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Off the Charts

Canada’s Sahm Of All Fears

The Sahm Rule, named after former Federal Reserve and Council of Economic Advisors economist Claudia Sahm, indicates that a US recession has begun when the 3-month moving average of the national unemployment rate rises by 0.5 percentage points or more relative to its low during the prior 12 months. As outlined in a previous piece, it has not yet reached that threshold in the United States. In Canada, a slightly higher threshold is needed – calculations are performed differently in each country, and the level of unemployment is typically higher north of the border. Claudia addressed this in a 2021...

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Short memories

Investors are increasingly convinced that the Federal Reserve will cut rates aggressively next year as inflation slows – even if the economy experiences a “soft landing”, with growth and employment holding up relatively well. We’re not so sure. Scientists have long known that we tend to carry the macroeconomic lessons learned in our youth throughout our lives. People who lived through the Great Depression remained less likely to participate in stock markets throughout their investing careers, more favourable economic conditions led the early Baby Boomers to maintain persistently higher allocations to equities, and individuals who came of age around the...

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Rate expectations

This morning’s move in bonds might not rival the transition from Brosnan to Craig, but it has reordered the global currency landscape. Yields are lower across the curve, and the dollar is down against all of its rivals after a softer-than-anticipated October inflation print. The Federal Reserve is now expected to ease policy more quickly and dramatically than many of its major counterparts over the next year – with the European Central Bank standing as the lone exception.  But long-term yield differentials are still tilted overwhelmingly in the dollar’s favour. The difference between ten-year Treasury yields and our gross domestic...

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