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      monthly update of TRENDLines Recession Indicator ~ Canada TRI
       Long-Term TRI Canada
     see also:   USA TRENDLines Recession Indicator ~ USA TRI
     see also:    China Trendlines Recession Indicator ~ China TRI
     see also:    G-20 Recessions Monitor

   see also:  monthly update of TRENDLines Realty Bubble Monitor Australia,  Canada,  UK &  USA



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2013  2012  2011  2010 & 2009 archive of these charts @ MemberVenue only

TRI Canada Real GDP targets  (2013/5/31)


2012Q1 0.5 %

TRI & TRIX methodology ~ the TRENDLines Recession Indicator uses proprietary heuristic algorithms to transform 6 economic proxy data sets into an insightful Real GDP baseline thru 2030 filtered of reporting period noise.  Layered over these animal-spirits-plus results are the nuances derived from the TRENDLines Realty Bubbles Monitor & Barrel Meter  model projections.  The uniqueness of its methodology minimizes false-positive & false-negative Recession signals.  When the TRI Real GDP output is corrected for the influence of Federal Gov't Deficits/Surpluses via fiscal multipliers, TRIX reveals the economy's underlying Structural GDP.  See the archives to view originally available data.  StatCan has amended their past monthly GDP figures by as much as 1.8%,  but I have mostly avoided benchmarking to recent GDP since StatCan revisions generally serve to re-confirm original TRI Real GDP output.  Economic data releases often include updates of past years & decades and these serve to recalibrate past TRI.  And TRI is dynamic.  Long-term forward looking economic data & animal-spirits-plus are eventually amended by the medium term data which in turn is revised by short-term indicators.

TRI:  timely and accurate guidance & research notes ~ See the archives to view original output since mid-2009.  The incremental revisions in sequential charts can be as insightful as actual figures by noting the pattern of the changes over time.  Back in Aug 2009, the TRENDLines Recession Indicator was already reporting the Recession had ended a month prior whilst StatCan was still advising the economy was mired in -4% contraction. A month later, TRI was reporting a robust recovery in excess of a 5% pace while StatCan was reporting nil growth. Conversely, in July 2011 TRI was warning of an imminent but insignificant contraction while many were churning "double-dip" rhetoric. Non-TRENDLiners must often wait up to a dozen weeks to hear what happened in the rear-view mirror from StatCan, bank economists & the media pundits! Stay tuned to TRENDLines for the very best in timely, accurate & dynamic outlooks...

TRI caveats ~ Projections are subject to and guided by geopolitical issues, disasters weather related events & future mitigation activity via monetary policy by the Bank of Canada & fiscal policy by the Minister of Finance.

2012Q2 0.0 %
2012Q3 0.1 %
2012Q4 0.6 %
2012 0.2%  
2013Q1 1.2 %
2013Q2 0.8 %
2013Q3 0.8 %  (low)
2013Q4 2.2 %
2013 1.1%  
2014Q1 2.9 %  (high)
2014Q2 2.2 %
2014Q3 1.9 %
2014Q4 1.9 %
2014 2.3%  
2015Q1 2.5 %
2015Q2 2.8 %
2015Q3 2.6 %
2015Q4 2.2 %
2015 2.5%  
2016 2.3%  
2017 2.1%  
2018 1.4%  
2019 1.1%  
2020 0.8%  
Severe Recession indicated (Dec/2023 to July 2025)

   TRI signals sub 2.3% GDP for rest of 2013

Aug 31 2013 delayed FreeVenue public release of May 31st MemberVenue guidance ~ Today's update of the TRENDLines Recession Indicator suggests a second consecutive sub 1% quarter in 3Q13 before the economy finally possesses the critical mass to sustain positive growth w/o the assistance of federal fiscal policy stimulus.  That said, the Canada Economic Plan remains in place and historic growth rates will prevail over the next three years despite several defined headwinds, primarily the medium-term correction of the 28% ($80k) Canadian Realty Bubble.  It presented a -0.3% headwind this month.  Faced with either combating Inflation or priming for upcoming waning economic activity, the model predicts Bank of Canada will mistakenly raise its key rate in 4Q14.

