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Volume 16, Issue 32, August 24, 2016

Inside This Issue:

• Bernie Owens, President of TIMBER MART, to Speak at CHHMA Breakfast – October 26 in Montreal
• See Where E-Commerce is Headed at CHHMA/COPA Seminar – September 13
• Industry Memorial Golf Classic on September 27th to Honour David Holden, Leonard Lee and Warren Parr
• Quebec Transport Minister Resigns Amid RONA Sale Scandal
• Walmart Canada’s Sales Gains Slowed in Q2 as U.S. Parent Beats Expectations
• Orgill Consolidates Purchasing Functions
• Canada Consumer Optimism Rises on Outlook for Personal Finances
• Retail Sales in Canada Record Surprise Drop
• Canada’s Inflation Rate Slows in July
• Latest U.S. Economic News

Association News

Bernie Owens, President of TIMBER MART, to Speak at CHHMA Breakfast – October 26 in Montreal 

The CHHMA is pleased to be presenting Mr. Bernie Owens, President of TIMBER MART, at a CHHMA Breakfast Seminar on the morning of October 26 at the Hôtel Holiday Inn Montréal-Longueuil.

Mr. Owens began his career in the building-supply industry over thirty years ago, serving a long tenure at building-material manufacturer, CertainTeed – a subsidiary of multinational corporation, Saint-Gobain.Throughout his 21 years at CertainTeed, Mr. Owens served various roles including, General Manager - Finish Products for North America and Vice President of Sales for the company’s gypsum and insulation business units. Over the years, Owens adopted global best practices and fostered relationships with buying groups and building-material suppliers nationwide. Owens also went on to further his studies in business at international business school, INSEAD and York University’s Schulich School of Business.

Today, as the president of TIMBER MART, Mr. Owens leads the organization with a global industry perspective, fresh ideas, clear vision, and a relentless drive to make TIMBER MART the buying group of choice for Canadian independent building material and hardware entrepreneurs.

We look forward to hearing from Mr. Owens and his inside look into how he’s led TIMBER MART through some of their biggest organizational changes over the last three years. He'll explain how he’s leveraged change for TIMBER MART to become a best-in-class organization today – and supports Canadian independent entrepreneurs with a buying group that is better, faster and lower cost than ever before.

After the presentation, there will be a Question and Answer Period. Mr. Owens will also be accompanied by members of his management team. 

Click here for all the details and to register.

See Where E-Commerce is Headed at CHHMA/COPA Seminar – September 13

The digital world continues to transform retail in and out of the physical store and this trend will continue well beyond 2020. Traditional brick and mortar retailers are evolving their e-commerce operations and global third party marketplaces are fundamentally disrupting the retail landscape, resulting in a completely reshaped retail environment that will require distinct capabilities to compete.

In order to position for growth in this new seamless, digitally integrated retail environment, retailers and suppliers need to understand how fast e-commerce is growing, and get answers to crucial questions related to e-commerce and the digital transformation, including:

• How fast is e-commerce forecast to grow around the globe and in Canada?
• What is the size of the e-commerce opportunity?
• Which retailers are leading the change and driving the innovation?
• What capabilities will be critical for retailers and suppliers to win in the future digital landscape?
• How will e-commerce impact logistics and fulfillment business models of the future?

The CHHMA along with the Canadian Office Products Association (COPA) and RetailNet Group will be bringing the answers to you in a workshop on the future of e-commerce/digital on the morning of Tuesday, September 13, 2016, 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m., at the Centre for Health & Safety Innovation, 5110 Creekbank Rd., Mississisauga, ON., CHHMA Members: $99.00 + HST.

The seminar will explore how fast e-commerce is growing, the top e-commerce initiatives that retailers around the globe are working on today, and the future prevalent e-commerce fulfillment models. Participants will learn why retailers and brands need to build their roadmap of the table stakes and differentiating capabilities to carry them through the e-commerce and digital transformation.

