Thursday, December 9, 2010

When the BOC talks we should listen

I have never read such an anxious piece from them as their latest review. Even in the midst of the crisis they were not sounding such dire alarm bells.

Here's a few clips:

'The Bank judges that the risk of this environment jeopardizing financial stability in Canada in the near term is moderate; however, careful monitoring of risk-taking is essential so that any buildup of financial imbalances can be identified early '

'In Canada, with the growth rate of debt outpacing that of disposable income in recent years, the proportion of households with stretched financial positions that leave them vulnerable to an adverse shock has grown significantly. The risk is that a shock to economic conditions could be transmitted to the broader financial system through a deterioration in the credit quality of loans to households, which would prompt a tightening of credit conditions that could trigger a mutually reinforcing deterioration of real activity and financial stability. '

'The Bank judges that, overall, the risk of a system-wide disturbance arising from financial stress in the household sector is elevated and has edged higher since June. This vulnerability is unlikely to decline quickly, given projections of subdued growth in income '

'However, the vulnerability of the household sector has deepened, with the rate of growth of household debt continuing to exceed that of income.'

'The main domestic source of risk arises from the increasingly stretched financial position of Canadian households, which leaves them more vulnerable to adverse events '

'In Canada, the deteriorating financial position of the household sector requires vigilance. When taking on debt, households bear ultimate responsibility for ensuring that they will be able to service it in the future. It is also essential that financial institutions actively evaluate the risk sur- rounding households’ ability to service their debt over time. Authorities are co-operating closely and will continue to monitor the financial situation of the household sector.'

My comments:

So the are saying the same thing in several different ways, in a very short document. Consumers and households you are over-debted..damn over-debted. Your debt growth has no relation to your income growth (or lack of) and your ability to pay it!

Wouldn't have anything to do with your ZERO interest rate policy would it now??

Where is this huge debt coming from?= OVER-PRICED HOUSING.

Most of it is housing-related debt and equity withdrawal (you know all those radio ads for people wanting to lend you money on the last cent of equity you have in your house)

So what are they going to do about it??

Nada. Nothing. Zilch. We will just wring our hands and hope consumers do the right thing even though no-one but economists read our reports and actions are louder than words, but we ain't going to do a thing. Just worry about.