The headwind caused by residual rising oil prices (Oct/2010 - Apr/2011) finally expired in March 2013 and in an ironic twist, declining petroleum costs actually provided a 0.2% tailwind to GDP growth in May.

A monthly reminder of the malaise within the current business cycle is the Unemployment Rate.  At 7.2% in April, it is not yet even half-way back to its 2007 low of 5.3% after rocketing to an 8.7% peak in Aug/2009.

The long-term outlook continues to warn of a potential Severe Recession should the USA undergo a self-induced Austerity Crisis in 2024 and the Federal Gov't fails to mitigate the damage with massive ($68 billion) fiscal stimulus.

The TRENDLines Recession Indicator monitors two activity measures:  (a) TRI - a gauge of Real GDP filtered of reporting period noise;  & (b) TRIX - a measure of the health of the underlying economy by filtering out the influence of Parliament's fiscal policy deficits/surpluses.

 TRI   StatCan released data today inferring March's (Q1) Real GDP grew at a 2.5% rate, compared to the TRI inference of a 1.2% pace.  TRI gauges May GDP was 0.8%, down from 0.9% in April.  TRI's measure of animal-spirits-plus projects a 0.8% Q2, 0.8% Q3 & 2.2% Q4.

Model filtering enhancements indicate much of the cause of the pause to economic activity two years ago is traceable to rising residual oil prices which at their peak in April 2011 formed a 1.6% headwind.  This factor dissipated with declining petroleum costs to the point where fossil fuel energy provided a 0.2% tailwind to May's GDP growth rate.

Despite this ironic good news, the combination of the other definitive headwinds are increasing their grasp to the extent where the annual economic growth rate appears to be entering a multi-decadal era of sub 2.6% performance.

If this trajectory persists, it conflicts with my original Sept/2009 analysis of North American economic activity over the past four decades and its conclusion of the existence of an 8.5-yr business cycle with probable troughs in 2017, 2026 & 2034.

It appears the magnitude of the Great Recession and its significance as a once-in-a-lifetime "balance sheet recession" event has temporarily blown out the harmonics of natural rhythms. The associated deleveraging is ongoing, but it must be said that aside from the headwinds, the generally subdued post-Recession economy indeed continues a secular decadal downtrend of GDP growth rates.  This decline trend is typical of maturing economies as well as activism among G-20 central bankers aimed at damping the amplitudes of the business cycles.

The timing of an eventual hard or soft landing will change as inflation and inventory factors come into play. Layered over those natural cycles will be the mitigation efforts:  Monetary Policy actions by the Bank of Canada & the Minister of Finance's Fiscal Policy recommendations to Parliament.

A developing situation south of the border could result in a massive bodycheck to the Canadian economy.  In Feb/2013 enhancements to the TRENDLines Debt Wall and TRI-USA models discovered the US Gov't will pass thru a critical tipping point in 2024 which empirically should induce a critical surge in sovereign bond yields, harsh austerity measures and a multi-year Severe Recession.

Canada does not come out of a downturn of its major trading partner unscathed.  The TRENDLines Recession Indicator projects The Canada economy will face a 7-Qtr Severe Recession unless its Federal Gov't promptly completes key free trade agreement negotiations, commences proposed coastal petroleum pipelines and/or provides $68 billion in Deficit spending.

 TRIX   The preceding discussion is typical of conventional Real GDP narrative where one identifies the symptoms of an economy ... not its underlying problems if any.  The genuine health of the Canadian economy is best observed when viewed thru a prism which filters out the influence of Federal Gov't Deficits & Surpluses.  Calculated via fiscal multipliers, the resulting metric (Structural GDP) is depicted in the chart as TRIX (red line).

Upon an initial viewing of long-term TRIX, one is immediately stunned by two striking observations:  (a) whereas the USA has been mired in a Structural Greater Depression since Nov/2006, the recent event has been rather insignificant in Canada and in fact only made its presence felt due to failure of the Harper Gov't to pare back the 2008 federal surplus in timely fashion;  & (b) the sheer magnitude of the 1977-97 event.

