We knew that as early as 2008 the federal government had made provisions to buy insured mortgage pools from Canada’s banks in order to keep credit flowing during recessionary times. The government was careful to call it a “liquidity support”, not a “bailout” but, as this report reveals, government support for the country’s biggest banks was far more generous than the official line would suggest. Support spanned the course of two years and Canada’s banks turned not only to the Canadian federal government and the Bank of Canada for help during this protracted period, they also took advantage of American bailout programs.
This paper uses data from the RAND American Life Panel to examine potential explanations for the gender gap in financial literacy including the role of household marital specialization and division of labor among couples. We found that women perform almost 0.7 standard deviations lower than men on our financial literacy index, and the difference is highly significant. We then examined a number of potential factors affecting the observed financial literacy gap. We found that demographic characteristics had a limited effect on the financial literacy gap, whereas controlling for socio-demographic characteristics, current and past marital status reduced the observed gap by around 25%.
We may be in the final innings of what has been a tremendous three-decade run for debt markets. Investors have benefited from the persistent decline in yields, making fixed income amongst the top performing asset classes over this time frame, as shown in Figure 1. However, the current low yields should not panic bond investors. Specifically, fixed income investors need to keep the following in mind:
This brief commentary summarises gold’s price performance in various currencies, its volatility statistics and correlation to other assets in the quarter. It provides context to the investment statistics files published at the end of each quarter.
The primary macroeconomic events that shaped Q1 2012 for gold were broad-based US economic data strength, China slowdown concerns, ECB (European Central Bank) bank loans and future European bailout potential. In an eventful quarter for the global economy that saw increased volatility in capital markets, gold finished the quarter materially higher despite a number of headwinds.
This table was updated in April 2012 and reports data available at that time. Data are taken from the International Monetary Fund's International Financial Statistics (IFS), April 2012 edition, and other sources where applicable. IFS data are two months in arrears, so holdings are as of February 2012 for most countries, January 2012 or earlier for late reporters. The table does not list all gold holders: countries which have not reported their gold holdings to the IMF in the last six months are not included, while other countries are known to hold gold but they do not report their holdings publicly. Where the WGC knows of movements that are not reported to the IMF or misprints, changes have been made.
Global equities traded lower during the week, led by 2%+ declines in many European indices as the Spanish 10-year sovereign debt yield approached 6% for the first time since last November.
The sell-off was initially sparked by disappointing U.S. employment data and then gained steam on Tuesday when the S&P 500 and other indices breached key technical levels.
Most retirees have reached the stage where they have accumulated all of their lifetime
savings. Likely, they will have no further contributions to offset withdrawals or market losses.
Faced with ongoing spending needs as well as uncertain returns, inflation, and longevity,
retirees are seeking investment advice that is tuned to their needs. They don’t want a typical
accumulation strategy cloaked in a retirement costume.
Home values, now back to 2003 levels, combined with historically low financing rates are fueling homes sales, both existing and new, even while homes values continue to decline due to high levels of foreclosure re-sales, which set a new record in February. January existing home sales were very strong, while February slowed somewhat but still were quite strong when viewed on an annual basis (up almost 9%). February pending home sales were up a similar amount on a year-over-year basis, February new home sales were up 11% from the prior year, and both housing starts and permits were up 34% from year-ago levels.
Our view for 2012 has been that a strong rally in the early part of the year could power to new highs through Q1 but would be at risk of a setback (anything stretching from a mild dip to a sizeable correction) in the late-Q1 to mid-Q2 period before a more sustainable rebound materializes in the second half of the year. Now that positioning and momentum indicators are no longer as positive as they were a couple of months ago and cyclical growth indicators are at risk of faltering, it is a good time to reassess the market landscape.
Investment in commodities became a common part of a large investor portfolio allocation, which coincides with a significant increase of assets under management of commodity indexes. From less than $10 billion around the end of the last century, commodity assets under management reached a record high of $450 billion in April 2011 (Institute of International Finance 2011). Consequently, the volumes of exchange-traded derivatives on commodity markets are now 20 to 30 times greater than physical production (Silvennoinen and Thorp 2010). Similarly, financial investors, which accounted for less than 25% of all market participants in the 1990s, now represent more than 85%, in some extreme occurrences, of all commodity futures market participants (Masters 2008).
Our survey allows us to assess in detail, not only how much ETFs are being used, but also for what purposes. Exhibit 4 shows that nearly 70% of respondents use ETFs frequently for achieving broad market exposure. Around 50% of respondents frequently use ETFs for buy-and-hold investments (56.6%), short-term (dynamic) investments (54.9%), specific sub-segment exposure (52.0%) or tactical bets (50.3%). Compared to previous surveys, we find that there is an increasing demand for short-term dynamic strategies and sub-segment exposure; though long-term buy and hold investment for the broad market exposure is still the dominant reason for using ETFs.
The answers lie in the data. In 1980, official estimates of proved oil reserves in the United States stood at roughly 30 billion barrels. Yet over the past 30 years, more than 77 billion barrels of oil have been produced here. In other words, over the last 30 years, the United States produced more than two and a half times the proved reserves we thought we had available in 1980. Thanks to new and continuing innovations in exploration and production technology, there’s every reason to believe that today’s estimates of reserves are only a fraction of what will be produced and delivered tomorrow—not only here in the United States, but across the entire North American continent. Unfortunately, even as updated data show plentiful future supplies of domestic energy, driven by new technologies, a significant movement has emerged. This movement’s mission is to advance and perpetuate falsehoods and inaccuracies with respect to the volume and availability of energy resources in and under our country and continent.