Following are the highlights from a telephone conversation with Jean-Francois Perrault, Chief Economist Scotiabank and John Webster, President and CEO Scotia Mortgage Corporation which took place on Thursday, April 9, 2020 at 4:30 p.m.
First, it’s not all bad news. While I’ll have to include some unpleasant information in order to provide a complete picture, that is not the focus.
There’s a document floating around the internet from Goldman Sachs. Have you seen it? It’s a private client summary regarding the coronavirus. 1,500 companies dialed in to this call.
For the record, Goldman Sachs has said the summary text was not authorized by them and it contains erroneous information which was not used during the call. Still, there seems to be a consistent message here. I wanted to share this with everyone because I do believe in much of what is being said. Have a read. It’s a summary but a bit lengthy. I strongly recommend reading the entire summary as the message in the end is positive and is in line with historically recovery patterns.
Whenever there’s speculation that the Bank of Canada (BoC) will raise its key interest rate – or rates actually rise – many people are preoccupied worrying about locking in if they have a variable rate or renewing early in a fixed rate.
But, don’t panic! Rates aren’t going through the roof.
Remember all those pessimists who were calling for a housing bubble or collapse?
If you listened to them and rented for the past eight years, how much would you have lost? How much would your rent have increased since then? And would you still be able to rent that condo or house… or would your landlord possibly have plans to sell it and leave you out in the cold?
We used to expect an economic slowdown or recession every five years. But something happened after the last big recession in 1990. Since then, there has really only been one recession: in 2009.
This came off the heels of the infamous US subprime mortgage crisis that crippled most of the world’s economies for years. Yet, in Canada, we got off relatively easy. Our slowdown lasted less than a year.
Yesterday, Bank of Canada (BoC) Governor, Stephen Poloz, left rates unchanged. This kept the bank prime rate at 3.45%.
This also, indirectly, affects fixed mortgage rates. Great news for anyone with a mortgage. Go ahead, it’s okay to feel good about paying a low interest rate on what’s probably the biggest debt of your life!
ARE ECONOMISTS RIGHT?
For months we’ve heard economists forecasting 2-4 BoC rate hikes for 2018. So far, we’ve had one increase – in January. Should we be expecting three more increases? Only time will tell, since the BoC raises its rate when inflation rises above the target inflation rate… currently the range is between 1% and 3%, and sits at an acceptable 2.10%. Some believe inflation has increased temporarily, in part, due to increased minimum wage.