Although India Is on Track to Becoming the Fastest Growing Economy, It Might Need Another 78 Years to Surpass China

May 21st, 2015 Posted in Canada|Global Economy | No Comments »

New Visit Begins $22bn New Economic Era

New Visit Begins $22bn New Economic Era

China and India may have non-agreed issues from decades of mistrust, but economic cooperation is something these two Asian giants can agree upon. India’s PM Narendra Modi’s recent visit opened up a new economic bridge paved by $22bn to begin a new era of cooperation.

As China’s economic growth starts to slow down, India is expected to overtake China with its growth rate of more than 8 percent to become the world’s fastest growing economy. And China takes notes by not missing to become a partner of the growth opportunity in India.

China has expressed interest in investing in India’s $2tn before, but the progress has been slow due to various political issues on the Indian side. However, at the end of Mr. Modi’s visit to China, both countries signed $22bn deals to boost economic ties, starting with areas such as renewable energy, ports, financing and industrial parks, and so on.

Although India is on track to becoming the fastest growing economy, it has a long way to go to become the next China. China’s GDP is about five times that of India. As a recent Wall Street Journal post points out, India would require 78 years to surpass China at its current economic rate.

Although the new India-China economic cooperation begins a new era, their non-economic rivalries remain strong with no ending in sight. Decades-long border disputes and vying for regional influence to become the regional big brother are here to stay and have no indication of resolving anytime soon.

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Why Canada Is The Best Place
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Why Canada Is The Place To Be Right Now

May 18th, 2015 Posted in Canada|Global Economy | No Comments »
Why Canada Is The Place To Be Right Now
Canada will be one of the first countries to climb out of the mess

As things stand today, there are few parts of the globe that have not been touched by the problems in financial markets – problems which began in earnest over a year ago now and have been worsening ever since. The situation right now seems to point to a global recession which will only begin to lift during the latter part of next year. While playing the blame game is certainly not going to help anyone, there is a lot of blame flying around anyway, most of which is being aimed at the most acquisitive economies, and a large amount of that is directed squarely at the United States. Conversely, experts seem to have mostly good things to say about Canada.

There is little doubt that part of the reason for this is the proximity with the United States, which allows a side-by-side comparison between neighbours. While the crisis itself has been attributed to the sub-prime mortgage lending crisis in the US – although this is only part of the story, and the sub-prime market’s collapse was more catalyst than cause – the global nature of the markets ensures that when one economy takes a blow, the businesses which have investments in that economy suffer also. Hence, it was not just US banks that suffered in the light of the credit crisis, and when the problems precipitated a comparatively small gust of wind, those businesses which were not built on the strongest of foundations began to collapse.

The credit crisis, therefore, may have been catalyzed by what was happening in the US, but it immediately affected banks in the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan (which was already having problems) and beyond. To date it has even caused governments to be recalled, including that of Iceland, which had been surfing a wave of financial well-being. Canada itself has been far from untouched, but the current suffering here has been more of an inevitable outcome of global problems than a headlong plunge precipitated by failure to plan. While other countries pretty much dived head first into the cracks, Canada was slowly sucked towards them before sliding over the edge. Therefore, when the markets begin their definitive improvement, Canada will be one of the first countries to climb out of the mess.

There are so many stereotypes about supposed national tendencies, and some of the more unkind ones seem to imply that Canada is a country where nothing much happens, and what does happen is not that exciting. Anyone living here can see how inaccurate that is. The upside, however, of that stereotype is that Canada tends to find itself in better shape than others having refused to gamble away everything it owns.

Things right now are shaky – not just in Canada, but in most of the world – but this does mean that if you have cash to invest, prices now are at their lowest in some time and may not have far to fall. And once the economic indicators dictate that we are on the way to recovery, watch those numbers climb. Much better to watch it from Canada than anywhere else.

To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the Canadapersonalfinancewebsite.com website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to A Dawn Journal. This article originally published on the above website on Apr 10, 2009.

