Sunday 14 December 2014

Oliver says Ottawa exploring ‘steps’ for hot housing market as ministers meet

Oliver says Ottawa exploring ‘steps’ for hot housing market as ministers meet

Finance Minister Joe Oliver says the federal government could take “moderate steps” to address Canada’s strong housing market as he began two days of meetings on Sunday with his provincial counterparts.
The two-day gathering is also expected to reveal the latest figures on federal transfer payments to the provinces as well as explore the effect of plunging oil prices.
On his way to the first meeting, Oliver was also asked about Canada’s rising household debt and the country’s potentially overvalued housing market — two risks repeatedly raised by the Bank of Canada.
“In terms of household debt and the real-estate market, this is a subject, of course, we’re monitoring very carefully,” said Oliver, who reiterated his position that there is no housing bubble.
“So, we’re not going to take any dramatic steps in that regard, but we may take some moderate steps.”
Oliver did not elaborate and added his department had yet to make a decision on this subject.

Canada preparing to return property

China Daily: Canada preparing to return property

"Canada and China are ready to sign an agreement to return illegal assets seized from fugitives of economic crime, including corrupt officials, according to a senior Canadian diplomat.
Canada's Ambassador to China Guy Saint-Jacques told China Daily that the countries have made "good progress this year" in the fight against corruption.
Canada preparing to return property
The agreement "is ready to be signed on the return of property related to people who would have fled to Canada and would have been involved in corrupt activities," the ambassador said.
Once the agreement is signed, "it will serve as a model for other countries. I think on that front we should have good progress," he said.
Corrupt Chinese officials and smugglers seeking shelter in Canada have led to long-term controversy.
In mid November, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation member economies decided to set up a cross-border law enforcement network to strengthen transnational anti-corruption cooperation in the region.
Beijing and Ottawa have "good collaboration" and have returned more than 1,200 people in the past three years, including more than 60 who were sought in China for criminal reasons, according to the ambassador.
Beijing has made remarkable progress in repatriating fugitive officials and other economic criminals from destinations worldwide.
At least 428 Chinese suspects had been captured abroad by the end of October under Beijing's Fox Hunt 2014 operation."

Wednesday 10 December 2014

Canada's housing market overvalued by as much as 30%: BoC

Canada's housing market overvalued by as much as 30%: BoC

The Bank of Canada has acknowledged that the country’s housing market may be overvalued by as much as 30 per cent as a long-awaited soft landing remains elusive.

The bank said Canadian house prices have been overvalued by at least 10 per cent since 2007, and may now have overshot by anywhere from 10 to 30 per cent.
The range is significantly higher than estimates by the International Monetary Fund (10 per cent) and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., which judges there is a “moderate degree of overvaluation.”
Bank Governor Stephen Poloz acknowledged Wednesday that “some financial vulnerabilities appear to be edging higher.”
These include a growing appetite in Canada for subprime mortgages and risky auto loans, triggered by sustained low interest rates.
About 35 per cent of new, uninsured mortgages by smaller federally regulated banks since the end of 2012 could be considered non-prime, according to the report.

Wednesday 3 December 2014

“Slim pickings for China’s immigration industry in Canada’s new investor migration scheme”

“For years, Canada’s immigrant investor programme was the Chinese immigration industry’s cash cow. A money tree. A goose that popped out golden eggs like a tennis ball machine.
Big commissions (more on this below) and a seemingly endless supply of mainland millionaires covetous of Canadian passports made the scheme the Chinese consultants’ favourite. So when it was axed this year, all eyes were on the promised replacement – would it offer similarly rewarding opportunities?
The new scheme has not been formally unveiled yet – expect that in coming weeks – but sources familiar with the government’s plans are now giving a good idea of what to expect. And it’s fair to say that immigration minister Chris Alexander is being crossed off a lot of Christmas card lists in China.”
“Separately, the Wall Street Journal reported last week that the government was targeting total investments of C$120 million (HK$820 million) under the scheme, with each applicant contributing C$1 million to C$2 million. That implies an intake of 60 to 120.

Fifty, 60 or 120 – it matters not at all, compared to the vast scale of the old IIP, which brought about 37,000 rich immigrants to BC from 2005 to 2012. When it was formally scrapped in June, 60,000 would-be millionaire migrants in the years-long queue had their applications dumped too; about 40,000 of those were likely bound for Vancouver.

The new venture capital scheme looks like being so minuscule as to serve little more purpose than allowing the government to keep its promise to replace the IIP. It certainly won’t provide viable access to Canada for the bulk of the dumped IIP applicants.”