Matthew Lekushoff |


Last week, in a somewhat surprise move, the Bank of Canada raised interest rates again, partly due to the unexpectedly strong economic reports we mentioned in our last newsletter. In response, the loonie strengthened to its highest value against the U.S. dollar in two years

For those not familiar with why interest rates affect a country's currency, it's largely because of the flow of international funds. There are huge (as in, trillions of dollars) sums of money, be it from sovereign nations, companies, or investors, looking to invest in very safe investments like T-Bills. 

When a country like Canada increases its interest rates, those looking to allocate these funds become more interested in Canadian interest-bearing investments (due to the higher ROI) in comparison to other places. For example, an American pension fund wanting to buy one billion dollars of Canadian T-Bills, will need to sell the U.S. currency they have and buy Canadian currency to make the investment. And via the magic of supply and demand, the Canadian dollar rises in value. 

There are, of course, other factors affecting a nation's currency strength, but this is usually why you see a country's currency rise when they raise interest rates -----  especially when it's a surprise. Lowering interest rates, of course, will have the opposite effect. 


"Most misunderstandings in the world could be avoided if people would simply take the time to ask, 'What else could this mean?'"
-----  Shannon L. Alder   


It makes me sad when I see  the Canadian Payroll Association's latest survey , indicating almost half of the responding employees (4,766) state they live paycheque to paycheque. Although a small sample size, this year's numbers appear fairly bleak. For the first time in the survey's nine-year history, more respondents (32%) reported their mortgages were the most difficult to pay down in comparison to 23% who mentioned credit cards.
If interest rates keep going up, I suspect it may get even harder to keep up with mortgage payments.


The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck  by Mark Manson: Personally, I believe this is one area many of us don't think enough about. I enjoyed the book, not just for its ability to help reframe what we focus on, but also the surprising number of passages that made me stop and think. In short, the book will help you clarify what you choose to find important in life. 
1% Better Every Day  by James Clear: This video is a great reminder that sometimes many small improvements can be a better strategy than a few large ones.
Inside Waymo's Secret World for Training Self-Driving Cars  by Alexis C. Madrigal: An interesting look into how Google is researching and testing autonomous cars-----  I found the virtual testing part most interesting.
Having an opinion worth hearing  by Brian Boutwell: In today's world, social media makes our natural echo chambers worse than ever. This has led to the predictable result of being inundated with information that only confirms our current beliefs. If you feel (like I do) that it's not just everyone else who is subject to this effect, this article is a great place to start.

Comparing China vs. India Population Pyramids  by Visual Capitalist: It's no secret that China and India have the two largest populations on the planet. Lesser known is how much younger India's population is. This difference in average age will allow India to surpass China in size, and should give it an advantage in having a higher percentage of its population in its working prime for more years.


With the NFL season starting for most teams last Sunday, I'm back to cheering on my beloved Buffalo Bills. Although it appears to be a rebuilding year (...yes...again), I'm somewhat surprised to report that with the Patriots unexpected loss and Miami's absence due to Hurricane Irma, our win over the hapless Jets puts us in sole possession of first place in the AFC East.
Please forgive the unwarranted bragging, but when your favourite team hasn't made the playoffs this century, you take any chance to celebrate you can!  If any of you are Bills fans as well, feel free to let me know -----  we'll likely need each other's support in the near future :) 


Matthew Lekushoff

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