Canadian banks shrink future bad debt cushion even as economic risks mount

Royal Bank of Canada reported the biggest drop in allowances, down 30 percent from a year ago. Reuters
Royal Bank of Canada reported the biggest drop in allowances, down 30 percent from a year ago. Reuters
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Updated 29 May 2022

Canadian banks shrink future bad debt cushion even as economic risks mount

Canadian banks shrink future bad debt cushion even as economic risks mount

TORONTO: Canadian banks wrapped up second quarter earnings season last week, with most reporting better-than-expected profits, in large part by reducing the amounts of funds they set aside for future loan losses, raising questions among investors and analysts about whether they are too sanguine about looming risks.

Rising prices and the central bank’s rapid interest rate hikes are squeezing Canadians, who are already among the most indebted in the developed world, and concerns are rising about the extent to which rates must further increase to skirt an inflationary spiral.

“Recessions start when the economy is at maximum awesome,” said Brian Madden, chief investment officer at First Avenue Investment Counsel.

Canadian banks are likely “releasing provisions on performing loans on over-confidence in their (positive) base case economic scenario and underweighting the likelihood of adverse scenarios, which is, in my view, no longer a tail risk.”

Total allowances for credit losses at Canada’s Big Six banks fell 20 percent in the second quarter from a year ago to about C$23 billion ($18.1 billion), the lowest level of the past two years, according to the banks’ financial statements.

Already, there is some evidence that consumers and companies are feeling the pinch, with insolvencies up 24 percent in March from February.

Many of the banks also predict mortgage growth will slow from pandemic levels, although further business and credit card lending recovery are expected to help offset that.

Royal Bank of Canada reported the biggest drop in allowances, down 30 percent from a year ago. Chief Risk Officer Graeme Hepworth told analysts that the bank has adjusted provisions to reflect increased economic headwinds, but that was offset by pandemic-related reserve releases.

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, which missed estimates partly on higher provisions, and Toronto-Dominion Bank had the smallest year-on-year declines in ACLs.

“We like the messaging we heard” from TD, which held back “a good amount” of allowances on macroeconomic risks, CIBC Capital Markets Analyst Paul Holden wrote in a note on Thursday. “Credit trends are benign but TD is still taking a conservative view to the future.”

The Canadian banks share index has gained 2.3 percent since the lenders began reporting results this week, compared with a 1.8 percent gain in the broader Toronto stocks benchmark, shrinking their underperformance since the March peak.

They remain below their historical average trading price relative to forward earnings, while offering higher dividend yields than US peers.


Wizz Air to resume flights from UAE to Russia in October

Wizz Air to resume flights from UAE to Russia in October
Updated 13 sec ago

Wizz Air to resume flights from UAE to Russia in October

Wizz Air to resume flights from UAE to Russia in October

DUBAI: European budget airline Wizz Air will resume flights from Abu Dhabi to Moscow from October, it said on Thursday, more than five months after the carrier suspended all services to Russia following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in February.

The airline’s Abu Dhabi-based joint venture, Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, will operate the daily flight from Oct. 3, with fares starting from 359 dirham ($97.74), it said in a statement.

Wizz Air, which in October 2021 announced the Abu Dhabi to Moscow flights would start in December that year, said on Feb. 27 it had suspended all flights to Russia.

Other Emirati carriers, including Emirates, have continued to operate services to Russia following the invasion of Ukraine.

Wizz Air Abu Dhabi is a joint venture between Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund ADQ and the European airline. It is based in Abu Dhabi and is a UAE registered carrier.


Public private partnerships to be encouraged in key Saudi region by new company

Public private partnerships to be encouraged in key Saudi region by new company
Updated 25 min 45 sec ago

Public private partnerships to be encouraged in key Saudi region by new company

Public private partnerships to be encouraged in key Saudi region by new company

RIYADH: Private businesses will be encouraged to work closely with the public sector on projects in Saudi Arabia’s Qassim region thanks to the creation of a new specialist organization.

The Qassim Region Municipality Company was given the go-ahead to form and create a board of directors by the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Housing.

The company aims to enhance investment activity in the municipal sector in the Qassim region and to establish development projects in partnership with the private sector.


UAE sees financial surplus boom during first quarter

UAE sees financial surplus boom during first quarter
Updated 08 August 2022

UAE sees financial surplus boom during first quarter

UAE sees financial surplus boom during first quarter

RIYADH: The UAE’s net financial surplus increased by 129 percent during the first quarter of this year, according to data from the UAE Ministry of Finance.

The surplus during the first three months of 2022 amounted to 36.4 billion dirhams ($10.1 billion), compared to 15.9 billion dirhams in the same period last year.

Revenues during the first quarter also increased by 39 percent to 123.77 billion dirhams, Asharq reported, while expenses increased by 16.9 percent to reach 87.41 billion dirhams.


