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Sunday, September 7, 2014

Bank more upbeat about Canadian economic recovery; interest rates unchanged

   Canada column for Sunday, Sept. 7/14

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Canada’s central bank expressed a slightly more upbeat view of the economy as it kept interest rates steady.
   As the key interest rate stayed at 1 percent – where it has been for 4 years – the Bank of Canada suggested the target date for the economy to return to full capacity is still within the next two years.
   “Overall, the risks to the outlook for inflation remain roughly balanced, while the risks associated with household (debt) imbalances have not diminished,” the bank said.
   The economy is performing largely as expected, inflation continues around two percent and activity in the housing market is stronger, the bank report said.
   It noted the United States economy continues regaining strength with stronger business investment while Europe’s recovery seems to be “faltering.”
   The bank said “an increasing number” of export sectors appear to be “turning the corner” toward recovery.
   “This pickup will need to be sustained before it will translate into higher business investment and hiring (in Canada),” it added.
   The next announcement on interest rates will be Oct. 22 when the bank will give an update on its monetary policy.


   Parents were scrambling to make daycare arrangements as talks to end a strike by teachers in British Columbia broke off.
   Mediator Vince Ready left the talks last weekend along with government negotiator Peter Cameron, saying no agreement was imminent.
   The 40,000 members of the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation went on strike in June over issues of pay, class sizes and support staff levels.
   Premier Christy Clark said the government wants a “fair deal as soon as possible,” but it must be affordable for taxpayers.
   The provincial government is moving ahead with a proposal to give the parents of children aged 12 and younger $40 a day to help with daycare costs.


    News in brief:
   - Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard has agreed to have the province join in the development of a national energy strategy that had been stalled by the previous separatist government. Alberta Premier Dave Hancock, whose energy-rich province has championed the Canadian Energy Strategy to be defined over the next year, said is benefits would extend beyond Canada's borders.
   - Canadian pop star Justin Bieber is in trouble with the law again after being arrested for dangerous driving and assault in an incident with paparazzi. Police said there was a collision between Bieber’s ATV and a minivan near his father’s home in Stratford, Ontario. Bieber, 20, is to appear in court on Sept. 29 as well as on Monday in Toronto for allegedly assaulting a limousine driver last year.


   Facts and figures:
   Canada’s dollar is lower at 91.88 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar returns $1.0883 in Canadian funds, before bank exchange fees.
   The Bank of Canada’s key interest rate remains at 1 percent while the prime-lending rate is unchanged at 3 percent.
   Stock markets are lower, with the Toronto exchange index at 15,579 points and the TSX Venture index at 996 points.
   The average price of a liter of gasoline in Canada is lower at $1.2975 (Canadian).
   Lotto 6-49: (Sept. 3) 5, 13, 15, 22, 45 and 47; bonus 27. (Aug. 30) 3, 24, 25, 33, 40 and 48; bonus 2. Lotto Max: (Aug. 29) 1, 23, 26, 33, 35, 38 and 42; bonus 18.


   Regional briefs:
   - A moment in Canadian history was recreated by the country’s premiers during their annual summer meeting at Government House in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. On the steps of the legislature, they posed for a photo to recreate one taken on Sept. 6, 1864 that launched Canada’s journey to Confederation as a country. The original photo included Sir John A. Macdonald who became Canada's first prime minister.
   - Students at College de Saint-Ambroise, a Quebec elementary school, won’t have to worry about carrying books home after class. The school with 339 students in the Saguenay region, has banned homework for Grades 1 to 6 in a one-year pilot project. Marie-Eve Desrosiers of the Jonquiere School Board said the goal is to “ease pressure on parents and improve student performance.”


Jim Fox can be reached at canadareport@hotmail.com

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