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Rate update and increase in volatility in the North American markets

  • Andrew Masliwec, Analyst, Capital Markets

Good Morning,

Back by popular demand, I will be filling in this week for Jason on what was a very turbulent week in the global markets. It has nothing to do with the Canadian bond market’s early close today, I swear.

I need to highlight the Government of Canada and Canada Mortgage Bond yields changing this past week.  Due to a ‘flight to safety’ to low-risk investments after political turmoil down south, bonds rallied throughout this week (bringing yields down). The 5 year GoC is currently yielding 0.95% and the 10 year GoC is yielding 1.48%. As of writing, the 5 and 10 year CMB’s are yielding 1.37% and 1.97% respectively.  The 5 year GoC hit a low of 0.88% and to hammer this point home, yields have not been this low since just after Trump’s election in November 2016.  Which is a perfect segue to some other news of this week…

World Market News
North American markets took a hit on Tuesday into Wednesday with news coming out that Donald Trump asked his FBI director to drop an internal investigation over his former NSA chief. The US dollar and equity markets were already on edge as a report earlier this week mentioned that Trump shared intelligence with Russian officials. Now, the majority of my political science expertise comes from Jason Bourne films, but the clear take away from all of this that Trump’s political agenda is being derailed from all sides. The word impeachment was being tossed around on the house floor and many believe these distractions will block any major policy changes coming out of the White House.

Volatility in the markets was up across the board on the news, as safe haven assets all rose and equity markets fell.  Gold is up 2.03% on the week to $1,253 oz/USD.  The VIX, a market measure of volatility, was at a month high.  On Wednesday, the TSX closed down 1.73% erasing all of the gains for the year.  Did I mention bonds also rallied and yields are down?

On the home front, the 10 year fixed CMB and the 5 Year CMB FRN issuances occurred this week. The sizing was $2billion for the 10 year and $2.75 Billion for the 5 year.  Although investor demand was very strong, these were on the low end in terms of issuance size in the last 12 months. The 10 year CMB opened at a spread of +48.5 over the 10 year benchmark GoC. As of writing, that spread widened a bit to +48.9.

One major economic announcement early this morning with Canadian CPI coming in with a downward surprise.  There was a 0.4% increase month-over-month which was lower than the expected 0.5%. Year over Year CPI also came in as 1.6% vs the expected 1.7%. This reinforces the market view that the Bank of Canada will keep the overnight rate unchanged this year.

May 24
It is also Victoria Day long weekend this weekend, named after the former Queen Victoria. Unless you live in Quebec where it’s called ‘National Patriots Day’. Some other fun, and maybe even alternative, facts about Victoria Day weekend:

  • Victoria’s Day also celebrates the current Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday, even though she is born in April and England celebrates her birthday in June. Weird.
  • Alternatively called May 2-4, possibly named after a case of beer, but more likely named after Queen Victoria’s Corgi, who came in at a whopping 24 pounds.
  • You should never drink and canoe, but Park’s Canada takes it a step further by banning all alcohol at camp sites this weekend.
  • 50% of Canadians have no idea what Victoria’s Day is all about. 

Have a good Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday,

Andrew Masliwec
Analyst, Capital Markets