With such a huge shift taking place in the industry, you will not want to miss out on this game-changing information!

About the Speaker

Hannah Donoghue leads RNG’s advisory practice, specializing in global retail strategy, e-commerce, and planning. Through her advisory work, she supports global retailers, manufacturers and service providers on custom projects, presentations, and immersion programs focused on the future of retail, retailer growth initiatives and supplier capabilities. Donoghue also supports and presents at RNG’s Executive Education programs, which provide strategy and leadership courses through partnerships with leading universities.

Beginning her career at RNG as an analyst, Donoghue leads RNG’s research and forecasts for the Latin America region. She also leads RNG’s college graduate recruitment program, supporting the growth and development of RNG’s analyst team.

For all the information and to register online, click here.

Click here for a PDF registration form.  

Industry Memorial Golf Classic on September 27th to Honour David Holden, Leonard Lee and Warren Parr  

The 15th Annual Industry Memorial Golf Classic is taking place on Tuesday, September 27th at the Blue Springs Golf Club in Acton, Ontario.

The event is held on behalf of the hardware and housewares industry and it honours stalwarts from the industry who have passed away. CHHMA members and non-members are welcome to attend.

This year’s honourees are: David Holden (Hamilton Beach), Leonard Lee (Lee Valley Tools) and Warren Parr (D.H. Howden/TSC Stores).

Past honourees include: David Fry, Ted Kennedy, Geoff Somers, Ray Ceolin, Tom Ross, Bruce Webster, Chris Hrushowy, Mike Pullen, Jim Ypma, Bill Caldwell, Brayl Copp, Ed Hardison, Stuart North, Joseph Kuchar, Shelly Lush, Jack Pountney, Christof Vanooteghem, Ian Hay, Trygve Husebye, Bernie Carpenter, Don McDonald, Les Groves, Bob Hilton, Doug Straus, Mel Boshart, George Giles and Ed Barnes.

The day allows family, friends and colleagues to honour these gentlemen while enjoying a fun day out on the golf course followed by a dinner and silent auction.

The event will start off with registration and breakfast at 8:00 a.m. with a 9:00 a.m. tee off. Dinner will commence at around 2:30 p.m.

For full details and to register online, click here

Click here for a PDF registration form

Money raised from the event will go towards the CHHMA Scholarship Program which provides support for children of CHHMA member company employees to attend university or college.  So please consider sponsoring a hole and/or donating an item for the silent auction for this worthwhile cause.

Click here for a PDF silent auction pledge form.

Industry News

Quebec Transport Minister Resigns Amid RONA Sale Scandal

Quebec's transport minister has left politics.

Jacques Daoust announced his resignation last Friday hours after Premier Philippe Couillard indicated the minister had lost his confidence.

Daoust, 68, had faced mounting criticism in recent months over his alleged role in authorizing the sale of the RONA hardware chain to Lowe's while he was the province's economy minister.

Although Daoust maintained he didn't know about Investissement Quebec's decision to sell its shares in RONA, emails sent in 2014 and obtained by TVA suggested the vice-president of the provincial investment agency had been given the go-ahead from Daoust's former chief of staff.

Members of the opposition had called for Daoust's resignation, accusing him of having lied to the public.

Couillard said Friday "serious questions" had been raised about the RONA sale and he wanted answers fast.

Daoust was appointed transport minister in January.

In a statement announcing his resignation, Daoust maintained he never knew about the RONA sale but didn't want to be a distraction to the government.

“Off the top, I insist in saying that I told the truth at all times and my statements on the sale of shares of RONA were rigorously accurate,” Daoust wrote in a parting statement made public by his office. “I was never informed of the intention of the administrators to sell Investissement Québec’s (IQ) shares in RONA. I never gave it (IQ) my authorization and I never had to, given the rules that were in place.”

But Daoust said the RONA issue “has become a distraction overshadowing the government’s plans,” so he submitted his resignation, which Premier Philippe Couillard accepted on the spot.

