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Alberta gets new justice, economy ministers in cabinet 'reset' – TheRecord.com

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EDMONTON—Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has announced a “limited reset” of his cabinet to accommodate a renamed portfolio for jobs, the economy and innovation.

But Kenney rebuffed calls by both doctors and the Opposition to move Health Minister Tyler Shandro, who has been in a months long bitter feud with the Alberta Medical Association over physician pay.

Doug Schweitzer, who was justice minister, will head the rebranded Jobs, Economy and Innovation department.

“This effectively takes the Economic Development, Trade and Tourism portfolio (and) renames it,” Kenney said. “Additional functions will be added to the ministry over the weeks and months that come.

“This is a broadened and expanded ministry.”

Tanya Fir, who headed the original portfolio, has been moved to the backbenches.

Kenney said Schweitzer will work to implement Alberta’s recently launched plan to rejuvenate its faltering economy.

“Alberta is being hit especially hard with the double whammy of the global coronavirus recession, on top of that the collapse of energy prices which has clobbered our largest industry — oil and gas,” Kenney said in front of Government House in Edmonton.

The Conference Board of Canada on Tuesday released a report forecasting Alberta will be the most heavily hit province economically this year with an 11 per contraction in its GDP.

Kaycee Madu, a lawyer who was born in Nigeria, takes over from Schweitzer. Kenney said Madu is the first Black justice minister in Canada and will oversee a crackdown on crime, particularly offences against property; review the Police Act; and introduce legislation this fall that would allow citizen-initiated referendums.

Alberta NDP Finance critic Shannon Phillips said the economy was struggling before COVID-19 hit and the Kenney government has done little to jump-start it. Putting Schweitzer in place isn’t going to fix anything, she said.

“What we see here is maybe a refurbishing. The economic development ministry, perhaps putting a new salesman in charge,” Phillips said.

“Let’s be clear. This is not about a sales pitch. This is not about public relations. This is about the real conditions of people’s lives and the real struggles that Albertans are facing right now.”

Backbencher Tracy Allard, a businesswoman and member of the legislature for Grande Prairie, enters cabinet as Madu’s replacement at municipal affairs. Kenney said she “personifies the entrepreneurial culture of Alberta.”

He said it will be her job to help municipalities get through the COVID crisis and to stop them from raising taxes at a time when every aspect of the economy has been hard hit. He is also tasking her with developing “fiscal report cards” for municipalities to gauge how they are doing and to compare them with other municipalities across the country.

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Shandro has been in an open battle with doctors after he government tore up their original fee agreement in February. Many doctors, particularly in rural areas, said they could no longer afford to both work in hospitals and keep up their practices. The medical association said earlier this year that its members had lost confidence in the minister.

But Kenney said Shandro has the premier’s full support.

Kenney said the cabinet shuffle ensures that “we have the right people in the right place as we ensure a strong recovery from the COVID recession.”

Phillips said it’s not a surprise that Shandro wasn’t moved.

“It is the goal of the premier’s office and the government to create chaos within the public health-care system and so in that respect Mr. Shandro is doing exactly the job that the premier has set out for him,” she said.

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India's central bank to keep rates on hold, provide economic forecasts – The Journal Pioneer

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By Swati Bhat

MUMBAI (Reuters) – The Reserve Bank of India is expected to keep key rates unchanged this week, but may for the first time since February provide guidance on how the economy is performing amid the coronavirus pandemic.

All 66 respondents in a Reuters poll expect the repo rate to remain unchanged at 4.0% after its policy review on Thursday, and a large majority see no cuts until the January-March quarter. The RBI will then likely stay on hold until the end of 2021.

The central bank must manage high retail inflation while keeping policy accommodative to support an economy which nosedived 23.9% last quarter, the weakest performance on record.

It has so far slashed rates by 115 basis points in response to the COVID-19 pandemic since late March.

“India’s inflation-constrained central bank is unlikely to deliver a rate cut, and we expect all policy rates to stay unchanged,” said Rahul Bajoria, economist with Barclays adding that the RBI will however provide economic projections.

India is gradually reopening its economy from a lockdown but economic activity remains depressed as coronavirus cases top six million, the second-highest globally.

The South Asian country was already facing a cyclical downturn before the pandemic struck and is now expected to mark its first full-year contraction since 1979 this year as millions are left unemployed in the world’s second-most populous country.

The RBI has so far refrained from providing any forecasts on growth or inflation due to the heightened uncertainty and risk of projections having to be revised frequently.

However, the central bank is required by law to provide economic forecasts once every six months.

“Data projections from the central bank will be critical, as it would lay out the RBI’s assessment of the extent of the current slowdown and the medium-term implications of the current crisis,” Bajoria said.

The RBI has maintained that it sees the current rise in inflation as transitional and expects to see prices come down, giving it room to reduce rates to support growth.

August inflation, at 6.69%, held above the top end of the RBI’s medium-term target range of 2-6% for the fifth consecutive month amid supply disruptions.

(Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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Economy Week Ahead: Factories, Consumer Spending and Employment – The Wall Street Journal

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The Grove retail and entertainment complex in Los Angeles drew shoppers as restrictions on gatherings have eased.

Photo: valerie macon/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

The U.S. jobs report for September highlights a week of data that will show how economies are recovering from coronavirus-induced recessions and from continued disruptions related to the pandemic.

Wednesday

China’s official purchasing managers index for manufacturing is expected to show factory activity expanded for the seventh straight month in September. Economists said manufacturers have sped up production to avoid shipment delays in the event buyers experience a return of Covid-19 this winter.

Thursday

The
Bank of Japan’s
tankan corporate sentiment survey for the third quarter is expected to improve, reflecting a gradual resumption of economic activity. In the second quarter, sentiment among Japan’s large manufacturers deteriorated to its lowest level in 11 years and even a significant gain will still show that more companies say business conditions are unfavorable than favorable.

The number of workers covered by Europe’s furlough schemes has been declining since lockdowns were eased, but without causing a surge in the number of people without jobs. That trend likely continued in August, with figures released by the European Union’s statistics agency expected to show that the jobless rate rose to 8.1% from 7.9% in July.

U.S. jobless claims have steadied at an elevated level in recent weeks, suggesting a slowdown in the labor market’s recovery. Economists expect only a slight decline in the number of applications for unemployment benefits during the week ended Sept. 26, underscoring continued labor-market disruption and a historically high number of layoffs.

U.S. consumer spending is expected to post another monthly increase in August, though at a slower pace than recent months. That would likely reflect several trends, including a partial rebound in employment, the expiration of some federal government benefits tied to the pandemic, and strong demand for many goods alongside a weaker recovery in the service sector.

The Institute for Supply Management’s September purchasing managers index for manufacturing is likely to reflect a strong rebound in factory activity amid a slow global recovery and strong domestic demand for autos, electronics and other goods.

Friday

Consumer prices in the eurozone were lower than they were a year earlier in August, and figures to be released by the European Union’s statistics agency are expected to show that they remained so in September, increasing the likelihood that the European Central Bank will have to provide further stimulus if it is to meet its inflation target.

U.S. nonfarm payrolls are expected to post another strong gain and the unemployment rate to decline in September as more businesses recall workers. But the pace of hiring might have slowed and the overall level of employment will likely remain millions of jobs short of pre-pandemic levels, underscoring the severe damage from the pandemic and the long road to full recovery.

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Economy

Economy Week Ahead: Factories, Consumer Spending and Employment – Wall Street Journal

Published

on


The Grove retail and entertainment complex in Los Angeles drew shoppers as restrictions on gatherings have eased.

The Grove retail and entertainment complex in Los Angeles drew shoppers as restrictions on gatherings have eased.

Photo: valerie macon/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

The U.S. jobs report for September highlights a week of data that will show how economies are recovering from coronavirus-induced recessions and from continued disruptions related to the pandemic.

Wednesday

China’s official purchasing managers index for manufacturing is expected to show factory activity expanded for the seventh straight month in September. Economists said manufacturers have sped up production to avoid shipment delays in the event buyers experience a return of Covid-19 this winter.

Thursday

The
Bank of Japan’s
tankan corporate sentiment survey for the third quarter is expected to improve, reflecting a gradual resumption of economic activity. In the second quarter, sentiment among Japan’s large manufacturers deteriorated to its lowest level in 11 years and even a significant gain will still show that more companies say business conditions are unfavorable than favorable.

The number of workers covered by Europe’s furlough schemes has been declining since lockdowns were eased, but without causing a surge in the number of people without jobs. That trend likely continued in August, with figures released by the European Union’s statistics agency expected to show that the jobless rate rose to 8.1% from 7.9% in July.

U.S. jobless claims have steadied at an elevated level in recent weeks, suggesting a slowdown in the labor market’s recovery. Economists expect only a slight decline in the number of applications for unemployment benefits during the week ended Sept. 26, underscoring continued labor-market disruption and a historically high number of layoffs.

U.S. consumer spending is expected to post another monthly increase in August, though at a slower pace than recent months. That would likely reflect several trends, including a partial rebound in employment, the expiration of some federal government benefits tied to the pandemic, and strong demand for many goods alongside a weaker recovery in the service sector.

The Institute for Supply Management’s September purchasing managers index for manufacturing is likely to reflect a strong rebound in factory activity amid a slow global recovery and strong domestic demand for autos, electronics and other goods.

Friday

Consumer prices in the eurozone were lower than they were a year earlier in August, and figures to be released by the European Union’s statistics agency are expected to show that they remained so in September, increasing the likelihood that the European Central Bank will have to provide further stimulus if it is to meet its inflation target.

U.S. nonfarm payrolls are expected to post another strong gain and the unemployment rate to decline in September as more businesses recall workers. But the pace of hiring might have slowed and the overall level of employment will likely remain millions of jobs short of pre-pandemic levels, underscoring the severe damage from the pandemic and the long road to full recovery.

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