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A closer look at where $82 billion in CERB payments went at the beginning of the pandemic – CBC.ca

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Kelly Ernst recalls standing on sidewalks, waving to needy families in Calgary’s northeast as they opened their doors to pick up food hampers.

Ernst, vice-president for vulnerable populations at Calgary’s Centre for Newcomers, said the memory speaks to how COVID-19 hurt the community, socially and economically.

Ernst said the Skyview Ranch neighbourhood is one of the most diverse in the country, with a high proportion of visible minorities and newcomers. Residents are often employed in precarious retail jobs or in warehouses, Ernst said. Others work at the city’s airport or in the municipal transit system, both of which were also affected by the pandemic.

“Some of the first people to be laid off during the downturn were people in these precarious jobs,” Ernst said, adding many were left looking for “some way to get through this whole thing.”

Almost seven in every 10 residents over age 15 in Skyview Ranch, received the Canada Emergency Response Benefit in the initial month that the pandemic aid was available, one of the highest concentrations among over 1,600 neighbourhoods The Canadian Press analyzed.

Federal data, obtained through the Access to Information Act, provides the most detailed picture yet of where billions of dollars in emergency aid went last year.

The data is broken down by the first three characters of postal codes, known as “forward sortation areas,” to determine the number of active recipients at any time anywhere in the country.

The Canadian Press used population counts from the 2016 census to calculate what percentage of the population over age 15 in each forward sortation area received the CERB in any four-week pay period.

Some forward sortation areas in the data from Employment and Social Development Canada were created after the 2016 census and weren’t included in the analysis.

Initial wave saw a largely rural-urban split

Over its lifespan between late March and October of last year, the CERB paid out nearly $82 billion to 8.9 million people whose incomes crashed because they saw their hours slashed or lost their jobs entirely.

Some three million people lost their jobs in March and April as non-essential businesses were ordered closed, and 2.5 million more worked less than half their usual hours.

The data from Employment and Social Development Canada show that 6.5 million people received the $500-a-week CERB during the first four weeks it was available, or more than one in five Canadians over age 15.

What emerges from that initial wave is a largely rural-urban split, with higher proportions of populations relying on the CERB in cities compared to rural parts of the country.

George Chahal, a city councillor, said Calgary’s northeast has faced a number of challenges. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

Neighbourhoods in Brampton, Ont., on Toronto’s northwest edge, had the largest volume of CERB recipients with postal-code areas averaging over 15,160 recipients per four-week pay period.

CERB usage also appears higher in urban areas that had higher COVID-19 case counts, which was and remains the case in Calgary’s northeast.

“As cities relied more on accommodations, tourism and food as drivers of economic growth, the more they would have been sideswiped by the pandemic, and larger centres have a higher concentration of jobs in these areas,” said David Macdonald, senior economist at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, who has studied the CERB.

“More rural areas of the country and certain cities that have a higher reliance on, say, natural resources wouldn’t have been hit as hard.”

In Skyview Ranch, census data says 12 per cent lived below the poverty line in 2016, and about three in 10 owners and four in 10 renters faced a housing affordability crunch, meaning they spent 30 per cent or more of their incomes on shelter.

Many live in multi-generational households, which the local city councillor said caused additional concerns about students and working adults spreading the virus to grandparents.

“These are real worries and challenges that members of my community have been facing throughout a pandemic,” said Coun. George Chahal.

“The CERB program and the additional support to small businesses was a huge relief for the fear with many folks in my ward.”

The CERB program paid out $500 per week for people whose incomes had fallen to nothing as a result of the pandemic. The federal Liberals amended the program in April to set a monthly income threshold of $1,000.

Ontario town had the highest average number of residents accessing CERB

At the outset, there were 6,520 residents of Skyview Ranch on the CERB, about 69.4 per cent of the population 15 and up.

Then things improved. Businesses reopened and workers were rehired. The decline in the program’s use in Calgary’s northeast mirrored a nationwide drop in recipients overall, even though there were local increases here and there.

In all, there were 4.4 million recipients in the CERB’s second month, the biggest month-to-month change, 3.7 million in the third, and a steady decline to almost 2.3 million recipients by the time the CERB was replaced by a trio of new recovery benefits and a revamped and restarted employment-insurance system.

Over the lifetime of the CERB, the Ontario town of East Gwillimbury had the highest average number of residents accessing the program, at 24 per cent. The town with the lowest percentage was Winkler, Man., at 3.83 per cent.

In Skyview Ranch, the number of recipients in the last month of the CERB stood at 2,440, or about one-quarter of those over age 15.

