Canada column for Sunday, Dec. 10/17
THE CANADIAN REPORT
(c) By Jim Fox
For people with money in the bank or invested, Canada’s central bank decision to keep interest rates steady wasn’t encouraging.
However, for those with loans and mortgages, fees will remain unchanged as the Bank of Canada opted not to raise its trendsetting “overnight” rate for the third time this year.
So, the rate will stay at 1 percent and the commercial bank prime lending rate at 3.2 percent for now.
“The current stance of monetary policy is appropriate,” the bank said, adding that it will be “cautious in making future adjustments to the policy rate” with less monetary policy stimulus required over time.
The bank raised its rate by 0.25 percent in July and that amount again last month after no movement in the previous two years.
A surprise for economists was the Canadian dollar losing about one cent against the U.S. currency to 78.15 cents after the bank failed to increase rates.
Authorities say safety won’t be compromised even as the Canadian government allows airline passengers to carry some small knives on most flights.
Transport Canada said knife blades up to six centimeters (2.4 inches), or about the size of a large paper clip, will be allowed on domestic and most international flights.
All blades, however, will continue to be banned on U.S. flights and razor blades and box cutters of any size will remain prohibited on all flights as will baby and foot powders.
“These changes to screening procedures will bring Canada in line with international standards and our partner countries while continuing to keep passengers safe,” Transport Minister Marc Garneau said.
News in brief:
- Rogers Communications Inc., one of Canada’s largest wireless, cable and media firms, is considering selling the Toronto Blue Jays. Chief financial officer Tony Staffieri said it would free up capital for its main communications businesses. It’s not known if Rogers would also consider selling the Rogers Center where the ball team plays. It’s estimated the team could be worth $1.65 billion and the center up to $400 million.
- The U.S. International Trade Commission voted unanimously that Canada’s softwood lumber exports are harming American businesses. Preliminary duties set by the U.S. Commerce Department will remain with most Canadian producers paying countervailing and anti-dumping fees of 20.83 percent. The charges have driven up the price of lumber in the U.S. and could cause job cuts in Canada. The U.S. is holding $500 million in deposits for the duties that so far won’t be returned.
Facts and figures:
Canada’s dollar has dropped to 77.83 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar returns $1.284 in Canadian funds before exchange fees.
The Bank of Canada’s key interest rate remains steady at 1 percent while the prime-lending rate is 3.2 percent.
Stock markets are higher, with the Toronto exchange index at 16,096 points while the TSX Venture index is 792 points.
The average price for gas in Canada is lower at $1.139 a liter or $4.32 (Canadian) for a U.S. gallon.
Lotto 6/49: (Dec. 6) 6, 9, 16, 19, 21 and 28; bonus 35. (Dec. 2) 10, 12, 29, 33, 47 and 48; bonus 24. Lotto Max (Dec. 1) 26, 28, 33, 38, 42, 43 and 47; bonus 16.
- The Canada Trans Mountain pipeline expansion has been approved by the National Energy Board. The decision allows Kinder Morgan Canada to bypass some bylaws in Burnaby, British Columbia that have stalled the project already approved by the federal government. The $7.4-billion pipeline expansion is between Edmonton, Alberta and Burnaby. It will increase markets by expanding the capacity of North America’s only pipeline with access to the West Coast, the company said.
- A real “Newfie” hoedown took place among delayed passengers waiting for a WestJet Newfoundland-bound flight at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport. It started when passenger Sheldon Thornhill took out an accordion and was quickly joined by Sean Sullivan on the guitar for the impromptu sing-along. Island songs included Grey Foggy Day, Sweet Forget Me Not and Music and Friends.
Jim Fox can be reached at email@example.com