May 27, 2024by Cristian0

A new panel is live, and now we are featured on the CBC website! This time we spoke about three topics:

  1. The DoJ suing to split back Ticketmaster / Live Nation: The most significant change versus previous attempts is that now they managed to get everyone angry. Artists, venues and consumers are all affected. Oddly, due to weak antitrust laws in the US, consumers are not considered direct customers of Ticketmaster, so now that artists and venues are shown to be affected, the DoJ could intervene. If successful, this should increase competition in the artist/venue space, not in the consumer one, so don’t expect ticket prices to come down anytime soon.
  2. The new low fare from WestJet: WestJet is moving towards an Ultra Low-Cost Carrier (ULCC) model, charging now for the carry-on baggage. This is common in European ULCC, such as EasyJet and others. Changes like this are great for the company as they save on fuel, save on airport fees and taxes, and provide marginally better customer service to those who require overhead bins as there is less demand for them. It also comes with a modest 2% decrease in fares in competitive routes. However, the cost is more fare dispersion. Now you won’t really know what the final price of your ticket will be, and you will need to plan a bit ahead to what you want to bring with you. Also, airports may need to rethink their fee structure, considering they are normally tied to the base price of the ticket.
  3. Inflation: The latest inflation numbers were positive for Canada, with a 2.7% annualized rate. However, and what I spoke about in the panel, I expect the BoC will be a bit wary of being too aggressive lowering the interest rate, given the US is still suffering high inflation and the rates between the two countries cannot diverge too much.

Give it a watch and comments always welcome!

September 25, 2023by Cristian0

Now that the summer is over I was invited once again to the Weekend Business panel on CBC News. You can watch it below!

The TL;DW version is:

  • Latest inflation numbers: Not very good news as inflation seems to be supply-side, so it is much harder to control. Gas prices will also negatively affect the price of food even more for the next quarter at least. This means that interest rates will remain high for a while, possibly even into 2025. Also, deflation is not a bad thing if it is transitory and aimed at first necessity goods, as opposed to affecting consumption in the long run.
  • The UAW strike: Not really my topic, but my comment here was that the strike was expanded significantly and that can impact car prices in the future as it will now target in-demand cars. Also, some factories in Canada may be facing temporary work stoppages. 
  • Equifax report on the increase in lending application fraud: while this is a relatively minor issue, it mixes two different things. First, mortgage fraud is on the rise. Most of this type of fraud is misrepresentation of income, which may be considered a white lie by some borrowers (16% according to a relatively old survey), but it actually is fraud and can have serious consequences for borrowers. The second is auto and credit card fraud. This one is mostly done by criminals that steal identities. The recommendation here is clear: monitor your credit at least monthly and if you see anything that you don’t recognize, immediately contact your financial institution.

I’m on next on October 14 and November 4.

July 18, 2023by Cristian0

Another interest rate hike, another hit to Canadians to keep inflation in check, another time journalists reach out to the BAL for insights. I was on CTV national speaking about it. You can see the interview in this link. What’s cool about this link (active for 30 days) is that it also shows how many people viewed the interview. 3,520,000 persons. Wow, I’m amazed about the reach of these activities and humbled I get the chance to speak directly to so many Canadians. Thank you to everyone that tuned in and I hope I helped explain what’s going on!

The second coverage was at CTV London. This one did have a shareable link, and a piece of written news. The written news is in this link, and I’ve also embedded the interview below.

I had a bit of a slip that made the segment: what I wanted to say was that one of the factors within core inflation is service inflation, and that one hasn’t come down. Also, this round we had a surprisingly strong demand for goods. According to the BoC this is both due to savings from the pandemic that households are spending, and also because of very strong demand from the US for our goods.

The BoC is much more pessimistic about when they will control inflation, targeting now the second semester of 2025. This would come, however, with no recession. This is very uncertain though, as they themselves acknowledge. We’ll have to see.

In a more personal opinion, I believe the BoC is ok with a moderate recession as long as inflation comes back down, so they rather overdo it. Inflation expectations are really high both in consumers and businesses. These decisions are aimed at convincing everyone that they will keep hiking rates as long as necessary. I, for one, believe them.