Canada’s jobs engine slows its growth in Feb, but wages reaccelerate
Canada’s labour market held steady in February with employers adding 22,000 jobs, Statistics Canada reported Friday, showing continued resilience despite the Bank of Canada’s efforts to engineer a slowdown.
Consensus expectations from economists surveyed by Bloomberg was for an increase of 10,000 jobs.
“What went up has yet to come down in the case of Canadian employment,” Royce Mendes, managing director and head of macro strategy at Desjardins, said in a client note.
“The data shouldn’t come as a complete surprise given that large increases in the Labour Force Survey are typically followed by at least one more month of solid hiring.”
The Feb. headline number comes after a cumulative 219,000 positions were added in the previous two months.
The Bank of Canada will continue to stress that it may still need to raise interest rates furtherStephen Brown, Capital Economics
The growth was driven by full-time work, and the health care, public administration and utilities sectors saw the biggest gains.
The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.0 per cent, near the record low reached last summer.
Wages jump after two months of easing
Average wage growth reaccelerated to 5.4 per cent year-over-year, after spending two months below the five per cent mark.
The increase in wages adds to evidence “that the labour market is not following the Bank of Canada’s plan for the economy,” Mendes said.
The labour market has been resilient to the Bank of Canada’s ratcheting up of interest rates, and one of the main reasons it has left the door open to more rate hikes if necessary.
“With the low unemployment rate putting upward pressure on wage growth, the Bank of Canada will continue to stress that it may still need to raise interest rates further,” Stephen Brown, deputy chief North America economist at Capital Economics, said in a note.
The central bank paused its tightening campaign this week to assess the impact of higher borrowing costs, saying it expects the job market to weaken in the coming months.
“With weak economic growth for the next couple of quarters, pressures in product and labour markets are expected to ease,” Bank of Canada governor Tiff Macklem said in a written release of its latest interest rate decision Wednesday.
“This should moderate wage growth and also increase competitive pressures, making it more difficult for businesses to pass on higher costs to consumers.”
Despite the February report though, not all economists are convinced another rate hike is on the horizon in Canada.
“The still historically low unemployment rate and strong wage growth will keep the Bank of Canada leaving the door open to future rate hikes, although we still don’t think the data will be strong enough for policymakers to actually walk through that door,” Andrew Grantham, senior economist at CIBC Capital Markets, says.
Michelle Zadikian is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow her on Twitter @m_zadikian.
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First Citizens acquires troubled Silicon Valley Bank – CP24
North Carolina-based First Citizens will buy Silicon Valley Bank, the tech industry-focused financial institution that collapsed earlier this month, rattling the banking industry and sending shockwaves around the world.
The deal could reassure investors at a time of shaken confidence in banks, though the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and other regulators had already taken extraordinary steps to head off a wider banking crisis by guaranteeing that depositors in SVB and another failed U.S. bank would be able to access all of their money.
Customers of SVB will automatically become customers of First Citizens, which is headquartered in Raleigh. The 17 former branches of SVB will open as First Citizens branches Monday, the FDIC said.
European shares opened higher Monday, with German lender Commerzbank AG up 2.4% and BNP Paribas up 1.2%.
Investors worry that other banks also may crumble under the pressure of higher interest rates. On Friday, much of the focus was on Deutsche Bank, whose stock tumbled 8.5% in Germany, though it was back up about 3.6% in early trading Monday. Earlier this month, shares of and faith in Swiss bank Credit Suisse fell so much that regulators brokered a takeover of by rival UBS.
In the U.S., SVB, based in Santa Clara, California, collapsed March 10 after depositors rushed to withdraw money amid fears about the bank’s health. It was the second-largest bank collapse in U.S. history after the 2008 failure of Washington Mutual. Two days later, New York-based Signature Bank was seized by regulators in the third-largest bank failure in the U.S.
In both cases, the government agreed to cover deposits, even those that exceeded the federally insured limit of $250,000, so depositors were able to access their money.
New York Community Bank agreed to buy a significant chunk of Signature Bank in a $2.7 billion deal a week ago, but the search for a buyer for SVB took longer.
The sale announced late Sunday involves the sale of all deposits and loans of SVB to First-Citizens Bank and Trust Co., the FDIC said.
The acquisition gives the FDIC shares in First Citizens worth $500 million. Both the FDIC and First Citizens will share in losses and the potential recovery on loans included in a loss-share agreement, the FDIC said.
