We are living through interesting times – economically speaking. The latest news surrounding the turmoil in the stock market and a potential “crash” has made some consumers a bit jittery. You may be wondering how what’s happening in the stock markets the will impact your life. Here are a few thoughts.
Let’s put China in perspective. China is considered an emerging market. As such, investing in that country’s growth by purchasing stocks when prices are low, may theoretically net a nice profit. But, like any other investment in the equities market, there is always a risk. Over the past year, investors have poured more and more money into Chinese stocks. A classic bubble developed. In June, the bubble popped and the Shanghai index lost about a third of its value before rebounding.
Then China moved aggressively to control the crisis. The government gave money to brokerages to buy stocks and ordered company executives not to sell their shares. The central bank cut interest rates to a record low, which all led to “Black Monday” (August 24).
If you are a stock market investor, you likely have a portion of your portfolio in emerging markets and you may hold stock in some Chinese companies but foreign investors own only 1.5% of all its shares. Since Monday, stock markets everywhere have rebounded.
Now let’s put Canada in perspective. Our stock market has rebounded and it’s back to business as usual, or as usual as it can be, given the times. If you’re an equities investor, that adage “buy and hold” may still apply, but it’s always a good idea to talk to a professional investment advisor.
Oil is still volatile but RBC Economics predicts that those provinces that have felt the slowdown will see increased market activity in 2016, which means a return of jobs and increased housing activity. Prices at the pump are down, which is good news for consumers.
The Canadian dollar is now above 75 cents – it dipped slightly below that with all the negative news.
One of the key indicators to look at is job numbers. The latest from Statistics Canada show that employment in Canada is steady and hiring remains steady.
Despite the slowdown in the housing market, home values are holding up. As for the high debt levels in Canada, people are generally managing it. According to the 2015 WealthScapes analysis, which was just released, Canadians slowed their pace of borrowing and increased their savings in 2014. Household net worth last year increased 6.1 per cent over the previous year, despite a 2.9 per cent growth in debt, the report found.
As for the housing market, we have historically low interest rates, both variable and fixed. The Bank of Canada rate is sitting at .50%. People are still buying houses and getting mortgages. Some economists suggest we will be living in a low rate environment for a while as global economies continue to recover. It’s like turning a big ship around – it takes time.
This is all good news for Canadians. That’s not to say that there aren’t still challenges ahead, but it’s clear that Canadians are resilient and are well prepared for whatever comes.
I remain at your service for any mortgage-related questions and enquiries.
This article belongs to TMG The Mortgage Group website