Last weeks biggest business, currency, and travel stories: house prices in Toronto are up as sales are at a record low; Canada adds jobs but the jobless rate still goes up; Euro inflation gets closer to the ECB’s 2% target – what that could mean for the euro; over 150,000 jobs added in the US, but below economist’s expectations; what Trump could mean for the economy and the USD.
According to the Toronto Real Estate Board, the average price of a home in the GTA in December 2016 was up 20% year on year. Buying a home in the city will now set you back an average of $730,472. Part of the increase is the result of a 15 year-low number of houses listed for sale.
Canada Adds Jobs
Canada added over 50,000 jobs in December, bringing the cumulative total in 2016 to 214,000 based on figures released by Statistics Canada. 81,000 full time positions were added last month, while 27,000 part time jobs were lost. Experts had predicted a modest loss of jobs in December. Despite this, more Canadians began looking for work meaning the unemployment rate rose slightly to 6.9%. Nevertheless 2016 has created more jobs than any year since 2012, despite global uncertainty, collapsing oil prices, and the Alberta wildfires.
Eurozone inflation rose to its highest level in over 3 years, ticking up to 1.1% according to Eurostat. The European Central Bank inflation target is 2%, and ECB chief Mario Draghi believes that goal will be achieved in 2018 or 2019. Until then the ECB will likely continue its quantitative easing program and low interest rates, which boost growth but devalue the euro. Adding to the optimism, a survey by IHS Markit suggests that the eurozone grew at its fastest rate in nearly 6 years – despite Brexit fears, a migrant crisis, and a number of upcoming elections in key member states in 2017.
December Job Growth
Job growth in the US slowed to 156,000 in December, below the 175,000 predicted by economists, and far below the 204,000 created in November. Despite this the jobless rate sits below 5% at just 4.7%, an increase from the previous month’s rate of 4.6%.
President-Elect Trump’s policy positions will be a defining factor in the US economy in 2017. He has been critical of the Fed in the past, and may pressure the bank to increase rates faster – which would strengthen the USD further – which could hurt the stock market and reduce exports, but advocates business friendly policies like lower taxes.
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