There is still hardship in Skyview Ranch. The area has seen a spike in COVID-19 cases and incomes have dropped again as restrictions rolled in through December, part of a wider drop in the national labour market.

Chahal said there still is a need in the area for government aid like the federal recovery benefits.

“Maybe not for everybody,” he said, “but there are going to be a lot of folks who are going to be in need of assistance in the upcoming months as we move from this stage of the pandemic (and) into economic recovery.”

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RBC targets net-zero emissions by 2050, commits C$500 billion to sustainable financing

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(Reuters) – Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) aims to achieve net-zero emissions across its lending operations by 2050 and has committed C$500 billion ($400.64 billion) toward its sustainable finance target, Canada‘s top lender said on Thursday.

The move comes at a time when investors have stepped up pressure on major banks and insurers to drop financing and insurance for fossil fuel companies.

RBC said last year it would not directly finance exploration or development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a move mirrored by rival Toronto-Dominion Bank, which also plans to get to net-zero emissions by 2050.

Some of Canada‘s largest banks and insurers are set to participate in a pilot project to better understand the risks to the financial system from the transition to a low-carbon economy.

RBC on Thursday also committed to measuring and reporting financed emissions for key industry sectors from 2022.

The lender said it met its earlier C$100 billion sustainable finance target last year.

($1 = 1.2480 Canadian dollars)

 

(Reporting by Sohini Podder and Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni)

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Asian markets roiled as bond rout turns 'lethal' – Reuters

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SYDNEY (Reuters) – Asian stocks fell by the most in nine months on Friday as a rout in global bond markets sent yields flying and spooked investors amid fears the heavy losses suffered could trigger distressed selling in other assets.

FILE PHOTO: Pedestrians are reflected in an electronic board displaying various stock prices at a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan, February 4, 2016. REUTERS/Yuya Shino

In a sign the gloomy mood will reverberate across markets, European and U.S. stock futures were a sea of red. Eurostoxx 50 futures lost 1.7% while futures for Germany’s DAX and those for London’s FTSE dropped 1.3% each.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slid more than 3% to a one-month low, its steepest one-day percentage loss since May 2020.

For the week the index is down more than 5%, its worst weekly showing since March last year when the coronavirus pandemic had sparked fears of a global recession.

Friday’s carnage was triggered by a whiplash in bonds.

The scale of the sell-off prompted Australia’s central bank to launch a surprise bond buying operation to try and staunch the bleeding.

Yields on the 10-year Treasury note eased back to 1.538% from a one-year high of 1.614%, but were still up a startling 40 basis points for the month in the biggest move since 2016.

“Bond yields could still go higher in the short term though as bond selling begets more bond selling,” said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy at AMP.

“The longer this continues the greater the risk of a more severe correction in share markets if earnings upgrades struggle to keep up with the rise in bond yields.”

Markets were hedging the risk of an earlier rate hike from the Federal Reserve, even though officials this week vowed any move was long in the future.

Fed fund futures are now almost fully priced for a rise to 0.25% by January 2023, while Eurodollars have it discounted for June 2022.

Even the thought of an eventual end to super-cheap money sent shivers through global stock markets, which have been regularly hitting record highs and stretching valuations.

“The fixed income rout is shifting into a more lethal phase for risky assets,” says Damien McColough, Westpac’s head of rates strategy.

“The rise in yields has long been mostly seen as a story of improving growth expectations, if anything padding risky assets, but the overnight move notably included a steep lift in real rates and a bringing forward of Fed lift-off expectations.”

Japan’s Nikkei shed 3.7% and Chinese blue chips joined the retreat with a drop of 2.5%.

EMERGING STRAINS

Overnight, the Dow fell 1.75%, while the S&P 500 lost 2.45% and the Nasdaq 3.52%, the biggest decline in almost four months for the tech-heavy index.

Tech darlings all suffered, with Apple Inc, Tesla Inc, Amazon.com Inc, NVIDIA Corp and Microsoft Corp the biggest drags.

All of that elevated the importance of U.S. personal consumption data due later on Friday, which includes one of the Fed’s favoured inflation measures.

Core inflation is actually expected to dip to 1.4% in January, which could help calm market angst, but any upside surprise would likely accelerate the bond rout.

The surge in Treasury yields also caused ructions in emerging markets, which feared the better returns on offer in the United States might attract funds away.

Currencies favoured for leveraged carry trades all suffered, including the Brazil real, Turkish lira and South African rand.

