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5 Ways to Rewire Your Brain to Deal With Coronavirus Stress – from Psychology Today

Staying mindful and connected to loved ones can help you calm down – from Psychology Today   The novel coronavirus epidemic has hit the world with a vengeance, creating widespread illness, fear, panic, uncertainty, and death. In many ways, it is the perfect storm of conditions to trigger automatic, primitive brain reactions to danger. It is life-threatening, invisible, unfamiliar, and unpredictable. These are all the conditions likely to stir up your brain’s threat detection system.   How Your Brain Responds to a Threat When your brain perceives a threat, a structure called the amygdala hijacks the brain into emergency mode. The thinking centers of your brain, located in your prefrontal cortex, go partially or fully offline, and the primitive, emotional brain takes over. The primitive, emotional centers of your brain are hardwired to create a “fight, flight, or freeze” response when they perceive a threat to your survival.   Adrenaline and cortisol flood the nervous system, …
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Fed Cuts Overnight Rate One Percentage Point But Markets Plummet

In an unprecedented Sunday afternoon meeting, the US Federal Reserve cut their key policy rate by 100 basis points (bps) to a level of 0%-to-0.25% (see chart below). Also, the Committee announced increased access to the discount window where the Fed makes loans to banks. The Fed is the lender-of-last-resort and is signalling that it will provide liquidity wherever needed. As well, with interest rates already so low, the Fed is well aware that rate cuts can only do so much. Thus, they are returning to quantitative easing–the buying of large volumes of U.S. government Treasury bills and bonds as well as mortgage-backed securities (MBS), to inject liquidity into the financial system. The Treasury and US MBS markets are usually the deepest, most liquid markets in the world. But over the past two weeks, liquidity has dried up. Financial instability has risen sharply with the high level of volatility. Banks …
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Extraordinary Coordinated Policy Actions To Ease the Economic Impact of Pandemic In Canada

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada would introduce a “significant” fiscal stimulus package, as part of a coordinated effort with other Group of Seven countries to counter the virus-driven global economic slowdown and calm markets. In an exceptional press conference held at 2 pm today, Finance Minister Morneau sat at the side of the Governor of the Bank of Canada, and the head of the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) to announce measures to soothe financial markets, boost confidence and support the Canadian economy. Only nine days after the Bank of Canada cut the overnight policy rate by 50 basis points to 1.25%, Governor Poloz announced another 50 bps reduction in the policy rate to a level of 0.75%. Here is the Bank of Canada’s official statement: “The Bank of Canada today lowered its target for the overnight rate by 50 basis points to ¾%. The Bank Rate is correspondingly …
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Global Markets in Turmoil, Oil Prices Plunge Along With Yields

    Markets shuddered in the face of a price war for oil and the economic fallout from the growing outbreak of coronavirus. Frightened investors poured into haven assets sending yields to unprecedented lows. Oil prices tumbled 30% after Saudi Arabia said it would cut most of its oil prices and boost output when Russia refused to join OPEC in propping up prices (see chart below). Foreign exchange markets convulsed, as the steep drops in oil and share prices overnight sparked a flight from commodity-linked currencies into the perceived safety of the Japanese yen and the US dollar. The Canadian dollar fell to 0.7362 as of this writing. The Government of Canada 5-year bond yield was as low as 0.284% overnight but has since recovered roughly 0.535%, still well below Friday’s closing level of approximately 0.65% (second chart below). Stock prices have fallen very sharply in the first hour of …
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BREAKING NEWS: Bank of Canada lowers overnight rate target to 1 ¼ percent

The Bank of Canada today lowered its target for the overnight rate by 50 basis points to 1 ¼ percent. The Bank Rate is correspondingly 1 ½ percent and the deposit rate is 1 percent. The Bank of Canada notes: “While Canada’s economy has been operating close to potential with inflation on target, the COVID-19 virus is a material negative shock to the Canadian and global outlooks, and monetary and fiscal authorities are responding.” Furthermore, the bank adds that “as the situation evolves, Governing Council stands ready to adjust monetary policy further if required to support economic growth and keep inflation on target. While markets continue to function well, the Bank will continue to ensure that the Canadian financial system has sufficient liquidity.”

