The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development says Canada’s economy is growing so fast the country might soon hit full employment, but it remains worried about “overheating” housing markets in Vancouver and Toronto.Canada’s gross domestic product will grow by 2.8 per cent during 2017, double last year’s pace, the Paris-based think-tank projects, fuelled by gains in household wealth, a pick-up in oil and gas industry investment, low interest rates and government spending.“The federal government’s mildly expansionary fiscal stance will hasten the economy’s return to full employment,” the organization said in a report released Wednesday. “The labour market is strengthening. The unemployment rate is down about half a percentage point from a year earlier, and more people are coming into the labour force.”Don’t expect strong first quarter GDP numbers to continue, Capital Economics warns‘Some real problems with Canada’: Muddy Waters founder says Home Capital selloff among nervous-investor signalsStatistics Canada will release its jobs report for May on Friday. The unemployment figure for April was 6.6 per cent, and economists expect little change.But the OECD is concerned about the housing markets in Toronto and Vancouver. The OECD thinks Canada’s economy is expanding fast enough for the Bank of Canada to push interest rates higher toward the end of this year, and is hoping higher interest rates could help cool the housing markets in those cities.Provincial governments in Ontario and B.C. have introduced transfer taxes that aim to ease the Toronto and Vancouver residential real estate markets, but the OECD said the impact from those taxes will likely be short-lived.The OECD is also concerned that a broad expansion of rent controls in Ontario may discourage the construction of new rental buildings. This may actually harm the people Ontario’s new rules are supposed to help, the OECD said. “Low rental supply would hamper labour mobility — particularly for the poor and the young.”But rate hikes and transfer taxes won’t fully address the risks the Canadian economy faces from a “disorderly” housing price correction, the OECD said.The Canadian government last year introduced some rules that are designed to keep riskier borrowers out of the housing market. The OECD said Canada needs to bring even more of this type of “macro-prudential” regulation. For example, it said Canada could use different debt-to-income constraints in regions that have high home prices.“Higher interest rates will take some of the wind out of booming housing markets and rapidly rising house prices,” the OECD said. “Nevertheless, macro-prudential measures, which were strengthened during 2016, should be tightened further to address economic and financial risks related to the housing market.”The OECD’s outlook for Canada is quite bullish. The OECD’s forecast tops the Bank of Canada’s estimate for Canadian growth this year of 2.6 per cent. The OECD also puts the Canadian economy well out in front of the U.S., which the think-tank expects will grow 2.1 per cent this year.Canada’s economy is getting a push from what the OECD described as the federal government’s “mildly expansionary” deficit spending. Federal government spending accounted for 1.9 per cent of Canada’s 2016 GDP, up from 0.8 per cent the year before.But the OECD is also expecting the private sector to drive growth. Business investment dropped sharply after the downturn in the oil and gas sector, but the OECD now sees signs of a “modest” pick-up in investment, particularly if oil remains above US$50 a barrel.Indeed, although the OECD expects Canada’s economy to grow at a slower rate of 2.3 per cent in 2018, it’s looking for boosts in business investment and exports to keep the country’s economy expanding at a rate ahead of inflation.And Canada needs that business investment and export growth. Canada’s recent economic gains have been due to private consumption, housing investments and government spending. The OECD said those increases aren’t sustainable because they haven’t been matched against gains in income or output.The OECD said Canada faces several potential downside risks, chief among them the possibility of a “disorderly” decline in the Toronto and Vancouver housing markets.“Such a correction would reduce residential investment, household wealth and consumption. A sufficiently large shock could even threaten financial stability,” it said.The OECD also cautioned that Canadian export growth could be hit by protectionist measures, such as recently imposed U.S. tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber.Financial Post email@example.com twitter.com/vonhasselbach
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The Literacy and Non-formal Education Development in Afghanistan project (LAND AFGHAN aims to fill part of the education gap that resulted from the war, UNESCO said. The project’s main focus will be on building a nationwide network of literacy teachers, trained in modern non-formal education methods.Coping with more than two decades of war has left Afghanistan with few qualified workers and professionals: most either fled the country or were killed during the conflict. Under the rule of the Taliban, women were not allowed to work and girls were forbidden from attending school. The agency estimates that only 51.9 percent of Afghan men over the age of 15 and a mere 21.9 percent of women in the same age group can read and write. While a vast effort is underway to rebuild the country’s education system and to get all Afghan children back in school, the adult population, responsible for the immediate reconstruction of Afghanistan, also needs to upgrade skills and knowledge, UNESCO said. During the second phase of the project, community learning centres will be set up in Kabul and throughout Afghanistan’s different regions to provide access to these literacy programmes for as many people as possible. Managers will be trained to run them. According to UNESCO, a special effort will be made to reach Afghan women and girls with the project, with the establishment of a Literacy Resource Centre for Girls and Women, sponsored by the Asia Pacific Cultural Centre (ACCU). The project is initially financed by a $500,000 contribution from the Japanese Government and is considered a flagship programme for the UN Literacy Decade (2003-2012) which will be officially launched at UN Headquarters in New York on 13 February.