The 1970 event is defined as a Structural Technical Recession (-0.4% avg Structural GDP over 4 Quarters).  The deeper 1974-75 event is also defined as a Structural Technical Recession (-1.7% avg SGDP over 8 Qtrs).  On its heals is the massive 1977-97 event, a Structural Greater Depression (-3.6% avg SGDP over 21 years).  The recent 2008-2010 downturn was a mere Structural Technical Recession (-1.3% avg SGDP over 7 Qtrs).

It also becomes obvious the 2001 slowdown was self-inflicted.  It was of course partly due to the downturn of our American neighbour, but TRIX analysis suggests this was not entirely a normal business cycle trough.  Rather, it suggests much of the softness was primarily a result of an over-exuberant Federal Gov't which withdrew far too much liquidity from the economy via taxation of its citizenry:  a fiscal Surplus amounting to a record 1.8% of GDP.

The potential for a similar situation exists after 2015.  TRIX will increasingly exceed TRI as the Federal Govt's Fiscal Deficits become Surpluses, rising incrementally to 1.5% of GDP by 2022 in an effort to retire Canada's $608 billion Federal Debt by 2043.  Upon attaining this admirable objective, the Gov't-of-the-day will be in the remarkable position of being able to reallocate expenditures and/or reduce the annual tax burden by an incredible $39 billion!

May 31 2013 Recession Alert:  The Canadian economy shall finally attain the critical mass to sustain positive economic growth without the assistance of fiscal policy stimulus in September.  That said, the economy will require some degree of accommodative monetary policy throughout the Trendlines Recession Indicator's 2030 visible horizon.  The soft GDP outlook for this decade remains in place primarily due to the ongoing correction (Aug/2011 to 2019) of Canada's 28% ($80k) realty bubble.  Then comes a potential 2024 USA austerity crisis which w/o Federal Gov't mitigation would spawn a 7-Qtr Severe Recession.

 Headwinds   Factors contributing to short, medium & long-term weakness in the TRI outlook to 2030 continue to be:  (a) correction of the CMHC realty bubble;  (b) an Exports killing "par-plus" Loonie;  (c) federal debt retirement;  (d) the USA's potential 2024 austerity crisis;  & (e) by contrast and in an ironic twist, the $16/barrel decline in USA Refiner Acquisition Crude and related petroleum costs since the Libya crisis are in turn providing the economy with a quantifiable tailwind!

    (a) $80,ooo (28%) CMHC Realty Bubble   According to the TRENDLines Realty Bubbles Monitor, Canada's realty bubble finally burst in Aug/2011 after the avg Canadian home price had risen to a level 32% ($89k) above the long-term trend of the price/family-income ratio.  Albeit the Canadian bubble has since declined to 28% ($80k), the avg house price is still double its American counterpart.  Extraordinarily high mortgage and rent payments continue to be a heavy burden on Disposable Income, preventing families from indulging in desired durable goods, holidays, landscaping, renovations, clothing, vehicles, etc.  As well, subsequent falling homeowner equity is a direct assault on the wealth effect phenomenon.  Both are are recessionary forcings.

Canada was the last G-20 nation to fall into Recession in 2008 and the first one out ... not by clever fiscal/monetary policy but rather because Canadians were able to use rising home equity as a convenient ATM to fund consumer purchases in a declining economic environment.  Whereas housing prices were properly correcting in the USA (2006), UK & Australia (2008), CMHC enabled further inflating of the domestic realty bubble (2006 to 2011) by continuing to condone 5% minimum downpayments for its high-ratio mortgage insurance coverage.

The avg priced home of $365k currently faces an $80,000 correction.  As this realization becomes more widespread, consumer/business confidence will suffer and add to the fray.  To make matters worse, TRENDLines forecasts 5-yr mortgage rates will rise 2% by late 2016 as a normalization of the business cycle unfolds.  This will serve to prevent upward price pressure and gives confidence to the model's conclusion record highs won't be set 'til 2022.  This suggests a probable mimic of the 1989-1999 sideways housing price correction rather than the recent abrupt USA event (-25%).  In the 90's episode, home prices dropped only 6% from the '89 high, then flat-lined 'til incomes caught up with the overpriced housing stock.