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You May Be Getting More than High Interest Charges from Your Credit Cards

May 14th, 2015 Posted in Credit Cards|Debts | No Comments »

Credit Card Debt Can Cause Depression

Credit Card Debt Can Cause Depression

You may be getting more than what you are paying for with those balances from your credit cards. A recent study done by the University of Wisconsin-Madison found out that high levels of credit card debt and overdue bills are likely to cause depression.

Based on data collected from 8500 working-age adults, researchers found out that there are significant links between overdue bills, credit card debt and symptoms of depression. Also, depression seems to increase when short-term debt increases. Unmarried people, near-retirement people, and those who are less educated showed the strongest link between depression and debt.

However, mid- to long-term debt and depression had no direct link. The report suggests it is possible that as long-term debts are considered as investments in the future, or people get experienced handling these debts, they will not cause depression like short-term debt.

Another research project mirrored similar findings in 2013 by the University of Southampton and Kingston University in the U.K. A direct link was found between high debt and poor mental health. They found 3 times more mental health problems in people in high debt than those who weren’t in high debt.

What I can tell is that it’s simply common sense that debt can cause health problems. Anyone can realise, even without any researches, that people are still getting into more and more debt.

If you are in debt and have been ignoring your debt problem, it is time to take a closer look and get help. Admitting that you have problem is the first step to get rid of debt and stepping on the path to a better future, both financially and health-wise.

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China Real Estate Part 2

May 11th, 2015 Posted in Global Real Estate | No Comments »

China real estate

 

 

 

 

 

         Real Estate in China

As China becomes more and more a part of the global trading economy, it is natural to expect that its increased openness will continue increasing and that its economy will behave similarly to those of other major powers. This is not necessarily going to be the case, not least because the way that an economy behaves, its DNA, and its part in the global economy all depend on more factors than simply China’s entry to the worldwide club. So, currently, we can see that China is seeing major growth in its economy, while other nations labour under a recession or enter a cautious recovery.

The major test of China’s development as an economy will be time. It is only recently that the country has embraced capitalism, and although any interested party could not have failed to notice that it is headed squarely to become the world’s biggest economy by the middle of this century, it would be fanciful to assume that the forty years between now and then will all be smooth sailing. In ensuring that China continues to develop in the present way, it is going to be necessary to have a strong real estate sector, one which is competitive enough to bring in outside investment. Currently, the signs are good for that sector of the Chinese economy.

Looking at the major Chinese real estate companies gives some interesting results. Poly, considered one of its most prominent real estate big-hitters, recently posted its results for the first half of 2009 and, in a year which we should take care to remember has been touched by major recession, showed a massive increase in net profit. Set against the revenues of the first half of 2008, Poly posted an increase of more than 54%, taking its numbers to 8.29 billion yuan (US$1.21bn) and a profit of 1.396 million yuan (US$200m). In comparison with real estate sectors in other countries, China is certainly showing results which point to a thriving real estate economy going forward.

The most definitive question on the Chinese real estate economy, however, remains how it will deal with any bust or recession in the national economy. Perhaps due to the nascent nature of its free market economy, China has not suffered from the global financial crisis in anything approximating the same way as most of its G8 partners. This means that we have yet to see how the country, and the real estate market will deal with it should it happen again any time soon.

However, at this stage it seems only right to give China the benefit of the doubt as to its financial results. Having seen how the rest of the world does free market capitalism and real estate, China has delivered its own approximation of the medium and has shown an impressive level so far. Will this continue? As of this moment it is difficult to say, as we have not seen China’s free market operate under all conditions as we have with the more long-standing free market economies. Those tests are still to come.

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Credit Crisis, Canada, Real Estate, and Mortgage

May 9th, 2015 Posted in Canada|Global Economy | No Comments »
Canada Mortgage
Canada Mortgage

Canada has not been immune to the credit crisis that has hit the world over the last eighteen months, but there are many inside Canada and out who feel that of all the major developed nations things have been handled better in Canada than anywhere else. This is down, in no small part, to a sense that Canadian banks have had more sensible lending policies and that panic is something that is not a major part of the Canadian psyche. A recent IMF report has said that Canada is actually specifically well placed to handle any further economic crisis and has applauded the $400billion stimulus plan unveiled in January as being the right amount at the right time. In addition, Canada has been recognized as the last country to succumb to the crisis and is expected to be the first to lift itself out.

