Every week we bring you the world’s biggest business, currency, and travel stories. This week: Wallonia could scuttle historic trade deal; the Galaxy is grounded; Canadian house prices rise; the Fed came close to raising rates; China has more billionaires than the US; and why you should expect UK inflation.
The landmark CETA trade deal between Canada and the EU has hit yet another snag – one that could prove terminal. The Parliament of Wallonia, Belgium’s French-speaking region, voted against CETA, preventing the country’s national government from signing the deal. Without the approval of all EU countries parliaments, the deal cannot pass. Effectively this means that a small Belgian region with 3.5 million people will decide the fate of a trade deal which affects over 360 million people. CETA would eliminate 98% of the tariffs currently in place between Canada and the EU. If the deal is scuttled at this late stage it could signal that there is little hope for the post-Brexit UK to reach a swift and amicable arrangement with the EU and it may also discourage other countries from investing the time and resources necessary to negotiate trade deals with the EU.
The Hottest New Phone
The US Department of Transportation has banned passengers from bringing Galaxy Note 7 phones onto flights to or from the US. In September, Samsung recalled about 2.5 million of the phones due to an issue causing the batteries to catch fire or explode. The company has now ceased all Galaxy Note 7 production, and has offered full refunds for their phones.
Canadian House Prices Rise
The average cost of a Canadian home rose by 9.5% in September year on year. Home sales nationwide had been on a four month downturn until an increase of 0.8% last month. Sales are still more that 5% lower than the all-time high reached in April. The average Canadian home is now worth $475,590, but factoring out the red hot Toronto and Vancouver property markets, the average price falls by about $100,000 to just $358,884.
Fed Came Close
Although the Fed decided not to increase interest rates in September, minutes of the meeting reveal that it was a close call. A lack of rising wage pressure and inflation remaining below their 2% target ultimately convinced the Fed to keep rates between 0.25% and 0.5%. Economists believe that the close call is further indication that a rates rise is coming before the end of the year.
China’s Rich List
China has more billionaires than the US. According to the latest survey China has 594 billionaires compared to 535 in the US. Wang Jianlin tops the list with a fortune of 32.1 billion. The property magnate has recently also spread into the film industry, taking over Legendary Pictures, and forging deals with Sony Pictures. Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba comes in a close second with a fortune of $30.6 billion. Yao Zhenhua’s wealth increased 820%, representing the largest jump of any person on the list. Yao’s fortune comes from his real estate and investment business, which is representative of China’s changing economy.
Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, has warned that post-Brexit Britain should anticipate a rise in inflation. The GBP’s fall in value will likely mean higher prices for food and other products due to the higher cost of importation.
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