes per year with the action plan target to reduce the .60 tonnes of garbage per person per year to .45 tonnes by 2020.  

"We want to divert food waste from the landfill – it is the biggest component of our waste and we are diverting a significant waste," Fournier said.

In 2016, a waste characterization study found residential waste heading to the landfill contained 30 per cent organic material and commercial garbage contained 50 per cent organics.

Working with the program as a climate change specialist, Fournier explained food in the landfill takes years to decompose and ends up releasing methane emissions which is considered approximately 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

"It's a great way for me to launch into my role and launch into the climate change action plan," Fournier said.

"This is a significant and tangible program to help [achieve goals] ... This will help us with our greenhouse gas reduction target goals which helps mitigate climate change."

The Town of Canmore has a list of items accepted on the website including meat, fruits and vegetables, baked good, bones, fruit pits and rinds, coffee filters, tea bags, small amounts of cooking grease, paper towels and pizza boxes.

Items not accepted that Fournier wanted to note is biodegradable bags and take-away cups, even if made of paper on the outside, the cups often have an interior plastic lining meaning it cannot be composted or recycled.

"If in doubt, throw it out," Fournier explained.

"We have these neighbourhood bins so it is a community effort – only putting in food and food soiled paper – and if someone dumps plastics, it ruins the effort for everyone. It happens with recycling as well but if someone comes in and dumps in their garbage it will have to go to the landfill instead and it ruins the effort of other folks."

Residents can start dropping off food waste on Sept. 3 at several different locations including Boulder Crescent Recycling depot, the Downtown Recycling Depot, south Canmore at 4 Street and 7 Avenue, 200 Larch Ave. and at Lawrence Grassi and Peaks Drive.

For more information visit the Town of Canmore website.

Fix It or Not? What to Ask When Prepping Your Home for Sale

When you make the decision to sell your home, it can be tricky to know which changes would make your home sell more quickly or boost the sale price — and which would be a waste of your time and resources. Each home (and each homeowner) is different; that’s why we’ve come up with eight key questions to ask yourself before making any changes to prep your home for sale.

General Questions

These first three questions will help you take the temperature of the real estate market in your area and assess the competition.

1. How hot or cold is the market in your area? Are homes being snapped up after the first open house, or are they languishing on the market for months? Are homes being sold at or near the asking price, or for much lower? Are open houses bustling with people, or is attendance sparse? Get a feel for the market in your area by talking with your real estate agent and checking local listings. If it’s a seller’s market, you may be able to get away with doing fewer repairs and modifications before selling, and still have good results — in a buyer’s market, expect to do more work to make a positive impression on buyers.

2. How fast are you looking to sell? If you need to sell your home immediately — say, because you have already committed to buying another home or need to move because of work — it is in your best interest to do everything in your power to ensure a quick sale at the highest price possible. If you have more flexibility, and you feel uncomfortable making too many pricey changes to your home before selling, it may make more sense to focus on cleaning, decluttering and making small cosmetic changes (like painting) — particularly if the market is hot and favors the seller. If you aren’t getting the offers you would like, you can always decide to spring for a few bigger changes later and relist your home.

3. What is the condition of comparable homes on the market? It can be quite helpful to know a little about the homes that buyers in your area are looking at. Examine photos of homes for sale in your area or even attend a few open houses, and make a mental note of how the other homes compare to yours. Are the kitchens updated? Are the floors in good shape? If all of the other homes you see have a certain feature (for instance, an updated kitchen) that yours lacks, consider making that a priority. You don’t need to make your home exactly like all the other homes on the market; just make sure there isn’t a single factor that could give your home a disadvantage.

To Fix or Not to Fix: Deciding Which Repairs Are Worth Tackling

The next five questions will help you assess whether or not to make a specific repair or change before selling your home.

4. Does the faulty item give the impression the property has not been well cared for? Leaky faucets, cracked tiles, an overgrown lawn, broken appliances or anything else that doesn’t work as it should can immediately turn off buyers. At an open house, people often zip through quite quickly, and if they notice one or two things that send up red flags, they may not give your home another chance.

5. Can you find a less expensive fix? Let’s say you scoped out the comparable homes on the market in your neighborhood, and they all have updated kitchens but yours hasn’t been touched for some time. Rather than spend big on a full kitchen remodel, why not give your kitchen a less costly refresh? For instance, you could paint the cabinets, swap out cabinet hardware, change the light fixtures and upgrade the appliances to something current and functional but not top-of-the-line. You will put some money into it but not nearly as much as with a full remodel — well worth it if it gets your home in the running in a competitive market.

6. How much will you realistically need to lower the price if you don’t fix it? If you have a lot of costly repairs to tackle to get your home ready to sell, you may be considering selling it as is. But keep in mind that buyers looking for a fixer-upper will also be looking to discount the selling price for the repairs plus the hassle. In other words, you won’t be able to simply estimate how much the repairs will cost and deduct that from the selling price; you’ll need to deduct even more to make it worth the buyer’s time and effort. Discuss this with your Realtor and look into other fixer-uppers for sale in your area to come up with an appropriate selling price.

7. Is it one of the first things potential buyers will see? First impressions are key, and that is never more true than in the real estate business! If you have a repair you are unsure about tackling, use this as a litmus test: Is it something the buyer will see as he or she approaches your house and walks through the front door? If so, fix it.

8. Could it be a deal breaker? Some home repairs, like a new roof, are just so major that they will scare off all but the most determined buyers. If the market in your area is hot (see No. 1) and you have ample time (see No. 2), there’s no harm in trying to sell without making the big repair, as long as you are willing to price it accordingly (see No. 6). If it’s a buyer’s market but you don’t have time to make the repair before listing, you could offer to pay for it as part of the sales agreement — otherwise it’s probably best to make the change first and then put your home on the market.