Daoust is also quitting as the MNA for the riding of Verdun, a move that will spark a by-election there. Verdun is considered a very safe Liberal seat.

Obtained by the TVA network, and also by the Montreal Gazette, the emails show Daoust’s then chief-of-staff, Pierre Ouellet, technically Daoust’s closest adviser, had signed off on the sale, contradicting Daoust’s version of events to the effect he never green lit the sale of the Quebec flagship hardware chain to Lowe’s.

The government has been raked over the coals by the opposition for allowing the firm to slip out of Quebecers’ control.

The email exchange shows the government’s investment arm, Investissement Québec, which held shares in RONA from 2012-2014, sought Daoust’s permission to liquidate $11.1 million in RONA shares, which would allow the sale to go ahead.

The emails are dated Nov. 26, 2014 and are between Ouellet and Investissement Québec vice-president Jean-Jacques Carrier.  Two minutes after getting the email from Carrier, Ouellet writes back: “Thanks.  I’ll get back to you ASAP.”

About two hours later, Ouellet writes back to Carrier with a one-word answer: “OK.”

The opposition Parti Québécois and Coalition Avenir Québec pounced, saying it’s clear Ouellet had obtained permission from Daoust to authorize the transaction and that Daoust has been lying from the get go. They demanded he resign.

Source: The Canadian Press, The Montreal Gazette 

Walmart Canada’s Sales Gains Slowed in Q2 as U.S. Parent Beats Expectations

Walmart Canada’s share of the grocery market grew in the second quarter, but at a significantly slowed rate, as key players including Loblaw and Sobeys fought back with their own price cuts.

Net sales rose 2.9% at Walmart Canada in the period ended July 29, parent company Wal-Mart Stores Inc. reported last Thursday, while same-store sales were flat, rising 1.1%. That is a significant decrease from the 6.7% same-store sales gain that the Canadian subsidiary reported in the first quarter, ending in April.

Brett Biggs, the company’s chief financial officer, said during the company’s recorded quarterly analyst call that the company’s “aggressive” cost reduction programs in Canada are paying off despite increased promotional activity from Canadian competitors, resulting in the ninth-consecutive quarter of same-store sales gains in this country.

“We continued to gain market share in food and consumables and health and wellness,” Briggs added, citing Nielsen data that revealed Walmart Canada gained 60 basis points of market share in the food and wellness segments in the 12-week period ending July 23. Gross profit rate and operating income also increased.

But Walmart, which has more than 400 big-box stores across the country and continues to disrupt traditional grocery retailing by adding more food to its assortment, also clearly absorbed an impact from Canadian grocers’ own price-reduction moves.

Walmart Canada’s grocery market share gain in the quarter “primarily reflects increased square footage, in our view,” said analyst Keith Howlett of Desjardins Securities, noting the retailer continues to its own costs down to help offer lower prices to customers.

“In our view, Walmart Canada’s deceleration in same-store sales growth in the second quarter reflects the market strength of the leading grocery players in Canada when pricing and promotions are sharpened,” the analyst said in a note to clients , adding price cuts and promotions by the grocers had an “immediate impact in slowing the shift in traffic” to Walmart Canada. “This is positive and reduces — at least temporarily — our concerns about the disruptive impact of new pricing strategies at Sobeys and Walmart.”

In April, Sobeys made price cuts of between 5% and 7% on 8,500 items in order to lure discount-loving customers back to its stores. Walmart Canada followed a month later with a program of strategic price cuts.

“Our cost analytics program made good progress helping drive down cost of goods allowing us to invest in price,” Biggs said during Walmart’s call. “Additionally, we continue to decrease inventory levels and improve efficiency from a store and labour perspective.”

Loblaw also said in its most recent analyst call that it cut prices on some goods in the second quarter, which ended June 18. The country’s largest grocery retailer also sent a letter to its biggest suppliers asking them to lower their costs in order to help the chain offer deeper price cuts to customers.

