Donald Trump’s Black Swan
Markets are in full-blown panic mode this morning after U.S. President Donald Trump made a surprise announcement Thursday night that he’s slapping new tariffs on $350 billion of goods from Mexico at a 5-per-cent rate starting almost immediately, and rising to 20 per cent by October. The tariffs will remain “until such time as illegal migrants coming through Mexico, and into our Country, STOP,” Trump tweeted.
Bloomberg News macro strategist Mark Cudmore declared it a possible “Black Swan” event, meaning it could be the trigger for a wholesale market meltdown. Bank of Montreal economist Sal Guatieri is warning this is bad news both for Mexico’s economy and for Canada’s prospects of getting the new North American trade deal ratified. “This threatens to tip Mexico into recession and further chip away at U.S. business confidence and growth, while raising serious doubts about Mexico ratifying the USMCA,” he wrote in a client note.
Canada’s economy bounces in March
Canada’s economic output grew at a rapid clip in March, following a decline in February, Statistics Canada reported Friday morning. Both manufacturing and the mining, oil and gas sectors saw strong rebounds. But the overall picture for the first quarter of this year remained muted: From January to March, the economy grew at a weak 0.1-per-cent pace, the same as the previous quarter. The Bank of Canada and others expect March’s rebound to continue, at least through the second quarter of this year. But those predictions came before the sudden escalation of Trump’s trade war last night.
Watch: Is Canada’s economy addicted to money laundering? Story continues below.
Don’t bogart that industry, my American friend
CIBC World Markets analyst John Zamparo says Canada is losing its status as the hottest legal cannabis market in the world, as investor cash increasingly heads to the United States. “Many investors we have spoken to have begun to rotate capital from Canada to the U.S. on the fear that Canadian players will be unable to capture growth south of the border,” he said, as quoted at Marijuana Business Daily. In other words, once again, Canadian companies are too small to win in the big leagues. Sigh. At least we have the Raptors.
Walmart’s new urban supercentres
Walmart Canada has unveiled its new new “urban supercentre concept” at a location at Toronto’s Stockyards. The new store will feature “Fast Lane” checkout, which allows shoppers to scan and pay for items through their app as they go. The store has signed agreements to host a number of partner retailers, including Freshii, the UPS Store, Miniso, McDonald’s and others. The idea is “to appeal more to young families in urban markets,” Walmart Canada CEO Lee Tappenden said in a press release.
Another foreign oil company bites the dust
Oklahoma-based Devon Energy has sold its Canadian oil operations to Canadian Natural Resources for $3.8 billion, OilPrice,com reports, making it the latest foreign company to exit Canadian oil. Devon follows in the footsteps of such oil giants as Royal Dutch Schell, ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips, who have all reduced their presence in Canadian oil or exited the market altogether in the past several years. The upshot of this is that Canada’s oil industry is more Canadian-owned than it used to be.