Canadian insolvencies rising for first time since recession

OTTAWA — The number of Canadians who can’t pay their debts and are being forced into insolvency is on the rise for the first time since the recession, according to a report by CIBC.The bank says the cumulative number of insolvencies rose by 1.2 per cent in the six-month period ended in February.The overall increase came as personal bankruptcies fell by 4.7 per cent. However the number of proposals, where consumers negotiate to repay only a portion of their debt, rose by no less than nine per cent.CIBC economist Benjamin Tal noted the affect of lower oil prices is starting to show.The number of insolvencies in Manitoba and Saskatchewan rose by almost 11 per cent, while Alberta saw an increase of 6.5 per cent.In contrast, the number of insolvencies in Ontario fell by almost seven per cent.“Zooming in on the situation in Alberta, there are reasons to believe that the coming quarters will see continued deterioration,” Tal wrote in the report.Weak oil prices have prompted some of the industry’s biggest names to cut capital spending plans for this year and reduce staff in order to lower costs.For example, Trican Well Service announced last week that it would cut 2,000 people from its North American workforce, just the latest firm to make such a decision.More seniors filing for insolvency with bigger debts than young, report saysCredit counselling in high demand in Alberta as oilpatch downturn hits homeTal noted the shift to proposals followed changes in 2008 that increased to $250,000 from $75,000 the limit of non-mortgage debt that can be considered under such arrangements, making the option more attractive than bankruptcy.“The opposing trajectories of proposals and bankruptcies have led to a situation in which proposals now account for a record-high 50 per cent of total insolvencies,” Tal said.The Bank of Canada and others have suggested consumer debt is a key risk to the economy.A prolonged period of low interest rates has helped boost household debt to record levels. Statistics Canada reported earlier this year that households in the fourth-quarter of last year owed about $1.63 in consumer credit, mortgage and non-mortgage loans for every dollar of disposable income.However, data also suggests that while Canadian families are borrowing more, that increase has come against a backdrop of rising asset values, notably real estate worth.Tal noted that if interest rates start to increase, the number of insolvencies could  rise even further.“Given the increased sensitivity of Canadian households to higher interest rates, it is reasonable to expect that, as opposed to previous cycles, the upcoming interest rate tightening cycle will lead to a moderate increase in the insolvency rate,” Tal wrote.The CIBC report noted that delinquency rates continue to trend downward in all major types of borrowing, with the exception of lines of credit, where the delinquency rate has been on the rise in recent years.“This trajectory largely reflects transfer of risk from credit cards to lines of credit,” Tal wrote. read more


Pak Defence Secretary to visit Sri Lanka

Defence Secretary Lt Gen (Retd) Asif Yasin Malik will be visiting Sri Lanka from 7-11 August 2012.During his stay in Colombo, Malik will hold discussions with Sri Lankan Defence hierarchy to further strengthen the relations between two time-tested friendly countries. During the course of the said Seminar, two Pakistani defence equipment manufacturing firms will also be exhibiting their products. The Secretary of Defence Pakistan will also address Defence Seminar 2012 being organized in Colombo by the Sri Lanka Army under the theme of “Towards Lasting Peace and Stability” from 8th to 10th August, 2012. Major General Ghulam Qamar and Brigadier Hamayun Aziz of Pakistan Army will also be attending the Defence Seminar. Since independence, Sri Lanka and Pakistan have consistently maintained close, cordial and mutually supportive relations especially in the field of defense. Both nations have assisted each other during testing times in their histories.Pakistan and Sri Lanka have comprehensive and mutually beneficial training collaboration for Army, Navy and Air Force. Over a period of time, a strong bond of commitment and mutual understanding has been reached between both the friendly armed forces. (Pakistan Today) read more