Walmart Canada also reported last Thursday that it was gaining traction in its e-commerce initiative, saying the expansion of online grocery in the Toronto area was “performing well.”

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. raised its fiscal-year profit forecast last Thursday as the company reported higher-than-expected earnings for the quarter, an improvement it attributed in part to a better shopping experience resulting from employee wage increases.

Earlier this year, Wal-Mart said it would invest $2.7-billion over two years to increase entry-level wages to $10 an hour, a move the company said has led to cleaner stores, faster checkouts and improved customer service.

“Walmart’s strategic investments are generating traction, which is especially meaningful, given a large portion of its customer base remains challenged,” said Moody’s analyst Charlie O’Shea.

The company bucked a string of weak results by higher-end brick-and-mortar competitors like Target Corp, Macy’s Inc. and Kohls Corp.

Online sales growth accelerated sequentially for the first time in five quarters, rising 11.8% from 7% in the first quarter.

However, the higher wages and investments in automated warehouses dedicated to filling online orders hit profitability.

Excluding a non-cash gain of $535-million from sale of Wal-Mart’s China e-commerce business, operating income dropped 7.2%.

Earnings per share came to $1.07, excluding the gain and other items, in the second quarter ended on July 31. Analysts on average were expecting $1.02, according to Thomson Reuters.

Wal-Mart raised its fiscal-year earnings outlook to between $4.15 and $4.35 a share from a previous range of $4.00 to $4.30.

U.S. same-store sales rose 1.6%, excluding fuel. That was the eighth consecutive quarterly increase and exceeded market expectations for a rise of 1%, according to research firm Consensus Metrix.

Store visits increased 1.2%.

Revenue rose 0.5% to $120.9-billion despite a $2.7-billion hit from a stronger dollar, which reduces the value of overseas sales. International sales fell 6.6% to $28.6-billion but increased 2.2% on a currency-neutral basis.

Net income attributable to Wal-Mart rose to $3.77-billion from $3.48-billion.

To accelerate its e-commerce business and narrow the widening gap with rival Inc, Wal-Mart recently paid more than $3-billion to acquire internet retailer, the highest price ever for an online startup.

Source: The Financial Post, Reuters

Orgill Consolidates Purchasing Functions

Orgill, Inc. announced last week the consolidation of all its purchasing functions to its Memphis home office.  The consolidation includes suppliers to Orgill Canada, Orgill U.S., as well as the company’s substantial offshore sourcing activities.

Since Orgill Canada acquired Chalifour last year, the company has successfully converted all procurement and replenishment over to the Orgill’s purchasing team in Memphis. Orgill buyers are personally contacting all suppliers affected by the change.

The company also announced the continued rapid expansion of its Canadian field service organization, as well as the accelerated plans to expand deliveries to Canadian retail customers on Orgill operated trucks.Currently, nearly three dozen Canadian territory representatives service its customers throughout Canada, more than twice the number a year ago.Similarly, the number of Canadian-based drivers has grown from just three a year ago to 13 currently, and is projected to more than double by the end of 2016.

Orgill has also significantly increased staffing at its London, Ontario distribution centre to accommodate the addition of 25,000 SKUs to the London assortment, bringing London’s total to nearly 60,000 items available to all Canadian customers.

Source: Orgill, Inc.       

Economic News

Canada Consumer Optimism Rises on Outlook for Personal Finances 

Canadians’ optimism about their own financial situation rose to the highest in more than a year last week, raising overall consumer confidence, in a sign Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s boost of transfer payments has had an impact.

The Bloomberg Nanos Canadian Confidence Index rose to 59.9 from 59.3 a week earlier, while the pocketbook subindex – measuring personal finances and job security – rose to 61.1 from 60.3 a week earlier. The subindex reached its highest point since May of 2015.

Optimism has increased in particular among those with household incomes under $60,000, suggesting Trudeau’s increased child benefit payments, which took effect last month, are having an impact, Bloomberg economist Robert Lawrie said.

