Currency exchange rates are an important part of the global economy. That’s why every week at theCurrent we bring you the world’s biggest business stories. This week: loonie and oil continue to rebound, Canadian retail and inflation numbers surpass expectations, PJ’s pets closes stores across Canada, Uber settles and drivers remain contractors, a new $20 on the horizon, McDonald’s breakfast boost, and Fiat recalls over a million vehicles.
Rising oil prices pushed the Canadian dollar higher on Friday continuing a strong upward trend for the loonie. Light sweet crude prices were up 55 cents to US$43.73 per barrel helping to boost the Canadian dollar by 0.35 cents against the greenback to reach 78.92 cents USD. Earlier in the day the loonie broke the 79 cents USD mark. (Source: http://www.thestar.com/business/2016/04/22/tsx-ends-week-lower-loonie-rallies.html)
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Retail and Inflation
Canadian retail sales surpassed expectations in February. Many economists had predicted a moderate decline in retail sales, but the latest figures reveal that sales actually rose by 0.4% to $44.2 billion. Inflation rates for March hit 1.3%, outpacing the predicted rate of 1.2%, but still marking a fall from the previous month. Despite rising oil prices, prices at the pump in Canada fell 13.6%, while vegetable prices rose 14.9% and fruit jumped 11.3%. (Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2016/04/22/inflation-canada-march-2016_n_9756934.html)
PJ’s Pets, a Canadian staple for over 50 years is closing 27 of its 39 stores across Canada, including stores in PEI, Nova Scotia, BC, New Brunswick, and Ontario. The company has lost approximately $16.5 million since 2013, a phenomenon attributed by some to a decision to stop selling puppies in 2011. (Source: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/pjs-pets-pets-unlimited-closing-1.3550160)
Uber has agreed to pay up to 100 million USD to settle a lawsuit which argued that Uber drivers qualified as employees and therefore entitled to be reimbursed for expenses. The ride sharing tech giant also agreed to change some business practices, but drivers will continue to be considered independent contractors. The settlement is still subject to approval by a San Francisco judge. (Source: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/apr/21/uber-driver-settlement-labor-dispute-california-massachusetts)
US currency is about to receive a major facelift as Andrew Jackson is booted from the $20 bill in favour of Harriet Tubman. Tubman famously led slaves to freedom through the underground railroad, risking her life and freedom for fellow African Americans. The move has largely been applauded but some critics have voiced their opinion that Jackson should not be snubbed, but rather that Tubman should be given her own denomination. (Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/21/us/women-currency-treasury-harriet-tubman.html?_r=0)
McDonald’s Breakfast boost
McDonalds profits have jumped by 35% in the first quarter of 2016 thanks to its newly introduced all day breakfast, and discounts in the US. McDonald’s shares have risen 29% in the last year. (Source: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/ef308eae-05b0-11e6-a70d-4e39ac32c284.html)
Fiat will recall 1.1 million vehicles due to a design flaw which has caused concerns that vehicles may roll away after the occupant has left the car. The defect causes cars which appear to be in park to continue to drive. The recall includes: Dodge Charger, Chrysler 300 sedans and Jeep Grand Cherokees. VW meanwhile has tripled the amount of money it has put aside to deal with the fallout from its emission scandal from 6.7 billion EUR to 16.2 billion EUR. (Source: http://news.sky.com/story/1683690/fiat-chrysler-recalls-1m-roll-away-vehicles)
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