What this means for those hoping to buy a house in Canada is that there may never be a better time, if you currently have the borrowing power, to buy one. By taking advantage of the effects of the crisis – admittedly something that causes a moral issue for many – one can find some bargains that will begin to increase in price once the clouds start to lift. The question is, where should you go in order to borrow the money it will take to buy? With Canada less marked than other countries by the crisis – but marked nonetheless, no doubt – the banks are more willing to lend to those who can show credit worthiness than banks in other countries.

Before you decide on a mortgage, the first and most important step is to shore up your own position. This can be done chiefly in two ways. Firstly, it is vitally important to save cash for a deposit, or down payment. If you can place this in a high-yield savings account, so much the better. By putting aside more money, you will cut into how much money you have to borrow when the day comes. This can dramatically change how much you have to pay back, and bring a number of properties within your reach that would have been fantasy purchases otherwise. It will take a bit of time to make significant savings, but the base that this gives you and the difference that it makes will be well worth the wait.

In addition, you should live on credit for a while. Yes, you read that correctly, but do not make the mistake of thinking that this is advice to go crazy with your Mastercard. The reason for this possibly controversial advice is actually fairly sensible. If you make purchases on your credit card and pay them off immediately, you build up a strong credit rating. And the people with the better credit ratings get better mortgages. By  paying off credit card purchases the moment they hit your balance, you will avoid having to pay interest, so there is no penalty for use. It’s a more roundabout way of doing things, sure – but it’ll get you into that house quicker! Try to make sure, too, that you do not have high balances on any lines of credit when you apply for your mortgage – this will badly squeeze your borrowing power.

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IMF Thinks Greece Exits May Not Happen

Yes, Euro or No – That Is The Big Greece Question

May 6th, 2015 Posted in Canada|Global Economy | No Comments »

IMF Thinks Greece Exits May Not Happen

IMF Thinks Greece Exits May Not Happen

Economists and analysts can’t seem to agree on how Greece’s exit would play on world economies. While this is not 2011-2012, an era in which a Greece exit would melt the global financial system, as banks have reduced exposure to Greek debt and only significant holders these days are private speculators, it could still create havoc in the western alliance and political system, creating far-reaching destabilization in the Eurozone and everywhere else.

A Recent Bloomberg Markets Global Pole shows 52 percent of respondents believe that Greece will exit the euro at some point, as opposed to only 43 percent who believe that Greece will stay. These numbers were very different just 4 months ago, when 31 percent predicted an exit and 61 percent predicted no exit.

Also, 82 percent predicted the Greece exit will happen in 2015, 22 percent believe it will happen by the end of 2016, and 12 said the exit will happen after 2016.

However, The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is confident that a Greece exit is unlikely, although it will prepare contingency plans if such happens. IMF is trying to be optimistic, although Greece declined to give the IMF access to accounts to figure out if it will be able to meet upcoming debt obligations.

Greece owes the IMF a ?200 million interest payment on May 6 and on May 12 a principal payment of ?750m is due.

As days go by, the whole financial world is anxiously waiting to see what unfolds next, as one of the greatest financial and political sagas ever continues.

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Real Estate in China

May 4th, 2015 Posted in Global Real Estate | No Comments »

China real estate

 

 

 

 

 

Estate Market In China

There will be few, if any, more important countries to the future of commerce and real estate in the next couple of decades than China. Viewed by many as a “sleeping giant” due to its immense landmass and population, but perceived insularity, there is no doubt that China is set to play a part as it increases its openness and moves ever more towards a market-based economy. The developments of recent years have led to just about every financial expert worth the name signalling their belief that China will become the world’s number one superpower by the middle of this century at the latest. A vital part of this process will be in its real estate sector.

