Every week we bring you the world’s biggest travel, currency, and business stories. This week: credit card fraud, inflation, airlines bumping and saving, Wells Fargo, a strong pound, GTA housing, elections and the euro.
Hotel Credit Card Fraud
Credit card information may have been stolen at thousands of Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, and InterContinental locations across Canada according to the British owners of the chains. Across North America over 1000 locations are believed to have been targeted by hackers between late September and December of 2016.
Inflation in Canada in the year ending in March came in at 1.6%, lower than the 18% predicted by economists. The lower than expected figure was the result of a 1.9% drop in food prices, and large decreases in clothing prices. Gas prices are 15% higher than last year, but down 8% from February.
Air Canada bump
According to the CBC a Canadian woman who was bumped from her flight by Air Canada without compensation missed her $10,000 cruise. Air Canada eventually provided an $800 reimbursement but has thus far refused to cover the additional costs.
Low Cost Westjet
WestJet plans on launching an ultra-low-cost carrier by late 2017 with a fleet of 10 Boeing 737-800s. WestJet began as a small discount carrier in Western Canada operating with just three planes. The move follows a growing trend for low cost carriers including the Icelandic based Wow Air, and the Canadian NewLeaf which offers one way flights for as low as $89.
Wells Fargo has been forced to expand its class action settlement relating to predatory retail and loan practices stretching as far back as 2002. It will add a further $32 million to the previous settlement of $142 million.
Stronger pound…for now
The British pound (GBP) reacted positively after British Prime Minister announced a surprise snap election at the beginning of the week. How long the pound will be able to maintain its strong position is unclear. On Friday the UK posted its worst quarterly fall in retail sales in seven years.
This March in the GTA, the price of a new detached home has increased 67% in just one year to $1.78 million, but the Ontario Liberal Government has finally taken measures to cool the market. In total the plan contains 16 points which include:
- A 15% “Non-Resident Speculation Tax” on all homes in the Greater Golden Horseshoe.
- Expanding rent controls to all private rental units even those built after 1991 which will limit them to a 1.5% plus inflation rate of increase.
- Allowing Toronto (and potentially other cities) to introduce a vacancy tax.
- A $125 million program to encourage new construction of apartment buildings.
- Reviewing Real Estate taxes.
Euro Election worries
The EUR weakened against the USD amidst concerns over the upcoming French Presidential election which features candidates on both the far left and the far right. Another terrorist attack on the Champ Elysee further hurt the currency. French elections have two rounds, but only the top two candidates make it to the final round which will be held on May 7th. Many people believe that the leader of the far-right National Front Marine Le Pen could win the first round. According to Marketwatch some experts even believe that the euro could fall as low as US$1.03.
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