It is hard to believe that Christmas has come and gone. Year end is the time of year where we look back at some of the highlights and events that caught our attention. I spent about 20 minutes reading the top 10 Financial stories and it quickly became clear that the top stories all had one thing in common. They had a heavy weighting to one man’s actions/ tweets/. I get that because we are accustomed to expect the news outlets to cover the day to day white house drama. It is basically a never ending reality TV series and will no doubt be fodder for media companies in 2019 as well. You all know this stuff so to heck with those stories. I thought I would highlight what happened in 2018 right here in Canada.
There were three .25 interest rate hikes in 2018.
The household debt in Canada creeped up to $1.78 owed for every dollar of earned income.
The Canadian Stock market (TSX) dropped 12% in 2018.
Gas prices are at their lowest levels of the year with oil prices at their lowest levels ($45) of the year.
Household debt went up by 4.5% but the net worth of Canadians climbed by 8.5% to an average of $808,000.
Canada is 24th on the list of wealthiest countries with $49,940 of GDP per capita. The richest is Qutar at $128,490 of GDP per capita and the poorest is Central Africa republic at $712 of GDP per capita. There are quite a few countries in Africa that do not have any data as well.
Canada is ranked #7 in regards to the happiest citizens. Finland ranks #1. I found it interesting that locally born Finland residents and immigrants go out of their way to get along! The unhappiest reside in Burundi.
Canada is ranked #10 in regards to the best place to live in the world. Norway is the best place to live and has ranked #1 for the 13th consecutive year. That explains why a friend of mine went there in 1991 and never came back!
I listed all these things for a reason. When we feel stressed or sorry for ourselves, we should take a step back and think about how lucky we are to be Canadian. What we take for granted is only dreamt about by the majority of humans on this planet.
In other news
The Vix fear index peaked out at 36 on Boxing Day and is sitting 28.34. The BDYI global shipping index is sitting at 1,271 still a good number. The lowest gas price in Manitoba is 84.4 cents at four locations in Winnipeg - Costco’s, Domo and Husky. The highest price is 129.9 at Petro Can in Brandon (North Hill).
The lowest price in Saskatchewan is 81.4 in North Battleford. The highest price is #11 Conv. Store in Chamberlain. The WTI oil price is sitting at 45.33 and that is why gas prices are low, that leaves a little $$ left over on the monthly budget to redistribute somewhere else.
And this week’s quote is short but sweet:
Canada is one of the most impressive countries in the world. Barack Obama