For Western investors, there are still some sticking points when it comes to backing investment in China. Not least of these is the fact that with a population of one billion and a language that is the most prominently spoken as a first language (by numbers – of the billion plus Chinese residents, more than 900 million speak Mandarin as a first language. A third as many speak English as a mother tongue), China has little need to cater directly to foreign investors or incoming migrants. The growing policy of openness is expected to mitigate this somewhat, allowing new investors to feel confident in branching out into China.

From a real estate point of view specifically, China has also had to move from a point where most housing was state controlled to one where it is common for residents to own their own homes.  . It does seem like the country was always ready for this kind of progress and that, aware of the importance of a happy domestic population, the government has moved to give them just that. Although the overwhelming majority of home owners in China are Chinese, the incoming investor need no longer feel that there is an excessive bar to their prospective ownership of real estate property.

There are still some elements that give potential house buyers what they consider to be reasons not to invest. Although a great deal less insular than it was once considered, China is still not the most transparent place in the world for visitors. There is a large level of bureaucracy and seemingly obscure laws (from a Western perspective), but things don’t change overnight. What has happened in China in the last few decades has been more than impressive, so do not bet against things developing quickly in the future. If you are thinking of investing in Chinese real estate, the bargains tend to be outside the city centers but still close to centers of population. It is here, too, that anyone moving to the country and living there for the first time will best be able to acclimatise to the fascinating, unique nation that is China in the present day. Try one of the many Chinese real estate sites on the Internet to find out more.

To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the realestateexpedition.com website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to A Dawn Journal. This article originally published on the above website on Aug 15, 2009.

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More Money Saving Tips

April 30th, 2015 Posted in Life|Money Smart Tips | No Comments »

How To Save Money

How To Save Money

We could all do with a little more cash in our lives. Be it due to rising energy costs, a desire for a big purchase or saving toward a holiday, there is always room for a few extra dollars. There are a few tips and tricks you can try to save yourself a little cash and invest it toward a better future.

To begin with, evaluate your outgoings. Look closely at the price plans you are on for energy and heating, as there might be a better deal available. Check comparison websites and if there is a saving to be made, switch immediately. Some people have reported up to $160 a year saving on energy bills purely because of this.

Next up, look at your home and cell phone bills. Again, there might be a cheaper tariff available. A neat trick is to telephone your current provider and inform them that you’re planning to leave and would like to cancel your contract. At this stage, you will be put through to a department – often going by the name of “Cancellations”, though they are anything but – who will try and woo you and persuade you to stay. They’ll offer deals on your plan that could save you hundreds of dollars a year, just to keep your custom.

Continuing along the same theme, check the interest rate you’re paying on any credit cards you may have. Many people remain with the same provider for years out of habit, never bothering to see if there is a better deal available. Nine times out of ten, there will be – apply for a new card with a better rating, transfer the balance and cut up your old card. Your monthly payments will reduce and you’ll be paying less interest.

With these things in check, you can move on to trying to cut your expenditure. One of the biggest, and often unavoidable, expenses is the price of gasoline. To begin, consult a website such as Gas Buddy, to find the cheapest gas station closest to you. These done, then try to fill up your tank on a Monday. Gas prices traditionally rise over the weekend and dip again at the start of the new week, with Monday being the cheapest. It might only be a small amount, but every little helps.

On more frivolous pursuits such as shopping, savings can also be made. One priceless tip to remember is that eBay is not just for used goods. Many big companies – such as IBM – run eBay stores as a way of clearing old stock. Many brand new items are available on eBay for huge discounts off their original retail price. While online and buying a new purchase, try the many comparison websites – like the aforementioned for credit cards and energy companies – to get the best price.

When it comes to health and beauty, you can also make savings. Most salons charge high prices, but will offer discount rates if a junior treats you or trainee stylist. This may sound risky, and no one wants to end up with bad hair, but a senior stylist will usually oversee the junior and if something does go wrong, they’ll fix it for free. You can also try making your own skin care products – a bottle of branded exfoliating lotion will cost anything up to $25, where a warm bowl filled with sugar and rubbed in firmly with a sponge will have the same effect.

