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Daily Pulse

Canada

Ontario’s budget deficit was about a third smaller than expected last fiscal year as the world’s largest sub-sovereign borrower recorded higher revenue and cut expenses, opening the door to a speedier return to a balanced budget. The shortfall for Canada’s largest provincial economy was C$7.4 billion ($5.6 billion) in the year ended March 31 versus a previous estimate of C$11.7 billion. The government kept its forecast for a C$10.3 billion deficit this fiscal year. Ford’s administration is pushing to eliminate the budget shortfall by fiscal 2023-2024 in the face of resistance to spending cuts from teachers, public servants and parents. With a gross domestic product of C$854 billion, or almost 40% of the country’s output, Ontario’s accounts are key to Canada keeping its top credit rating. The province’s net debt was a record C$359.9 billion as of March 31, while its net-to- GDP ratio for the current fiscal year will end at 40.7%, up from 40.2% at the end of the previous fiscal year, according to government data.

Gold and other precious metals rallied after a strike against Saudi Arabian oil facilities raised the possibility of retaliatory U.S. military action in the Middle East.

United-States

Brent crude futures posted their biggest-ever jump when trading opened in the wake of the weekend’s attack on a Saudi Arabian oil facility that has removed 5% of global supplies. The estimated 5.7 million barrels a day of lost production is the single biggest disruption on record, surpassing the 1979 hit to Iranian output from the Islamic Revolution as well as the loss of Kuwait and Iraq supplies during the 1990 Gulf War. All eyes are now on how quickly the country can restore supplies, with people familiar saying significant volumes could come back on stream within days, while it could take weeks to restore full capacity. President Donald Trump authorized the release of oil from the U.S. emergency reserve, declaring on Twitter that there is “plenty of oil.”

Europe

Equity markets will face significant damage in a no-deal Brexit unless the European Union reverses a plan to block traders in its home territory from using London exchanges, the U.K.’s top market watchdog said.

Boris Johnson and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker are holding their first face-to- face talks over a working lunch. While a breakthrough is unlikely, the British prime minister said he’s pushing hard for a deal in the next month. But he will warn Juncker he will reject any further delay to Brexit beyond the end of October. If no agreement is reached at the next summit of EU leaders on Oct 17-18, Johnson is set to pursue a course of leaving the bloc without one, in defiance of a new law designed to force him to seek an extension to the deadline.

Asia

Japan and the U.S. are working toward a joint leaders’ statement that would include a U.S. promise not to hike tariffs or introduce quotas on Japanese cars, the Tokyo Shimbun newspaper said Monday. The statement is set to be issued after a meeting between President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in New York next week, the paper said. The two leaders are also expected to sign a broader bilateral trade agreement at the meeting.

China’s slowdown is deepening just as risks for the global economy mount, piling pressure on the authorities to do more to support growth. Industrial output rose 4.4% from a year earlier in August, the lowest for a single month since 2002, while retail sales came in below expectations. Fixed-asset investment slowed to 5.5% in the first eight months, with the private sector lagging state investment for the 6th month.

The author

Michel Doucet

Michel Doucet

Vice-President and Portfolio Manager
After obtaining a Bachelor's degree from the Faculty of Social Sciences at the Université du Québec in Montréal and his Master’s degree, Michel Doucet began his career as a junior economist at the National Bank head office in Montreal. In 1992 he joined the institutional equities and fixed income group at Lévesque Beaubien Geoffrion as an economist and market analyst. Over the years, he has led various projects related to the North American and international economies as well as Canadian public finances. In 1996, the team of institutional economists to which he belongs was ranked first in Canada by Brendan Wood International. In August 1997, Mr. Doucet joined the personal services division of Lévesque Beaubien Geoffrion where he served as an economist, fixed income market analyst and vice president. In 2004, he joined the Desjardins Securities full service team as Vice President. He now occupies the roles of fixed income strategist, economist and portfolio manager. He manages the Securities Portfolio Advisory Group, advisor marketing and distribution of financial planning and insurance.