At Home: Albertans poised to spend more than any other province this Christmas
A survey conducted by Statistics Canada shows that holiday shopping last year followed the established trend, with Albertans spending considerably more than residents of other provinces and territories across the country.
The survey results estimate that in 2006 the average Albertan spent $1,113 in retail stores for Christmas; this compares logically with the per capita budget of $955 for Albertans in 2003.
Given that Alberta is technically the richest province with the highest income per capita, this holiday trend is not surprising; in 2003, however, the Maritime provinces budgeted the second-highest amount and in 2006 Alberta spenders were followed most closely by residents of the Northwest Territories and the Yukon, who spent an estimated $1,000 each.
Ontario and Quebec spent below the national average of $874, at $855 and $791 respectively. Quebec shoppers spent the least of any other province or territory in Canada.
The 2003 Ipsis-Reid survey conducted for Moneris revealed that 58% of Canadians did not set a holiday budget and simply bought as they saw fit; 38% of Canadians admitted to being last-minute shoppers while 47% of men gave themselves this label. 69% of Albertans claimed to shop without a budget, making this the most ?compulsive? province in terms of holiday spending.
Given the strong loonie these past months, holiday spending is poised to be higher for all Canadians than it was last year; Canadians are travelling to the U.S. to take advantage of lower prices and Wal-Mart is cited as the favourite retail location for shoppers whether they are north or south of the border.
In Foreign News: American housing crisis continues, marks global economic crisis
American President George W. Bush has changed his mind about the previous decision to leave U.S. interest rates as they are, and recently spoke up about his plans to alleviate the housing crisis in his country.
Several months ago, when Bush was confronted with the rising credit crisis in his country, his reaction was to drag his heels about lowering interest rates; now, however, it seems that another cut in interest is required in light of the continuing credit problems in America.
The president confessed that he sympathised with his citizens, who were not only facing extreme credit issues and the inability to make repayments on their housing loans and mortgages, but who were also meant to deal with these financial strains with the holidays looming directly ahead. He called on all Americans struggling to make mortgage repayments to call 1-800-995-HOPE to ?keep our economy healthy and the American dream alive.?
America is not the only country dealing with credit issues and interest rates: today the Bank of England announced its first interest rate cut in two years. The cut (a quarter of one point) takes the interest rate to 5.5% and is expected, like in the United States, to alleviate homeowner debt and help Britons retain their homes. The timing of both personal credit crises has financial advisors and economists around the world predicting a slowdown of the global economy.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) warns that interest rate cuts in the U.K. and interventionist measures in the U.S. will likely mean a drop in house prices and lower returns for citizens who have been making savings over the past several years.
While lowered house prices will get more people in to buy where recently they haven’t been able to afford housing, it also means that investors will lose the money they have put into the housing market. Overall, as leaders in the global market, economic slowdowns in the U.S. and the U.K. will lead the rest of the world into a period of slowed economic growth.
Despite this dreary forecast, the OECD maintains that after a six-month period of slowed growth in 2008, ?strong company profits and high employment should moderate the effects of the slowdown [in the latter half of 2008].?