Essentially, there are ways to save money on everything. Utilize the Internet, as it genuinely does offer some spectacular deals if you have the patience to look for them. In the same vein, learn to haggle when in store – many retailers price their items with mark ups that allow for negotiation. 99 times out of 100, you can find a discount on something – all you need is a little clear thinking and a large amount of patience.

To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the Canadapersonalfinancewebsite.com website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to A Dawn Journal. This article originally published on the above website on Mar 21, 2009.

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The World’s Top Happy and Sad Countries 2015

April 28th, 2015 Posted in Canada|Beyond | 1 Comment »

Canada Is One of The Top Happiest Countries

Canada Is One of The Top Happiest Countries

The World Happiness Index in an index published by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) under the United Nations that measures the well-being and happiness of 158 countries, as they are indicators of a nation’s economic and social development.

Switzerland (7.587) is on top of the list, followed by Iceland (7.561), Denmark (7.527), Norway (7.522), and Canada (7.427). The report assigns scores from zero to ten based on data collected from people. Although Canada is in the fifth position, in terms of score it is close to the other 4 top countries.

Some of the factors the index looks at are income, social support, health, generosity, corruption, and personal freedom. The world’s least happiest countries are Togo (2.839), Burundi (2.839), Syria (3.006), Benin (3.340), and Rwanda (3.465).

The World Happiness Index was first launched in 2102 and an increased number of governments are using this index to research and construct their policies.

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The CN Tower – An Architectural Triumph

April 26th, 2015 Posted in Global Real Estate | No Comments »

The CN Tower - A Wonder of the Modern World

The CN Tower – A Wonder of the Modern World

Each major city in the world must have at least one tower that stands over the skyline to really give it definition. These towers invariably end up on postcards and other visual media for sale, and as often as not they find their way into the civic logo as well, as a means of identifying the city visually in combination with its name identifying it verbally. The most famous towers can even identify a city without the need to mention its name. People see the Eiffel Tower and they think of Paris. They see the Empire State Building and think New York. More recently, the Burj al-Arab has performed this role for Dubai. In Toronto, a city which embodies the Canadian tradition of having wealth, power and success without needing to shout about it, there is still such a tower – the CN Tower.

In a lot of ways the CN Tower is situated in an ideal place to give Toronto a further boost to its identity. This is due in no small part to the proximity it has to Toronto’s major sports arena, the Rogers Centre. Originally known as the SkyDome, the Rogers Centre was a ground-breaking example of the now common mega-structure, multi-use sporting arena with a level of technological advancement that really makes you draw breath. One of the first stadia in the world to feature a sliding roof, the SkyDome made it possible to play games “outdoors” when the weather suited and “indoors” when necessary. This is now commonplace in sporting arenas, but in 1989 when it opened was huge news.

Any wide-angle view of the SkyDome/Rogers Centre will typically involve the CN Tower, which imprints it on the consciousness of baseball and football fans from all over North America. Completed in 1976, as part of a rash of skyscrapers being built in the city, the CN Tower is as recognizable a part of Toronto as any of the above buildings are to their home cities. In fact, it was the world’s tallest free-standing structure for over thirty years, from the point where it surpassed Moscow’s Ostankino tower in 1975 to the winter of 2007 when it was finally surpassed by the Burj Dubai, still under construction at present.

Unlike many of the world’s most notable towers, the CN Tower was built with a technical purpose in mind rather than office and commercial space or residential properties. It is used primarily for communications, although it does contain a restaurant, a gift shop and other elements that attract tourists as well as providing a meeting-place and a landmark for the people of Toronto. When the similarly-sized Ostankino Tower had a fire in 2000, with the deaths of several people, the response from many was to fear that the same thing could happen in the CN Tower, given the similar heights and ages of the buildings. The fact, though, is that the CN Tower was built much more safely, with fireproof building materials, stringent emergency monitoring and automatically-replenished water reservoirs at the top of the building.

To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the realestateexpedition.com website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to A Dawn Journal. This article originally published on the above website on Aug 8, 2009.

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