KAPSARC participates in IAEE Tokyo event, invites delegations to Riyadh edition

KAPSARC participates in IAEE Tokyo event, invites delegations to Riyadh edition
Updated 52 min 34 sec ago

KAPSARC participates in IAEE Tokyo event, invites delegations to Riyadh edition

KAPSARC participates in IAEE Tokyo event, invites delegations to Riyadh edition
  • The KAPSARC experts spoke at three key plenary and 11 concurrent sessions to share their insights on current global energy and environmental concerns

TOKYO: A delegation from Saudi Arabia’s energy economics and sustainability think tank, the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center, participated in the 43rd International Association for Energy Economics conference in Tokyo last week.

Titled “Mapping the Energy Future, Voyage in Uncharted Territory,” the conference ran from July 31 to Aug. 4, with over 600 attendees.

The KAPSARC experts spoke at three key plenary and 11 concurrent sessions to share their insights on current global energy and environmental concerns, and how to find solutions to help shape future energy policies and encourage climate action.

KAPSARC’s talks and presentations also included the future role of fossil fuels, decarbonization risks and opportunities, renewables, energy economics, electricity markets, transportation and oil market stabilization.

During the plenary session “Climate Change and Decarbonization Challenges: Risks and Opportunities,” KAPSARC Research Fellow Dr. Noura Mansouri said: “Today, we have the opportunity of decarbonization represented in the Circular Carbon Economy, which is a new framework that values all options and encourages all efforts to reduce carbon accumulation in the atmosphere.”

KAPSARC oil and gas market expert, Hamid Al-Sadoon, explained that more investment in the hydrocarbon industry is needed to bridge the potential future gap between energy supply and demand.

“In all likelihood, hydrocarbons are here to stay. Simply because the developing world not only represents a large chunk of the demand, but they also need hydrocarbons to raise the standards of living of their citizens and develop their economies­ — that entails using more fossil fuels to reach parity with advanced nations,” he said.

Tatsuya Terazawa, chairman and CEO of Japanese think tank the Institute of Energy Economics Japan, added: “We need to face the energy challenges to better cope with high energy prices and enhance energy security while at the same time realize our long-term goals of carbon neutrality and develop the necessary supply chains for energy sustainability.” 

KAPSARC President Fahad Alajlan also spoke at the closing plenary.

“The contrast between the discussions we had over the past few days and the discussions we had during COP 26 is stark,” he said. “COP 26 discussions had a prescriptive view on what we all need to do to achieve net zero by 2050 without taking into consideration the more complex nature of nations worldwide. 

“Over the past few days, we have together adopted a more nuanced approach towards collective climate solutions that are holistic and inclusive,” he added.

During his closing remarks, Alajlan invited participants to attend the 44th Annual International IAEE event in Riyadh, which is being organized by KAPSARC and the Saudi Association for Energy Economics and being held on Feb. 4-8, 2023. It will be the first time the IAEE has hosted its annual conference in the Middle East.

KAPSARC has waived conference registration fees for all attendees.


Macro snapshot — China’s exports to Russia grow for the first time since March; Japan runs current account deficit

Macro snapshot — China’s exports to Russia grow for the first time since March; Japan runs current account deficit
Updated 08 August 2022

Macro snapshot — China’s exports to Russia grow for the first time since March; Japan runs current account deficit

Macro snapshot — China’s exports to Russia grow for the first time since March; Japan runs current account deficit

CAIRO: Chinese exports to Russia snapped four months of declines and grew robustly in July, while Russian shipments to China also held up well, official customs data showed.

Shipments to sanctions-hit Russia rose 22.2 percent in July from a year earlier in dollar terms, shaking off the decline of 17 percent in June and marking the first growth since March, according to Reuters calculations based on customs data released on Sunday.

Imports growth from Russia sustained an elevated pace at 49.3 percent in July, though slower than a 56 percent gain in June and a 79.6 percent rise in May.

Japan runs first current account deficit in 5 months

Japan ran a current account deficit for the first time in five months in June as surging imports eclipsed exports, data showed on Monday, highlighting the pressure that higher energy and raw material prices are putting on the economy. 

The world’s third-largest economy ran a current account deficit of 132.4 billion yen ($980 million) in June, government data showed, reversing 872 billion yen from the same month a year earlier.

The data, which marked the first monthly deficit since January, was smaller than economists’ median forecast for a 703.8 billion shortfall in a Reuters poll.

Taiwan’s July exports up

Taiwan’s July exports increased 14.2 percent year-on-year yet the government warned of uncertainty ahead. 

Exports rose on sustained demand for technology products with shipments to China picking up, and while the government said the outlook was good for semiconductors it warned of growing uncertainty for the global economy.

According to the Finance Ministry, exports rose 14.2 percent in July from a year earlier to $43.32 billion. It is the second highest monthly figure on record and up for the 25th consecutive month.

That was slightly slower than the 15.2 percent rise recorded in June, but better than the 11.65 percent expansion forecast from a Reuters poll. 

 

(With input from Reuters)