Every week we round up the biggest stories in business, finance and currency. This week: Cirque du Soleil is sold, China eases restrictions, Chinese manufacturing is up, British manufacturing is down, GM cuts jobs in Oshawa, Comcast battles regulators, Google enters the wireless market, the euro resurges but Greek woes continue, and Tesla seeks to revolutionize home energy consumption.
Cirque du Soleil
A Chinese consortium has bought Cirque du Soleil. The groundbreaking Canadian circus from Quebec redefined acrobatics and has thrilled audiences around the world. Fosun, the company that orchestrated the deal, has been working to develop the Cirque du Soleil brand in China and has also bought Club Med and Thomas Cook in order to tap into the leisure market for the growing Chinese middle class.
China eases bank restrictions
The Peoples Bank of China has eased banking restrictions by lowering the minimum amount of funds banks must set aside as a reserve by 1%. The move follows news that China’s growth is at its lowest level since 2009 and should increase lending and investment. Meanwhile the country’s manufacturing sector has stabilized after two months of contraction.
American mass media company Comcast has met with the Justice Department in order to try and convince the government agency to give the green light to a proposed $45 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable.
UK struggles, sterling falls
The UK’s manufacturing sector has slumped sharply from 54 on the monthly Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) to 51 in April. A weak US dollar and struggling euro have hurt British manufacturers who are struggling to keep their prices competitive. The sterling this week dropped in value by nearly 1.5% which may be welcomed by British exporters and tourists alike.
Tesla’s Home Battery
Tesla motors finally officially unveiled their highly anticipated home battery which investors hope will expand the company into new markets and environmentalists hope will usher in a greener future. Elon Musk’s cutting edge company hopes to start shipping its product this year and hopes the innovative technology will revolutionize energy consumption around the world.
GM cuts 1000 jobs
One week after Toyota announced that Corolla production will be moved from Ontario to Mexico, GM has cut 1000 jobs from its Oshawa plant. GM’s move comes despite a recent decision to invest $5.4 billion in upgrading American plants. CAW (the Canadian Auto Workers) has voiced concerns that the Oshawa plant might be phased out altogether in the coming years. Representatives from GM, meanwhile, have reserved any decision on future investment in the plant until 2016. It was hoped by many in the manufacturing and export oriented sectors that the loonie’s low exchange rate could incentivise investment from south of the border.
Google announced the launch of its new wireless service. Experts suggest, and customers hope, that the internet giants innovative approach could increase competition and lower prices. In Google’s new scheme phone and text services will cost $20 plus an additional $10 per gig of data, but unlike most plans customers will be refunded for any data they don’t use. No word yet when or if the new service will become available in Canada.
Euro resurgence, Greek uncertainty
The euro has hit its largest weekly gain against the US dollar in six weeks. Some analysts have suggested that the euro has been oversold amidst concerns about the single currency’s future over the last nine months. Europe’s economy seems to be improving and whispers of an economic recovery are growing louder despite some dissenting opinions. Yet the likelihood of a Grexit (a Greece exit from the Eurozone) seems higher than ever.
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