Every week we bring you the world’s biggest currency, travel, and business stories. This week: WestJet and cyclists, EU roaming, oil prices, Toronto housing, Greek bailout, British Airways strike, and Amazon is hungry.
WestJet Bumps Cyclists
In the latest airline horror story (and there have been more than a few over the last couple of months) Canadian airline WestJet booted the Nova Scotia provincial cycling team from their flight to Atlanta. WestJet is currently airing TV ads boasting that it never overbooks flights, but the cycling team’s experience suggests otherwise. WestJet insists it did not deliberately overbook but had to switch to a smaller plane to deal with inclement weather. The cycling team’s trip cost $14,000 in total and they are planning on suing the airline. (CBC).
Roam away from home
The European Union will no longer allow mobile phone companies to charge roaming fees. Now anyone will be able to use any EU mobile phone on any mobile network across the 28 EU member countries. The move follows many years of negotiations and will only apply to EU phones, but it is a strong statement of European solidarity and of the EU’s commitment to improve the lives of EU citizens.
If you are just visiting the EU then unfortunately you will still have to pay roaming charges, but for longer visits it may be worth buying a pay as you go plan. (CBC).
Oil to reach $90 by 2020
In a recent article by the Financial Post Jean-Guy Desjardins of Fiera Capital Corp has predicted that oil prices will rise to US$90 by 2020, higher than the latest Bloomberg prediction of just US$65. The Canadian dollar is closely linked to oil prices and has been low since prices fell in 2014 due to overproduction and reduced demand. An increase to US$90 could pull the loonie back up.
Toronto house prices
The number of sales to new listings in Toronto has hit its lowest point since 2008, dropping 48% in May according to the Canadian Real Estate Association. The fall is down to reduced demand which could also result in a modest price decrease. Still, even with the decline last month, prices still rose by just over 1%. The Bank of Canada does not believe that prices will collapse, but does warn that some slowdown is inevitable. (Financial Post)
The Greek bailout continues as the latest EUR 8.5 billion tranche is released to the country subject to approval from some EU countries. The payment is vital in order for Greece to repay previous loans and thus avoid a credit crisis. In 2010 the country received EUR 100 billion, followed by EUR 130 billion in 2012, and EUR 86 billion in 2015. Still, unemployment remains at over 22%, half of people under 25 are unemployed, and the minimum monthly wage has fallen from EUR 863 to EUR 684. Healthcare spending has been almost cut in half and education by a fifth.
In exchange for the latest payments Greece must continue to implement reforms mandated by the EU and IMF. Fears that Greece could leave the EU have also been alleviated, but considering the high unemployment, loss of vital government spending, and falling wages many Greeks may wonder if it is worth it. Greece remains a large uncertainty hanging over the EU, eurozone, and euro, but the latest deal should bring added security in euro’s exchange rate.
British Airways cabin crew are poised to strike for two weeks beginning the first of July. The Unite union which represents the crew members claims that the airline is deliberately withholding the benefits and bonuses of crew members who took part in a previous strike. (BBC)
Amazon buys Whole Foods
Amazon is set to buy Whole Foods for $13.7 billion. The deal represents the online retailer’s latest foray into brick and mortar stores. Whole Foods has expanded to nearly 500 stores across Canada, the US, and UK but has also experienced faltering sales recently.
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