Every week we bring you the country’s biggest currency, travel, and business news. This week: Sales up, inflation down, Sears sales, laptop ban ended, North Korea travel ban, banks could move out of London, record number of UK flights, and Toronto house prices down.
Canadian retail sales activity rose by 0.6% in May (double what was expected) to $48.9 billion. It is the third straight month of retail sales growth in Canada. Strong performance from the auto sector played a major role in the strong figures with 2.4% growth in the vehicle and parts sales, and new car sales up 2.7%.
Canada’s annual inflation rate fell from 1.3% in May to just 1.1% in June. Discounting food and energy the consumer price index rose 1.4%. Gas prices fell 1.4% down from 6.8% the previous month. Electricity also fell 5.3%. The Bank of Canada raised their key interest rate to 0.75 last week, a move often used to curb inflation, but Canada is already well below the 2% target leading some to question whether the move was premature.
Searing hot deals
Sears stores across Canada are beginning their liquidation sales on Friday. Sears is not going out of business but rather restructuring, so although there should be some great deals, you may not find the rock bottom prices that you would find at other liquidation sales. Expect prices to drop slowly.
The US has ended its four month laptop ban on flights originating from parts of North Africa and the Middle East. Saudi Arabia was the last country to have an airport on the list, but it was ended on Wednesday. Travellers can bring their laptops on board.
Bank of America has named Dublin as its new EU HQ depending on the outcome of the Brexit negotiations. The bank already has a large number of staff in the country and the necessary banking licences. Other major banks have made similar contingency plans with Citigroup and Morgan Stanley both planning on choosing Frankfurt, the German financial centre. Goldman Sachs International Chief Executive Richard Gnodde meanwhile has urged Britain to sign a transitional deal with the EU to bring greater certainty. The FTSE 100 is down 34.96 points.
Positive outlook for Greece
Standard and Poor’s, a rating agency, has improved their outlook on Greece from stable to positive based on the budget cuts and other reforms that have been made. The country is still wracked by high unemployment and low wages. Greece is issuing its first bond since 2014.
US travel ban to North Korea
The US State Department announced that it was preparing a travel ban for US citizens to North Korea. The ban will be announced next week and go into force 30 days after that. Recently an American visitor to the country was returned to the US in a coma and died shortly after his arrival. He had been imprisoned for accusations that he defaced a poster in his hotel.
Record UK flights
Over 8,800 flights will pass through UK airspace on Friday, making it the busiest day in UK commercial aviation history. The country’s air traffic controllers will have to handle more than 770,000 flights in the UK this summer, over 40,000 more than last year.
Toronto house prices down
Toronto house prices are down 17.4% from their peak, but still up 7.4% from last year according to the Financial Post. The falling prices could cause Ottawa to rethink their regulation tightening legislation. It will also inform the Bank of Canada’s next decision about whether or not to raise rates.
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