‘Blood-Thirsty,' ‘Uninformed' Investors Circling Canada's Economy: CIBC

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With the loonie “under attack” and bets against Canadian stocks on the rise, the Bank of Canada should come to the country’s defence, CIBC Capital Markets says.

“We’ve spent hours over the past few weeks talking to blood-thirsty global investors that are largely influenced by Trump’s tweets on NAFTA and the Home Capital saga,” CIBC deputy chief economist Benjamin Tal said in a note published Friday.

“The loonie and Canadian financial (stocks) are off by roughly 3 per cent recently.”

new york stock exchange
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York on Friday, May 5, 2017. (Photo: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

In fact, the loonie has been the worst-performing major currency against the U.S. dollar so far this year.

Analysts say it’s due to Donald Trump’s threats against NAFTA, combined with an ongoing trade deficit, and the recent troubles at Home Capital, which have cast some doubt on the stability of Canadian mortgage lending.

Tal argues the negative sentiment around Canada’s economy is unfounded — the result of global traders who have little knowledge of the country.

He noted Canada’s economy is expected to clock a scorching four-per-cent growth rate for the first quarter of this year; employment growth has been strong (at least until the most recent report); and business investment, the key driver of job growth, is bouncing back.

“You can’t blame global fund managers for having only limited knowledge of our economy,” Tal wrote. “But sometimes, a little knowledge is worse than no knowledge.”

home capital
Signage outside the Home Capital Group Inc. headquarters office in Toronto, Ontario, Thursday, May 4, 2017. The crisis at Home Capital has caused investors around the world to bet against the Canadian dollar and Canadian financial stocks. (Photo: Cole Burston/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Tal wants to see more positive language from the Bank of Canada. He criticized the bank for taking a negative tone on the economy in recent reports — something the bank has been doing to signal that it won’t raise interest rates anytime soon.

But that pessimism “arguably help(ed) those uninformed investors to form their decision,” Tal wrote.

“On May 24th the Bank will release its interest rate statement. That is a golden opportunity to remedy that situation and stand for Canada.”

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