Last week’s headlines: Canadian unemployment dips, Air Canada has a makeover, BA cabin crew to strike, the TSX hits record high, Germany’s trade surplus is at a record high – thanks to the low euro.
Cabin Crew Strike
Cabin crews working for British Airways will initiate a four day strike on February 17th in a dispute over pay. The union, called ‘Unite’ claims that BA is paying “poverty” rates of just GBP 16,000 per year. BA says that the last strike did not prevent customers from reaching their destination and neither would this strike.
Back in Black
Air Canada is going retro with its newest uniform and plane designs. The company is bringing black back. New uniforms will use black or grey as the base colour rather than the current blue. Seasoned flyers might do a double take at Air Canada’s planes return to a style and colour that was last used 24 years ago. The underside, engines, lettering, and tail of Air Canada’s newest 300 planes will all be black.
Canada adds Jobs
Canada added 48,000 jobs to the economy in January – despite expected job losses. The surprise increase represents the second straight month that job growth has defied expert predictions. The unemployment rate also dropped below 6.8%. Economists had predicted a loss of 10,000 jobs. Over the last six months the economy has added an average of more than 40,000 new jobs per month for the strongest period in over 15 years.
Stock Market record high
TheS&P/TSX composite closed Friday at a record 15,729.12, beating the previous high of 15,657. The energy, financial, and material sectors led the broad price surge. Oil was boosted after the International Energy Agency said that OPEC would honour its pledge to slash production. Strong job numbers also boosted the market.
Low euro good for Germany
Germany’s trade surplus hit a record high last year. Exports increased 1.2% to EUR 1.2 trillion. Imports also rose but by a smaller margin of 0.6% to EUR 954.6 billion. The total surplus rose from EUR 244.3 billion in 2014 to EUR 252.9 billion in 2016. The lower value of the euro has made European exports cheaper and more attractive, and imports more expensive, helping boost the surplus, however a trade surplus generally causes the value of a currency to rise (due to greater demand for their goods which must be bought in their currency).
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