I continue to find it despicable CMHC has not yet heeded TRENDLines long-time recommendation to temporarily raise required minimum downpayments to 10% (from 5%) of purchase price for insured high ratio residential mortgages.  Despite the realty bubble rising to 15% (above norms) in 2005, CMHC has refused to mitigate its wrong-headed policy thru 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012.  The policy remains in place in 2013 and as such the economy enters an eleventh successive Quarter of subdued growth.

After the first plea (March 24 2010) targeted at CMHC, avg home prices unnecessarily increased $32,000.  Knowing Canadian taxpayers are ultimately at risk for the crown corporation's losses associated with claim losses, CMHC appears to bear no conscience and is comfortable moral hazard will allow it to pay the financial institutions in full for all claims 'cuz it trusts it can socialize its negligence via the Federal Gov't backstop (aka taxpayers).

    (b) Par-plus Loonie vs Exports   Austerity measures by the Conservative Gov't will reinstate Surplus budgets in 2016.  USA Refiner Acquisition Crude price made incursions into triple-digit territory in the Spring of both 2011 & 2012 and again this Summer.  These two issues are the foundation for recent surges of the Canadian Dollar - USDollar exchange rate to lofty heights.  The consequence of a par-plus Loonie has been an unrelenting assault on Export oriented manufacturing (especially the auto sector) and tourism.

With the unfolding of the 2008 US financial crisis and exposure of deep structural issues in Europe's periphery, Canada has once again regained status as a safe haven for foreign investment.  This will not abate anytime soon.  In fact, with the $608 billion Federal Debt poised to be paid off by 2043, Canada will one day be the G-8's shining star and an incrementally rising currency is sure to accompany said progress.

The TRENDLines Barrel Meter model forecasts USA RAC ($97 USD today) will decline to $68 by early 2018, then resume it secular uptrend.  This will give some reprieve to the high exchange rate on the medium-term, but a reversal is poised with triple-digit prices set to become permanent in 2021 and a 2040 target of $327.  Good Gov't policy would ensure proposed coastal pipeline expansions are in place to take advantage of world pricing regimens rather than the present discount to WTI environment.  The export and manufacturing sectors will have to strive for innovation and productivity to survive not just a dollar parity environment, but likely one with an increasing premium.

    (c) Federal Debt Retirement   This is one of those good news bad news deals!  Taxpayers currently spend $25 billion per year on federal debt interest but that  figure will commence to decline after 2015 as federal gov't fiscal policy returns to Surplus status.  TRENDLines projects the annual Surplus will rise incrementally to 1.5% of GDP (2022) in a strategic effort to retire Canada's $608 billion Federal Debt by 2043.

Albeit an altruistic endeavour, the measure has recessionary effects on the economy as evidenced by TRIX exceeding TRI thru most of the post-2016 era.  When the mission is accomplished, the dividend for Canada's taxpayers will be $39 billion in annual general tax relief.  It will be welcomed as an offset to ever-rising Provincial taxation.

    (d) USA's potential 2024 Austerity Crisis   For over a decade I have been warning that America's Congress is on an unsustainable fiscal path.  Along with traditional American macro forecasts, the TRENDLines Debt Wall chart had typically since 2009 depicted US Gov't annual Structural Deficits rising to $10 trillion (19% of GDP) & its federal Debt rising to $125 trillion (235% of GDP) by 2040 if Congress pursued its path to preserve long-term entitlements.

There was always a caveat this journey was unsustainable and thus someday there would either be an epiphany moment in DC or an involuntary intervention.  Credit must go the Tea Party movement for bringing discussion of this fiscal irresponsibility to the mainstream.  My

 guidance since early 2012 has suggested that unless there is a sea change of political leadership in addressing its long-term entitlements, the US Gov't will approach Greece-scale metrics within their own Deficit & Debt to GDP ratios in ten years - a situation which will be underscored by incremental sovereign debt downgrades and ever-rising yields on its long-term Treasuries.

