TEC Canada is pleased to provide the Andersen Monthly Economic Report exclusively to our members. The former assistant chief of the Bank of Canada’s research department, Dr. Peter Andersen provides valuable economic insight to help you make better business decisions.

Things have changed a lot since early January. There has been a truce in the trade war, but the coronavirus risk has now forced us for the first time in the last 10 years to put an uncomfortably high probability on an approaching North American recession. As coronavirus is spreading faster than SARS years ago, countries will continue to socially distance themselves; therefore, to understand the impact on the Canadian and U.S. economies, employment and consumer confidence are key indicators to watch. With China accounting for 21% of all U.S. goods imports in 2018, investors and businesses should take defensive measures to insure against the increased risk of a COVID-19 recession.

Canada

  • Bank of Canada has to cut interest rates soon. Next interest rate announcement is March 4, if no cuts then, it will probably do it on April 15. A second interest rate cut likely in mid-July. This would lower rates on car loans, personal lines of credit and variable mortgages.
  • The benchmark 10-year Government of Canada bond yield has dropped to 1.189%. This will have an important impact on mortgage rates in Canada.
  • Canada’s job market remains relatively healthy outside of Alberta.
  • The housing recovery that began in Canada last year is expected to carry through into 2020.

U.S.

  • So far, no signs of coronavirus disruption on the U.S. job market, consumer confidence or supply chain.
  • Supply chain shortages will begin to provide headwinds for the U.S. economy in the 2nd Quarter.
  • Americans may be planning to substitute “staycations” for foreign travel.
  • U.S. companies may attempt to repatriate as much of their outsourced supply chains as possible.

International

  • Oil demand is being destroyed by travel restrictions. The benchmark WTI oil price has now declined below $50 to $48.41 and it could test the $40 level in a less favorable scenario.
  • The economic shock from the virus has caught South Korea, Japan, Italy and Germany by surprise and at a difficult time.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Financial Post: Business: Bank of Canada Faces Tough call as Coronavirus Complicates rate Decision

BNN Bloomberg: ‘High-odds bet’ the Coronavirus will Cause a Recession

Harvard Business Review: How Coronavirus Could Impact the Global Supply Chain by Mid-March

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