Every week at the current we bring you the world’s biggest business stories. This week: the yuan becomes an IMF reserve currency, Iran opens up to investors, borrowing costs inch up, tuition fees on the rise, Black Friday is over but Cyber Monday is tomorrow, a Chinese billionaire gets frequent flyer miles, Canadian company’s cannabis coffee concoction.
The yuan and only
The IMF is expected to announce on Monday that the Chinese yuan will become a reserve currency. Currently only the US dollar, the euro, the British pound and the Japanese yen are designated as reserve currencies by the IMF. The designation is largely symbolic, but will nevertheless be an important step in legitimising the yuan. Critics have argued that China has been artificially depressing the true value of the yuan in order to boost exports and economic growth. Inclusion by the IMF will keep some – but not all – criticisms at bay.
Iran opens up
Iran is seeking to raise $30 billion of new investment by liberalising rules regarding foreign investment. Foreign investors will now be allowed a greater share of long-term profits. The news was announced in Tehran at a conference with some of the world’s biggest energy companies including Shell, BP and more – although no American companies attended. Iran struck a deal which will limit its ability to obtain or produce nuclear weapons in exchange for the lifting of sanctions. Iran is home to some of the largest oil and natural gas reserves in the world.
Bet your house on it
After dropping to record lows this summer Canadian mortgage rates have started inching upwards. Since the summer five-year fixed-rate mortgages have increased 10 or 15 points (meaning rates would rise, for example, from 2.55% to 2.70%). Bond yields are also up from 0.6% to 0.92%. Overall the cost of borrowing is increasing. This trend is the result of anticipation that the US Fed could soon raise rates, and that other central banks may soon follow suit.
Average tuition fees in Canada have risen by 3% to just over $6 000 for the current school year. Tuition in Newfoundland and Labrador sits at roughly 2 600, almost 2 800 in Quebec and 7 800 in Ontario. Meanwhile the number of PHD graduates has increased over 60% in the last decade, but many are failing to find jobs teaching in their field. The average PHD makes over $60 000 a year, more than their non-PHD peers, but a large proportion continue to make under $50 000 annually.
Store sales this Black Friday fell as more Americans have opted to find deals online. Retail sales fell from $11.6 billion in 2014 to $10.4 billion this year. If you failed to take advantage of the deals this year, remember Cyber Monday is still to come. With online sales increasing Cyber Monday is becoming a bigger occasion for shoppers and more important to retailers.
Liu Yiqian, a Chinese billionaire, will never pay for a plane ticket again. That’s because Liu bought Amedeo Modigliani’s Reclining Nude earlier this month for just over $170 million – and he put it on American Express. Pending approval by American Express, Liu could earn 170 4000 000 Reward points. Liu likely did not make the purchase just for the points. China only allows its citizens to transfer $50 000 out of the country annually. Using American Express could be a way for Liu to avoid this rule.
A Canadian medical marijuana company, Cann Trust, has created a single-serving coffee pod infused with marijuana. Each pod will cost $3-$4 and will be Keurig compatible. The company has said that the addition of cannabis will not affect the taste. As Canada and certain American states legalise cannabis, new marijuana related innovations could hit the market.
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