In Feb/2013 enhancements to the TRENDLines Debt Wall & TRI-USA models  enabled the quantifying of a tipping point with the first run identifying 2024 as the timing for this austerity crisis.

This scenario commences to unfold in 2015 when the FOMC starts a normalization of its key rates and worsens later that year as Structural Deficits begin to surge due to varied entitlements promised long ago finally coming to fruition.  Federal Debt service increasingly crowds out discretionary program spending.  This leads to increasing agitation among the international investment community and by 2024  bond yields in excess of 7% will be a reality.  Unable to borrow at sustainable terms, Congress will have no option but to slash its $1.4 trillion Deficit over the ensuing four years.

Such harsh austerity measures will induce a multi-year Severe Recession which would no doubt impact Canada.  As the US is by far our largest trading partner, TRI projects Real GDP would initially plunge (-4.4%  4Q24) as the Canadian economy faces a 7-Qtr Severe Recession (2023-2025) unless the Federal Gov't steps in with $68 billion of Deficit spending.

Congress is in a Catch-22 dilemma.  Finding itself presently in the midst of a Structural Greater Depression, present policy requires Congressmen to maintain an infinite number of trillion dollar Deficits to avoid Real GDP contractions.  Yet w/o a mitigation strategy, continuing this Keynesian measure only hastens the inevitable austerity crisis.  As the impact on some Canadian sectors could be horrific, it is hoped Americans find the elusive political leadership necessary to address this issue.  Failing that, it is incumbent on Canada's policymakers and legislators to diversify our export markets (via bilateral & multilateral free trade agreements) and complete proposed coastal petroleum pipelines.

    (e) Wow, Oil Prices become a Tailwind!   Two years of declining residual crude oil prices have ironically turned this former economic headwind into a tailwind.  TRI calculates cumulative quarters of high oil, diesel & gasoline prices during the Libya crisis had shaved a record amount (-1.60%) off the April 2011 RGDP growth pace, nudging out this factor's former June 2008 high (-1.55%).

En route to USA Refiner Acquisition Crude price plunging from $113/barrel to $98, the baked-in headwind exhausted in Feb/2013.  On reversal, the factor provided instead a (0.2%) tailwind this month.  The TRENDLines Barrel Meter model attributes the downward trend to a reduction of the Stress Premium price component ($24 to $10/barrel) as global geopolitical issues dissipated.  The tailwind record (1.38%) was set in July 2010, reflecting the 71% RAC price collapse across the previous two years.

I have concluded the Canadian & American economies are much too diversified and per capita disposable incomes too large for high petroleum costs to induce a Recession by itself.  As seen in 2008, just shy of the level where oil price would do significant harm, the more vulnerable G-20 nations are already entering Recessions and thus paring back their Demand.  In that regard, the definitive Oil/GDP ratio where some G-20 Recessions would again be induced is currently represented by $130/barrel RAC ($124 WTI).

That said, high petroleum prices can certainly damage susceptible sectors of the North American economy.  The TRENDLines Barrel Meter & Gas Pump models were the first to discover (Nov/2009) predictable oil & gasoline price thresholds which if surpassed will harm auto sector growth.  Breach of these definitive petroleum/GDP ratios signaled setbacks for USA Light Vehicle Sales in 1980, 1990, 2008, 2011, 2012 as well as earlier this year, reflecting buyer resistance to excessive gasoline & diesel costs.

Although RACrude price has retreated below the LVS Barrier ($117/barrel), gasoline has been stubborn.  This current pump LVS Barrier is $3.58/gal, still a tad under today's US national gasoline price and the reason new car sales have been stagnant at the 15 million unit/yr pace since Sept/2012.  The Gas Pump forecast for imminently lower prices should result in a surge of auto manufacturing and sales this Summer.

