Bloomberg News

Economists Predict More Sleep as Canada Releases Data Later

December 06, 2011

(Updates with background on release time in sixth paragraph.)

Nov. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Canadian economists, often at odds over the outlook for the country, agree on their latest forecast: they’ll get more sleep next year.

Statistics Canada will end the practice of releasing jobs and inflation data at 7 a.m. in Ottawa, and will move the announcement time to 8:30 a.m., the same as most other Canadian and U.S. data. Peter Frayne, head of media relations at the statistics agency, said today the changes will be made in April. The agency will issue a statement tomorrow, he said.

“Hallelujah, it’s great,” said Benjamin Tal, senior economist at Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce in Toronto. “Every economist will thank Statistics Canada from the bottom of their hearts.”

The agency had defended the different release times for years, citing the need to provide the data in the morning to Canadians living in the Atlantic and Newfoundland and Labrador time zones. The practice meant an early start for investors, economists and journalists.

“This is exciting news!!,” Emanuella Enenajor, economist at CIBC World Markets, said in an e-mail.

The early release time dates back to an era where the distribution of economic news relied on technologies such as telephones and fax machines, methods long since replaced by the Internet and e-mail.

More Impact

One benefit of the new release times may be that the job and inflation data will have more of an impact on markets, Tal said, because some investors wait for U.S. numbers to come out at 8:30 a.m. before making trades.

“The Canadian numbers will get more reaction this way because in the background we will see the American numbers,” Tal said.

Other economists said it may put an end to some trading strategies. Sheryl King, Toronto-based head of Canadian economics at Bank of America Corp., said some investors used the Canadian jobs data as a proxy for U.S. payrolls numbers when the two figures were released on the same day.

“Interestingly, it will take away some of the pre- positioning that occurs ahead of the U.S. monthly jobs report,” King said.

Ian Pollick of Royal Bank of Canada said the extra 90 minutes before U.S. data releases created opportunities for the Canadian bond market to trade without being influenced by U.S. data.

“Given the nature of Canada’s bond market, a lot of price discovery is taken from the Treasury market,” Pollick, senior fixed-income strategist at RBC Capital Markets in Toronto, said in an e-mail. “Having early morning releases has tended to provide an almost two-hour window where the domestic market can trade on its own accord.”

Still, Pollick said that “selfishly,” the change in release time “is a welcome development.”

--With assistance from Ilan Kolet in Ottawa. Editors: Paul Badertscher, Steven Frank

To contact the reporters on this story: Theophilos Argitis in Ottawa at targitis@bloomberg.net; Greg Quinn in Ottawa at gquinn1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David Scanlan at dscanlan@bloomberg.net


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