The flows helped nudge the U.S. dollar up more broadly, with the dollar index rising to 90.371. It also gained on the low-yielding yen, briefly reaching the highest since September at 106.42. The euro eased a touch to $1.2152.

The jump in yields has tarnished gold, which offers no fixed return, and dragged it down to $1,760.8 an ounce from the week’s high around $1,815.

However, analysts at ANZ were more bullish on the outlook.

“We now expect U.S. inflation to hit 2.5% this year,” they said in a note. “Combined with further depreciation in the U.S. dollar, we see gold’s fair value at $2,000/oz in the second half of the year.”

Oil prices dropped on a higher dollar and expectations of more supply.[O/R]

U.S. crude fell 67 cents to $62.86 per barrel and Brent also lost 67 cents to $66.21.

Editing by Sam Holmes

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Asian markets roiled as bond rout turns 'lethal' – Yahoo Finance

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By Wayne Cole and Swati Pandey

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Asian stocks fell by the most in nine months on Friday as a rout in global bond markets sent yields flying and spooked investors amid fears the heavy losses suffered could trigger distressed selling in other assets.

In a sign the gloomy mood will reverberate across markets, European and U.S. stock futures were a sea of red. Eurostoxx 50 futures lost 1.7% while futures for Germany’s DAX and those for London’s FTSE dropped 1.3% each.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slid more than 3% to a one-month low, its steepest one-day percentage loss since May 2020.

For the week the index is down more than 5%, its worst weekly showing since March last year when the coronavirus pandemic had sparked fears of a global recession.

Friday’s carnage was triggered by a whiplash in bonds.

The scale of the sell-off prompted Australia’s central bank to launch a surprise bond buying operation to try and staunch the bleeding.

Yields on the 10-year Treasury note eased back to 1.538% from a one-year high of 1.614%, but were still up a startling 40 basis points for the month in the biggest move since 2016.

“Bond yields could still go higher in the short term though as bond selling begets more bond selling,” said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy at AMP.

“The longer this continues the greater the risk of a more severe correction in share markets if earnings upgrades struggle to keep up with the rise in bond yields.”

Markets were hedging the risk of an earlier rate hike from the Federal Reserve, even though officials this week vowed any move was long in the future.

Fed fund futures are now almost fully priced for a rise to 0.25% by January 2023, while Eurodollars have it discounted for June 2022.

Even the thought of an eventual end to super-cheap money sent shivers through global stock markets, which have been regularly hitting record highs and stretching valuations.

“The fixed income rout is shifting into a more lethal phase for risky assets,” says Damien McColough, Westpac’s head of rates strategy.

“The rise in yields has long been mostly seen as a story of improving growth expectations, if anything padding risky assets, but the overnight move notably included a steep lift in real rates and a bringing forward of Fed lift-off expectations.”

Japan’s Nikkei shed 3.7% and Chinese blue chips joined the retreat with a drop of 2.5%.

EMERGING STRAINS

Overnight, the Dow fell 1.75%, while the S&P 500 lost 2.45% and the Nasdaq 3.52%, the biggest decline in almost four months for the tech-heavy index.

Tech darlings all suffered, with Apple Inc, Tesla Inc, Amazon.com Inc, NVIDIA Corp and Microsoft Corp the biggest drags.

All of that elevated the importance of U.S. personal consumption data due later on Friday, which includes one of the Fed’s favoured inflation measures.

Core inflation is actually expected to dip to 1.4% in January, which could help calm market angst, but any upside surprise would likely accelerate the bond rout.

The surge in Treasury yields also caused ructions in emerging markets, which feared the better returns on offer in the United States might attract funds away.

Currencies favoured for leveraged carry trades all suffered, including the Brazil real, Turkish lira and South African rand.

The flows helped nudge the U.S. dollar up more broadly, with the dollar index rising to 90.371. It also gained on the low-yielding yen, briefly reaching the highest since September at 106.42. The euro eased a touch to $1.2152.

The jump in yields has tarnished gold, which offers no fixed return, and dragged it down to $1,760.8 an ounce from the week’s high around $1,815.

However, analysts at ANZ were more bullish on the outlook.

“We now expect U.S. inflation to hit 2.5% this year,” they said in a note. “Combined with further depreciation in the U.S. dollar, we see gold’s fair value at $2,000/oz in the second half of the year.”

Oil prices dropped on a higher dollar and expectations of more supply.[O/R]

U.S. crude fell 67 cents to $62.86 per barrel and Brent also lost 67 cents to $66.21.

(Editing by Sam Holmes)

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