The environment for tailwinds and a rejuvenated auto sector should be lengthy.  The models currently forecast $68/barrel USA RAC & a $2.70 pump price by 1Q18.  The consequences of LVS Barrier incursions are dire.  During the Great Recession, volume declined 44% (16 million unit annual rate to 9 mu/yr).  The rate dropped by 1.2 mu/yr in the 2011 episode, 0.7 mu/yr in 2012 and 0.6 mu/yr again this year.

Should a black swan event make its presence, the Gas Pump & Barrel Meter models both conclude any extraordinary price spike would be constrained by the same Price Spike Ceiling which firmly arrested the 2008 price run @ $129/barrel USA RACrude ($4.11/gal pump).  That definitive petroleum/GDP ratio predicts an upper limit today of $157/barrel ($4.59/gal).

The Gas Pump currently forecasts such a scenario is likely to befall the US auto sector upon US gasoline surpassing the LVS Barrier ($4.11/gal) permanently in late 2024.  Being already in Recession, the sale of gasoline/diesel fueled Light Vehicles may fall more than 20%, adversely affecting the manufacturing sector in Canada.

The PSC represents a threshold where certain demand destruction feedbacks attain critical mass.  As happened in the Summer of 2008, Demand and Price are reversed as alternative energies, substitution and conservation measures are pursued.  The negative effects of rising energy costs on the disposable income of consumers and the profits and viability of commerce and institutions inevitably takes a toll on the Canadian & American economies.

Ironically, triple-digit crude prices have been for the most part the USA's own making.  In the realm of unintended consequences, a plethora of avoidable events has thoroughly disappointed the international investment community over the years.  The USDollar has been debased as much as 40% since January 2002.  The journey was truncated by safe haven activity in 2009, but the latest relapse is responsible for a $19/barrel component of today's $97 RAC price.  To give context to the volatility, this same factor was a record $30 in July 2008 and a mere $1/barrel on the day of Barack Hussein Obama's first inauguration.

 Awesome future   Aside from its lousy handling of the CMHC realty bubble, Canada's Federal Gov't must be praised for its measured post-Recession austerity measures and strategic revisions to Provincial transfer payments & cost-sharing agreement ceiling to cement fiscal responsibility with respect to the nation's long-term future.

Canada's 11-yr string of balanced budgets was interrupted by the Great Recession but will resume in 2016.  Canada's $608 billion national debt should be extinguished by 2043.  No other G-20 country has a brighter fiscal future...

 the Great Recession retrospect   Held aloft by a CMHC facilitated realty bubble, Canada's economy contracted for only ten months - one of the shortest of the G-20 (Aug/2008 to May/2009).  Following a -9.6% Real GDP trough in Feb/2009, Canada's Economic Action Plan served up a robust economic Recovery manifested in a 4.9% crest in Jan/2010.  The GDP growth rate avg'd -5.6% over the three quarters of contraction.  The Canadian economy finally surpassed the July 2008 Real GDP high water mark in Oct/2010 completing the Recovery phase.

The Expansion of the new business cycle has been particularly soft, reflecting both the ongoing deleveraging associated with a balance sheet recession event and persistent economic weakness in the USA.  America is mired in a Structural Greater Depression.  Canada's troubles stem from being in only the second year of a projected eight-year correction of the CMHC realty bubble.

 Class Warfare   The Progressives and their President continue to wage class warfare seemingly in an attempt to stretch the rhetoric into the 2014 & 2016 campaigns.  Upon becoming Liberal leader, Justin Trudeau jumped on this same band wagon.  The introduction of "middle class" as their battle cry is odd.  Throughout the British empire and beyond, it is common knowledge the real middle class is doing just fine!  That's 'cuz most Americans are understandably unaware of the relevant definitions.  The upper class is a culture's wealthiest 1%, whilst middle class refers to a nation's highest 10% of earners.  Down the line comes the working class and lower class populations.  (link)

Superb accuracy and timeliness makes the TRENDLines Recession Indicator the premiere composite leading economic indicator available in Canada, China & USA


 TRENDLines Recession Indicator - Canada TRI

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long-term multi-disciplinary perspectives by Freddy Hutter since 1989
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Last modified: November 03, 2013