The total bus and coach sector grew 118.6% to 883 registrations in May, and was up 56.5% for January-May.Registrations of purpose-built buses and coaches rose 14.2% in the month and 44.5% in the first five months of 2012.Converted bus registrations were up 240.9% in May and 68.5% for the year-to-date.“The bus and coach sector enjoyed significant growth in May, with registrations up almost 120%,” said Paul Everitt, SMMT Chief Executive. “Purpose-built buses and coaches are showing the most consistent levels of demand, but converted buses also saw a welcome return to growth in the month. Operators continue to utilise new technologies to enhance fleet reliability and efficiency with more than 650 electric buses registered since 2009, boosted by the Green Bus Fund.”Click through to download the full May 2012 bus and coach registrations news release and data tables, which include a more detailed analysis of the figures.Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)
EVERY MORNING, TheJournal.iebrings you nine things you need to know with your morning cup of coffee.1. #POPULARITY: Fianna Fáil has topped another opinion poll, reaffirming it’s new position as the most popular political party in the country. The Sunday Independent/Millward Brown poll puts the party at 27 per cent, two per cent ahead of Fine Gael with Labour on just 13 per cent and Sinn Féin on 20 per cent.2. #PROMISSORY NOTES: The legality of halting all cases against IBRC is in doubt, The Sunday Business Post reports this morning as officials at the Department of Finance work on changes to the legislation. However KPMG liquidator Kieran Wallace told the paper that anyone who is successful in a case against the bank would be considered an unsecured creditor and probably would not be paid.3. #ROADS: A 22-year-old man has died of injuries sustained in a serious two car collision in Thurles, Co Tipperary on Friday night. The driver of the second car, also aged 22 years, was taken to hospital with minor injuries and later discharged. Gardaí are now appealing for witnesses to the incident to come forward.4. #CROKE PARK: Further talks are to take place today on extending the Croke Park Agreement following yesterday’s negotiations, with unions saying they hope this round of discussions will result in a deal, RTÉ reports. Bodies representing gardaí have said they will not be returning to any talks that involve negotiating pay cuts.5. #GEORGIAN: Negotiations over the future of the ESB-owned Number 29 Georgian House Museum are underway though the company has said there are no plans to close it. The ESB told TheJournal.ie that there are some negotiations with staff in respect to reducing the costs of running the museum.6. #COALITION: Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has said that he is not ruling out the possibility of going into a coalition with either Sinn Féin or Fine Gael after the next general election. In an interview with TheJournal.ie, Martin said there is no strong parliament and that people are rightly disillusioned with the lack of any radical political reform.7. #DEPORTATION: Britain’s Home Secretary has slammed the judiciary accusing judges of “subverting” democracy by ignoring rules aimed at deporting more foreign criminals. Writing in The Mail on Sunday newspaper, Theresa May said some judges had chosen to “ignore parliament’s wishes” by disregarding guidance making clear that convicted criminals’ rights to a family life had limits.8. #CYPRUS: Cypriots began voting today in a crunch election to choose a new president tasked with securing a bailout deal to prevent the recession-hit country going bankrupt, AFP reports. Nicos Anastasiades, 66, of the rightwing main opposition Disy party, is tipped to win the first round in which 550,000 Cypriots are eligible to vote.9. #MARRIAGE: Some 3,500 couples have taken part in the first mass ‘Moonie’ wedding since the death of the founder of the Unification Church, the organisers of the event. Another 24,000 people were also married via video link as part of the ceremony with all of the couples dressed identically, BBC reports.(Image: Lee Jin-man/AP)