Every week we bring you the world’s biggest business, currency, and travel stories. This week: inflation remains steady in Canada, a new refund takes effect, Pokemon teams up with McDonalds, mixed signals from the Post Brexit UK, and more.
Canada’s new Child Benefit program, an extension of existing policy promised by the Liberals, came into effect last week. Under the new program the average Canadian family will receive an additional $2,300 per year. Most families received the first instalment of the increased payments last week. Critics say that the program will cost as much as $22 billion over the next five years. Supporters argue that the increase is much needed by middle class families and, by putting more cash into the hands of consumers, will boost businesses.
Pokemon GO’s number of downloads surpassed Tinder in a matter of weeks and has even inspired a dedicated dating app of its own. On Friday the game finally launched in its native country, Japan. Less than five hours later it was the most downloaded app in the country. The Japanese launch also served as another milestone in the game’s evolution. McDonald’s partnered with Pokemon for an undisclosed fee. In return 400 Japanese McDonald’s locations will be ‘gyms’ where players will be able to gather. The deal could define how augmented reality games are played in the future.
Drop the base(-line interest rates)
Data suggests that, although the stock market has recovered, the economic impact of Brexit is very real. The service and manufacturing sectors both declined. Exports did increase thanks to the diminished pound, but about ¼ of British exports themselve contain imported components. Optimism is also on the decline. Overall the effects on the ‘real’ economy could prompt Canadian born Bank of England Governor Mark Carney to drop interest rates – which would depress the pound further.
Hope on the Horizon?
Despite mounting economic concerns there are some positives in post Brexit Britain. Chancellor Philip Hammond is in discussions with China for what could be one of the largest free trade deals in history. Similar talks with Australia were also discussed last week. Negotiations with China, Australia, or indeed any other country will only be able to progress so far until Britain formally withdraws from the EU.
No Visa, No cry
Walmart has followed through on its threat to stop accepting Visa cards. Three Walmart stores in Thunder Bay phased out Visa payments, and according to the retail giant the policy will be applied throughout the rest of Canada. Walmart claims that Visa’s fees are too high, but Visa is unwilling to bend.
Waiting Elon time
Elon Musk has revealed the next steps in his so called ‘master plan’. Tesla intends to expand to heavy trucks, and add solar panels to its electric vehicles. The company has already transitioned from a luxury car brand to creating a more affordable model so commercial vehicles seems like a logical step. Similarly Tesla successfully expanded its network of charging stations and adding solar panels could be the best way to extend the vehicle’s range.
Inflation in Canada remained flat at 1.5% in May and June. Food prices fell from an inflation rate of 1.8% to 1.3%. Beef prices fell by 3.3% in June, the first decline in the product in almost 6 years. Excluding gasoline inflation would have been around 1.9%.
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