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Monday, February 2, 2015

Falling Canadian dollar adding costs to U.S. winter stays, world travel



   Canada column for Sunday, Feb. 1/15

   THE CANADIAN REPORT
   (c) By Jim Fox

   “Snowbirds” are being hit hard by the slumping Canadian dollar that is making winter stays in the United States and travel abroad more costly.
   With the dollar slipping below 80 cents U.S., it means the greenback is worth $1.26 in Canadian funds – or about $1.30 with bank and credit card exchange fees.
   The dollar is closely tied to Canada’s resource industries, particularly oil that has fallen to about $45 U.S. a barrel, and a drop in economic activity.
   The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce predicts Canada’s central bank will cut its trend-setting interest rate by another quarter percentage point in the next few months, with the dollar bottoming out at 77 cents U.S.
   The central bank unexpectedly dropped its interest rate to 0.75 percent to stabilize the economy as businesses drastically cut back on exploration and jobs in the Alberta oil patch.
   A lower dollar, however, aids Canadian businesses whose products are less expensive on the world market as well as tourism to Canada.

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   Canadians have long complained they have been blocked from seeing U.S. ads during the Super Bowl, but that is about to change.
   The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission says it will ban cable and satellite companies from substituting Canadians ads for the U.S. ones during the game.
   The new rule will be in place for the 2017 Super Bowl but it could happen next year if Bell Media, the rights holder for the game, waives its rights to switch ads.

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   News in brief:
   - Just weeks after Canada’s iconic coffee shop Tim Hortons merged with Burger King, the company’s new owner has laid off 350 employees at its Oakville, Ontario headquarters and regional offices. Majority owner is 3G Capital, a Brazilian investment firm. Hortons has 2,300 employees at its offices and distribution centers.
   - The blizzard that sideswiped New York City slammed into Atlantic Canada, dumping up to 16 inches of snow, freezing rain, ice pellets and rain. Schools, businesses, highways and airports were closed across Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador and there were some widespread power interruptions.
   - Concern over the safety of Winnipeg’s municipal water supply led to a boil-water advisory for two days. Mayor Brian Bowman assured residents the water is “safe to drink” and some samples had wrongly indicated signs of bacteria and E. coli​ contamination.

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   Facts and figures:
   Canada’s dollar has sunk to 78.89 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar returns $1.2675 in Canadian funds, before bank exchange fees.
   The Bank of Canada’s key interest rate is 0.75 percent while the prime-lending rate has dropped to 2.85 percent.
   Stock markets are lower with the Toronto exchange index at 14,782 points and the TSX Venture index 671 points.
   The average price of a liter of gasoline across Canada is up at 91.81 cents or $3.48 for a U.S. gallon (Canadian).
   Lotto 6-49: (Jan. 28) 3, 4, 5, 8, 33 and 38; bonus 14. (Jan. 24) 2, 8, 9, 11, 21 and 39; bonus 37. Lotto Max: (Jan. 23) 1, 14, 15, 18, 26, 42 and 48; bonus 39.

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   Regional briefs:
   - A Montreal woman and her two-year-old grandniece have drowned in rough waves in Costa Rica. Andree Hamel, 70, was trying to rescue Jasmine Rodriguez Olshansky from the undertow at Santa Teresa Beach when both were swept away.
   - “Someone goofed,” is what Calgary city officials said when a new $6-million pedestrian bridge across the Shaganappi Trail didn't fit. The opening of the bridge will be delayed for a few weeks to fix the “contractor designer error.”
   - The Supreme Court has refused to hear the case of Joel Ifergan of Quebec who claimed a lottery terminal delay cost him half of a $27-million Super 7 jackpot in 2008. The machine processed one of his two tickets after the cutoff time and it was printed with the next draw’s date. That’s the one with the winning numbers for that night’s draw. Ifergan said he is also out about $100,000 in legal fees.

-30-

Jim Fox can be reached at canadareport@hotmail.com

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