“The pattern prior to the oil-shock was for low-income households to have lower expectations than higher-income households. That pattern has since reversed,” Lawrie said.

Consumer confidence spiked most in British Columbia where overall optimism rose to 65.2 from 61.9 a week earlier.

Nationally, the share of those saying their personal finances have improved over the past year rose to 19.9%, from 18.5% a week earlier. The share of those who said their finances are worse off also increased, to 24.5 from 23.8. The difference between the two – at negative 4.6 percentage points – is the narrowest since June 2015.

Nationally, 65.5% of respondents said their job was either secure or somewhat secure, up from 64 a week earlier.

The share of those expecting real estate values in their neighborhood to increase over the next six months fell to 43.7 from 44.1 a week earlier, while the share of those expecting the Canadian economy to weaken overall was unchanged.

The Bloomberg Nanos Canadian Confidence Index is based on a four-week rolling average of telephone polling with 1,000 respondents. It’s considered accurate within 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. The latest round of polling ended Aug. 19.

Source: Bloomberg News  

Retail Sales in Canada Record Surprise Drop 

Canadian retail sales unexpectedly fell in June according to data released by Statistics Canada last Friday, reinforcing expectations that growth contracted in the second quarter as the economic malaise hit the consumer, who has been a key pillar of support in recent years.

The 0.1% decline in June retail sales to $44.1 billion was well short of economists’ expectations for a 0.5% gain. May’s sales were revised down to show no change from an initially reported 0.2% gain.

Weaker sales at food and beverage stores and general merchandise stores offset higher sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers.

Sales were down in 7 of 11 subsectors, representing 54% of retail trade.

After removing the effects of price changes, retail sales in volume terms declined 0.3% in June.

“It just suggests that maybe the Canadian consumer is growing a bit tired of carrying the burden of growth,” said David Watt, chief economist at HSBC.

“And we don’t really have a lot of other things that are supporting growth right now if the Canadian consumer steps back.”

Nonetheless, economists do not expect that consumers are down for the count just yet, particularly with the additional money they are getting from the government in the form of a revamped child benefit.

“With Ottawa sending out the first of the Child Care Benefit checks in July, there’s reason to be optimistic on the second half of the year,” Nick Exarhos, economist at CIBC, wrote in a note.

The Canadian economy likely contracted in the second quarter, partly due to May’s wildfires in northern Alberta that forced residents to evacuate and disrupted oil production.

Although the data underscored weakness in the economy in the second quarter, analysts and policymakers still expect growth to rebound in the third quarter.

After cutting interest rates twice last year in the face of the oil price slump, the Bank of Canada is seen holding rates where they are until late 2017,” said Derek Holt, economist at Scotiabank. “I think the Bank of Canada continues to look through both readings. We knew the consumer was going to be weak overall in the second quarter.”

Food and beverage stores (-1.5%) recorded the largest decrease in dollar terms among subsectors in June. After advancing 6.4% in May, sales at beer, wine and liquor stores were down 4.7%, the largest monthly drop since June 2013. Receipts at supermarkets and other grocery stores fell 0.9% in June. Following three months of declines, sales at specialty food stores posted a 1.1% gain. Sales at convenience stores were up 0.3%.

General merchandise stores recorded a 1.5% sales decrease in June, down for the second month in a row, but remain up 3.1% year-over-year.

Sales at building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers (-1.9%) fell for the third time in four months but are 4.4% higher than a year ago.

Sales at furniture and home furnishings stores were down 0.1% for the month but are up 1.8% from June 2015.

Clothing and clothing accessories stores posted a 1.7% sales decline in June. Sales at clothing stores (-1.7%) and shoe stores (-3.6%) were down, following gains in May. Jewellery, luggage and leather goods stores recorded a 1.1% sales increase.

Sales at electronics and appliance stores rose 0.8% from May but are down 1.5% from 12 months ago.

Sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers were up 2.0% in June. The gain in this subsector was attributable to a 2.5% increase at new car dealers, where sales rose for the first time in five months.  Automotive parts, accessories and tire stores (+0.8%) and other motor vehicle dealers (+0.8%) also recorded higher sales. Conversely, sales at used car dealers (-1.8%) decreased for the fourth straight month.

Sales at gasoline stations (+1.8%) rose for the third consecutive month, largely reflecting higher prices at the pump.

Retail sales fell in five provinces in June, with Quebec (-0.8%) reporting the largest decrease in dollar terms. The sales decline in Quebec was mainly due to weaker sales at food and beverage stores and new car dealers.

Retail sales in Alberta (-0.4%) fell for the second month in a row. Lower sales were recorded at clothing stores and building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers. New car dealers and gasoline stations posted higher sales in June. The impact of the wildfire and evacuation on retail sales in Alberta was smaller in June than in May.

Source: Statistics Canada, Reuters    

Canada’s Inflation Rate Slows in July

Canada’s annual inflation rate was 1.3% in July as Canadians paid more for shelter and food but less for fuel, Statistics Canada said last Friday.

This overall inflation number in the federal agency’s latest Consumer Price Index (CPI) came in a little weaker than the 1.5% year-over-year increase in June.

Excluding gasoline, the CPI was up 1.9% year over year in July, matching the gain in June.

Prices climbed in six of the eight major categories compared with 12 months earlier, with the cost of shelter and food items generating the biggest upward nudges on inflation, the report said.

For example, the index found that Canadians paid 9.8% more for potatoes last month compared with July 2015, 10.3% more for fresh or frozen fish and 15.6% more for apples.

Under the shelter category, the price of electricity was 5.4% higher than the year before.

In contrast, gasoline prices fell last month by 14% compared to a year earlier, fuel oil dropped 13.4% and natural gas slid 10.3%.

The agency’s core annual inflation rate, which omits some volatile items like gasoline, stayed at 2.1% last month.

Dawn Desjardins, RBC’s deputy chief economist, wrote in a research note to clients that she expects the gap to eventually narrow between the headline and core inflation rates — to the point that they could merge near the 2% mark, which is the Bank of Canada’s ideal target.

She said the central bank has pointed to factors like low energy prices, among other things, in keeping headline inflation lower than 2%.

“Heading into the latter part of this year, the impact of these factors will reverse lifting the headline rate, but doing little to shift the core measure from 2%,” Desjardins wrote.

“Further, reducing interest rates would undo some of the necessary cooling in housing-market activity…

“Given these factors, we expect the bank to hold the overnight rate at 0.5%, not only through the remainder of this year but through 2017 as well.”

By province, the Statistics Canada report found that Newfoundland and Labrador once again saw the highest inflation of any province last month at 3.4%, which followed a 2.4% rate in June.

Statistics Canada also noted that on July 1 the provincial portion of the harmonized sales tax increased in Newfoundland and New Brunswick, where consumer prices rose 2.5% last month.

Source: Statistics Canada, The Canadian Press 

Latest U.S. Economic News  

U.S. New Home Sales Race to Near Nine-Year High; Supply Dwindles
New U.S. single-family home sales unexpectedly rose in July, reaching their highest level in nearly nine years as demand increased broadly, brightening the housing market outlook.

The Commerce Department said on Tuesday new home sales surged 12.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 654,000 units last month, the highest level since October 2007.
June’s sales pace was revised down to 582,000 units from the previously reported 592,000 units. July’s increase, however, likely exaggerates housing market strength as it has not been matched by robust housing starts.

Still, sales were up 31.3% from a year ago.  Economists polled by Reuters had forecast single-family home sales, which account for about 9.6% of overall home sales, slipping to a rate of 580,000 units last month.

Last months’ surprise increase pushed new home sales well above their second-quarter average, pointing to sustained momentum in the market for new homes. Residential construction was a minor drag on economic growth in the second quarter.

