Every week at the Current we bring you the world’s biggest business stories. This week: The ECB stimulus decision, the US hints at a rate rise, foreign ownership of condos in major Canadian cities, a verdict in a coal executive’s trial, disabled grads face obstacles, and the Facebook founder to donate a huge sum of money.
ECB stimulus decision
The ECB (European Central Bank) announced on Thursday that it would cut deposit rates from -0.2% to -0.3% while also extending the €60 billion stimulus plan. Despite this, interest rates are being held at a low of 0.05%. Overall, these moves are not as tough as experts were expecting and have left many observers disappointed and underwhelmed. The euro jumped against the US dollar as a result of the announcement.
US to raise rates?
It’s been the talk of the town for months, but the Fed has, as of yet, refused to raise interest rates. However this could be changing as chairwoman Janet Yellen announced that raising interest rates would signal “how far our economy has come in recovering from the effects of the financial crisis”. If rates are going to be raised, it is likely to happen during the meeting on December 15/16. Stocks on Wall Street fell in reaction to the news.
US adds jobs
The US economy added 210,000 jobs in November, which surpassed expectations slightly. The jobless rate also fell to a 7 1/2 year low of 5%. The positive report further cements the expectation that the Fed will raise interest rates later this month.
Foreign ownership in condos
The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation announced that more condos are being bought by foreigners in both Toronto and Vancouver. It is currently 5.8% in Toronto (up 4.3% from last year) and 3.5% in Vancouver (an increase of 2.3%). With housing prices still on the rise, foreign ownership has become a heavily discussed topic. The company admitted more information is required in order to generate a complete picture of the situation.
Coal exec found guilty
Donald L. Blankenship, the former CEO of Massey Energy Company (a US coal mining company), was found guilty of failing to meet safety standards after 29 workers were killed in a 2010 explosion. The disaster was the worst mining accident in American history. While Mr. Blankenship could spend a year in jail, the Justice Department had been hoping for a much tougher sentence.
Full-time work tough for disabled grads
A study from the University of Guelph shows that university graduates with disabilities face a disproportionate amount of obstacles when it comes to getting a full-time job. The income gap between grads with disabilities and those without is about $4000-$6000 and only gets larger as they get older.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife have pledged to donate 99% of his stock in the company to charity (sort of). He is believed to donate $1 billion a year for the next three years, with the final sum equal to $45 billion. It will be managed through a limited liability company (LLC) instead of a charity, which gives Mr. Zuckerberg the freedom to spend the money where he wishes. He says the motive is to create a better future for all children.
Stay informed. Stay Current.