• With indicators pointing to accelerating economic growth, the debate between inflation hawks and doves is heating up.
• In the pro-inflation camp, higher food and energy prices abroad, and rising inflation expectations stateside are setting off alarm bells that much higher U.S. inflation may not be far off.
• On the dovish side of the argument, domestic price data continues to trend downward, wage growth has slowed, productivity has kept unit labor costs low, and job growth has remained tepid.
• The Federal Reserve is leaning towards the dovish camp, citing the slow pace of job creation and expecting inflation to remain contained. As such, expectations of withdrawal of monetary stimulus appear premature.
• This week’s housing indicators painted a picture of a relatively flat real estate market. Building permits, housing starts and new home prices all posted modest gains in late 2010 and early 2011. The data does not alter the TD Economics view that a further cooling is in store, with home sales falling 8% and prices falling 1% in the coming year.
• TMX-LSE proposed merger would create an energy and mining powerhouse, but government approval is needed.
• The jury is still out on whether there is a commodity bubble. In our opinion, the bulk of the rise in commodity prices is supported by the increased demand from emerging markets.
• Canadian exports surge in 9.7% in December, outpacing imports and leading to a trade surplus. Outcome bodes well for economic growth in December.