Housing market strength, marked by rising home values which are boosting household wealth, is helping to buoy consumer spending, cushioning the blow to the U.S. economy from a downturn in business spending as well as an inventory correction.

Tightening labour market conditions, which are steadily lifting wages, as well as mortgage rates near historic lows are supporting housing. Reports last week showed groundbreaking on single-family housing projects rising to a five-month high in July and sentiment among homebuilders increasing in August.

New home sales are likely benefiting from a chronic shortage of previously owned houses available for sale.

Robust demand for new homes is boosting homebuilders like Toll Brothers, which on Tuesday reported a rise in revenue for the fourth straight quarter. The luxury homebuilder said it had sold more houses at higher prices.

The broader PHLX housing index, which includes builders, building products and mortgage companies, was trading up 1.0%, outperforming the overall U.S. stock market.

New single-family homes sales soared 40.0% in the Northeast and increased 1.2% in the Midwest. Sales in the populous South jumped 18.1% to their highest level since July 2007. Sales were flat in the West, which has seen a sharp increase in home prices amid tight inventories.

Last month, the inventory of new homes on the market fell 2.9% to 233,000 units, the lowest level since November last year.  This means builders will need to ramp up construction activity to meet demand.

At July’s sales pace it would take 4.3 months to clear the supply of houses on the market, the fewest since June 2013, and down from 4.9 months in June. Despite increased demand and tight inventories, the median price for a new home slipped 0.5% from a year ago to $294,600.

Source: Reuters

U.S. Fed Officials Split on Whether Rate Hike Needed Soon
Federal Reserve policymakers agree that more economic data is needed before raising interest rates, although some see a need to tighten policy soon, according to the minutes from the U.S. central bank’s July 26-27 policy meeting.

The minutes, which were released last Wednesday, showed that members of the rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee were generally upbeat about the U.S. economic outlook and labour market.

“Some … members anticipated that economic conditions would soon warrant taking another step in removing policy accommodation,” the Fed said in the minutes.

Several Fed policymakers, however, said a slowdown in the future pace of hiring would argue against a near-term hike, and members of the FOMC said they wanted to “leave their policy options open.”

“The minutes contained more concrete indications that a consensus to raise rates is slowly building,” said Brian Dolan, head market strategist at Drivewealth in New Jersey.

The Fed raised rates in December for the first time in nearly a decade, but it has since kept rates unchanged amid financial market volatility, a global growth slowdown and tame U.S. inflation.

Investors had raised bets earlier last week for a rate increase this year after two Fed policymakers said the economic stars now appear to be aligning despite weak U.S. growth in the first half of 2016.

Seventeen Fed policymakers participated in the July meeting, 10 of whom had a vote. Of the broader group of policymakers, several expressed concern that low interest rates could hurt financial stability.

The minutes came a day after New York Fed President William Dudley said “it’s possible” to raise rates at the Sept. 20-21 policy meeting and Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart said a hike next month is in play.

The Fed also has policy meetings scheduled in early November and mid-December. Economists see the December meeting as the most likely time for a rate increase since it follows the U.S. presidential election, according to a recent Reuters’ poll.

Source: Reuters                       

 Upcoming CHHMA Events 

Future of E-Commerce/Digital Seminar
Tuesday, September 13, 2016
Centre for Health & Safety Innovation, Mississauga, Ontario

Industry Memorial Golf Classic

Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Blue Springs Golf Club, Acton, Ontario

Bernie Owens (TIMBER MART) Breakfast Seminar
Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Hôtel Holiday Inn Montréal-Longueuil, Longueuil, Québec

CHHMA Industry Calendar

To register for all events visit our website at or call Pam Winter at (416) 282-0022 ext.21.


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"Eye On Our Industry" is published by the CHHMA as an information resource for our members. Member input regarding content and format is welcomed. Please contact Michael Jorgenson by email:, or call at (416) 282-0022, ext. 34. CHHMA is located at 1335 Morningside Ave., Suite 101, Scarborough, ON, M1B 5M4

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