Monday, December 13, 2010

Economic Indicators Review: Economic calendar and significant earnings announcements of the week ahead

Canada – In November, Canadian housing starts were up 11.6% to 187.2K units from 167.8K in October. Urban starts jumped to 163.1K from 142.3K the previous month. Starts in rural areas sagged to 24.1K from 25.5K. Singlefamily starts rose 5.5% to 61.3K and multiple starts surged 20.9% to 101.8K. On a regional basis, only Ontario gained ground (+82.8% or +34.7K in level terms) while the Atlantic Provinces (-24.0% or -2.3K), British Columbia (-21.3% or - 5.1K), Quebec (-15.2% or -6.1K) and the Prairies Provinces (-1.5% or -0.4K) all retreated. Despite November’s increase, we continue to foresee a slowdown in housing activity over the coming months. This outlook is consistent with the 6.6% drop in residential building permits reported in October.

In October, Canada’s international merchandise trade deficit narrowed to $1.7 billion from $2.3B in September. Exports advanced 3.1% or $1.0B while imports progressed 1.2% or $0.4B. The trade deficit contracted on an improvement in the non-energy trade balance. In volume terms, exports sprang 4.9% while imports rolled ahead 1.8%. On a regional basis, the Canadian trade surplus with the U.S. continued to deteriorate, attaining levels last witnessed in 1992.

The Bank of Canada kept its overnight rate unchanged at 1% this month. In doing so, the central bank took out an insurance policy against tail-risk events that have been resurfacing lately. The BoC placed its heaviest emphasis on concerns over sovereign debt problems in Europe, which could have a negative impact on the financial markets and economic activity.

United States – In October, the U.S. trade deficit posted a second consecutive monthly decline, shrinking 13.2% to $38.7B. Exports swelled 3.2% to $158.7B while imports receded 0.5% to $197.4B. Petroleum imports fell 6.7% while imports of non-petroleum goods climbed 0.4%. In November, import prices floated higher 1.3% after rising 1.0% a month earlier. Year over year, prices were up 3.7%, compared with 3.8% the previous month.

In December, the University of Michigan Confidence Index vaulted to 74.2 from 71.6 in November. Both current conditions and expectations contributed to the improvement in sentiment on the month.
Full report: Economic Indicators Review: Economic calendar and significant  earnings announcements of the week  ahead

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