Home Sales Slip A Bit In January As Supply Tightens Pushing Up Prices

  Statistics released today by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) show that national existing-home sales dipped between December and January owing to a dearth of new listings, especially in the GTA. As the CREA chart below shows, the pace of monthly home resales nevertheless remained strong.  Home sales recorded over Canadian MLS® Systems declined by 2.9% in January 2020, although they remain among the stronger monthly readings of the last few years.  Transactions were down in a little over half of all local markets in January, with the national result most impacted by a slowdown of more than 18% in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. According to CREA, “While there were few notable gains in January, it should be noted that many of the weaker results have come alongside a shortage of new supply in markets where inventories are already very tight.” Actual (not seasonally adjusted) sales activity was …
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Canadian 5-year Yield Fell To Lowest Level Since October

Global investors are selling stocks and piling into the safety of bonds in response to fears that the Wuhan coronavirus could disrupt global economic activity. Gold prices, another haven, have also risen. The Government of Canada 5-year bond yield traded this morning at roughly 1.35%, well below its nearly 1.70% level one month ago. The 5-year yield leads fixed mortgage rates, so if this trend persists, we might see widely available fixed-5-year rates in the 2.50% range once again in February.    ____________________________________________ Bank of Canada Now Buying 10-year CMBs   The Bank of Canada announced yesterday that effective immediately, the Bank will expand the Canada Mortgage-Backed securities (CMBs, which are government-guaranteed) it can purchase in the primary market to include 10-year fixed-rate bond issues. In 2018, The Bank expanded the assets it acquires to 5-year fixed and floating CMBs. The Bank held $517 million of these 5-year CMBs as of …
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Weak New Listings Slow Canadian Home Sales as Prices Continue to Rise

Sellers Housing Market  Now in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) Statistics released today by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) show that national existing-home sales dipped between November and December owing to a dearth of new listings, especially in the GTA. National home sales edged down 0.9% in the final month of 2019, ending a streak of monthly gains that began last March. Activity is now about 18% above the six-year low reached in February 2019 but ends the year about 7% below the peak recorded in 2016 and 2017 (see chart below). There was an almost even split between the number of local markets where activity rose and those where it declined, with higher sales in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Calgary and Montreal offsetting declines in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and Ottawa. Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity was up 22.7% compared to the quiet month of …
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Sigh of Relief as December Jobs Report Rebounds

Welcome Rebound in Labour Markets in December For this notoriously volatile data series, it is particularly true that ‘one month does not a trend make.’ Following last month’s dismal employment report, job growth rebounded in December, erasing almost half of the earlier decline (even more if you exclude transitory factors in November). As well, the unemployment rate reversed much of its November spike, capping the second-best year of job growth since the recession and supporting the Bank of Canada’s view that the Canadian economy is resilient. Canada’s economy created 35,200 net new jobs in December, bringing the total number of jobs added to 320,300 in 2019, the second-most since 2007. The jobless rate ticked down three basis points to 5.6% and wage gains decelerated to a still-healthy 3.8% from a year earlier. All of the job creation was in full-time employment in the private sector. Provincially, employment gains in December …
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Bank of Canada Interest Rate as of December 2019

The Bank of Canada is maintaining the interest rate at 1.75% as of December 2019. The bank has confirmed that there are ongoing trade conflicts and uncertainty are preventing business investment, trade, and global growth in Canada. 🇨🇦🗞️ The global economy is stabilizing and economic growth is expected to increase over the next couple of years. The next interest rate announcement is January 22nd.. Stay Tuned! 👀🗞️ . To learn more about the Bank of Canada’s decision visit https://bit.ly/2DN7WPo The scheduled dates for the interest rate announcements for 2020 are as follows: Wednesday, January 22 Wednesday, March 4 Wednesday, April 15 Wednesday, June 3 Wednesday, July 15 Wednesday, September 9 Wednesday, October 28 Wednesday, December 9

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