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Jason Ellis shares his insights on this week’s rate hike and more

  • Jason Ellis, Managing Director, Capital Markets

Good Morning.

Sorry…today’s post is a little late.  Let’s just say Treasury Guy has sworn to never drink again.  I’ll try to keep this brief and to the point today.

On Wednesday morning, Canada joined the U.S. as the second G7 country to raise interest rates.  The overnight benchmark rate moved from 0.50% to 0.75%.  The banks were quick to follow and Prime rates across Bay Street moved from 2.70% to 2.95%.  The bond market extended its sell off following the hike and by the close of business last night, 5 year bond yields were at six month highs (1.53%) and 2 year yields were pushed to the highest levels seen since 2013 (1.21%).  Despite the hike being widely forecast, the market was surprised by the Bank’s effort to downplay weak inflation and signal that the economy’s output gap will close earlier than previously forecast.  Overnight index swaps now imply a 74% probability that Poloz et al will increase rates again this year. 

On Thursday, Federal Reserve Chairperson Janet Yellen enjoyed a 2 hour chitty-chat with the Senate Banking Committee.  The conversation focused primarily on regulatory issues but during the meeting Yellen repeated concerns from her House Committee session the previous day about sluggish inflation.  She added however, that the Fed is also concerned that strong job growth might lead to more inflation.  Brilliant.  The classic dovish/bullish stance.  It’s like saying rates will go down, unless they don’t go down and if they go up, they likely won’t go down, unless they go down later.  That’s why she gets paid the big bucks.

Also on Thursday, the International Monetary Fund (“IMF”) released a report that said Canada’s economy has regained momentum but housing imbalances have increased and uncertainty surrounding trade negotiations with “the Donald” could hurt the recovery.  It said financial stability risks could emerge if the housing correction is accompanied by a recession (duh), but stress tests have shown that Canadian banks are sufficiently capitalized to withstand a significant loss on their uninsured mortgage portfolios.  The IMF report went on to say blah blah blah.  Boring.

Finally, in news that really matters, Crayola has announced the retirement of “Dandelion” yellow from the standard 24 colour package, leaving only one yellow in the box, Amarillo, which is Spanish for yellow…not to be confused with Armadillo…which is a weird animal, not a colour and definitely not yellow.  I am personally outraged.  This is reminiscent of that time Kraft Dinner changed colour to be less fluorescent.  Witchcraft!

Since their introduction in 1903, more than 200 distinctive Crayola colours have been produced but only 120 colours are currently available.  Other retired colours include Thistle, Raw Umber and the controversial “Flesh”, now known by its more PC name: Peach.

I fear I’ve taken this to a new low.  Sorry. 

Have a good weekend. 

Treasury Guy
Jason Ellis, Managing Director, Capital Markets