First Citizens Bank was founded in 1898 and says it has more than $100 billion in total assets, with more than 500 branches in 21 states as well as a nationwide bank. It reported net profit of $243 million in the last quarter. It is one of the top 20 U.S. banks and says it is the largest family-controlled bank in the country.
Shoppers Drug Mart moves away from medical cannabis, will send patients to Avicanna – CTV News
Shoppers Drug Mart Inc. is moving away from its medical cannabis distribution business and preparing to transfer patients to a platform run by biopharmaceutical company Avicanna Inc.
The pharmacy chain owned by Loblaw Companies Ltd. announced the shift Tuesday, but did not say what prompted the change or how much money Toronto-based Avicanna is paying for Shoppers to refer patients to its MyMedi.ca platform.
“We are grateful for the trust placed in us by our medical cannabis patients over the past few years, and are confident we’ve found the right partner in Avicanna to continue to support them,” said Jeff Leger, Shoppers’ president, in a statement.
His company will start to send customers to Avicanna’s platform in early May, with all of the patients set to be off-loaded from Shoppers’ medical pot service by the end of July. Customers will be able to place orders on Shoppers’ website through the transition period.
Avicanna said it will offer a similar range of products including various formats, brands and “competitive pricing.” Like Shoppers, its online medical portal will strive to educate customers around harm reduction and provide specialty services for distinct patient groups like veterans.
Shoppers first launched its medical cannabis business in Ontario in January 2019, months after recreational pot was legalized in Canada (medical pot was legalized in Canada in 2001) at a time when many predicted the weed sector would be booming in the coming years.
The sector has instead struggled with profitability and as high numbers of recreational cannabis shops cluster in several cities, many retailers and licensed producers have had to drop their prices to stay competitive.
However, Shoppers said it racked up tens of thousands of patients in its four years of existence, providing them with access to cannabis from more than 30 brands including Aphria Inc., Hexo Corp.’s Redecan and the Green Organic Dutchman.
Shoppers’ medical cannabis patients were required to obtain a prescription from a licensed health care provider such as a doctor to begin ordering pot from the company, which shipped orders to their homes.
But the company was unhappy with how medical pot regulations limited its model. Shoppers claimed Tuesday that medical cannabis remains the only medication that is not dispensed in pharmacies.
“As we move away from medical cannabis distribution, we remain firm in our belief that this medication should be dispensed in pharmacies like all others and will continue our advocacy to that end,” said Leger.
Avicanna’s statement did not outline its feelings on the matters, but its chief executive said it was “motivated” to “put our full efforts toward advancing medical cannabis and its incorporation into the standard of care.”
“We are thankful to be selected as the partner for this transition and look forward to introducing MyMedi.ca, supporting patients and providing them with continuity of care,” said Avicanna chief executive Aras Azadian in a statement.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 28, 2023
US charges Sam Bankman-Fried with bribing Chinese officials – The Guardian
US prosecutors on Tuesday unveiled a new indictment against Sam Bankman-Fried, accusing the founder of now-bankrupt FTX cryptocurrency exchange of conspiring to bribe Chinese government officials with $40m worth of payments.
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan charged Bankman-Fried with directing the payment in order to unfreeze accounts belonging to his hedge fund, Alameda Research, that Chinese authorities had frozen. The accounts held more than $1bn of cryptocurrency, US prosecutors said.
The accounts were unfrozen after the bribe payment was transferred around November 2021 from Alameda’s main trading account to a private cryptocurrency wallet, according to the new indictment.
After the accounts were unfrozen, Bankman-Fried authorized a transfer of tens of millions of dollars of additional cryptocurrency to complete the bribe, prosecutors said.
The new charge increases the pressure on the 31-year-old former billionaire, who had previously pleaded not guilty to eight counts over the collapse of FTX. Prosecutors say Bankman-Fried stole billions of dollars in customer funds to plug Alameda losses.
Lawyers for Bankman-Fried did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Bankman-Fried has acknowledged inadequate risk management at FTX, but has denied stealing money.
China’s foreign ministry could not immediately be reached after normal business hours in Beijing.
District judge Lewis Kaplan scheduled a court hearing for Thursday after prosecutors asked for Bankman-Fried to be arraigned on the new 13-count indictment.
Prosecutors last month unveiled four new counts against Bankman-Fried, accusing him of orchestrating an illegal campaign donation scheme to buy influence in Washington DC. He has not yet been arraigned on the new charges.
The new count accuses Bankman-Fried of conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), which makes it illegal for US citizens to bribe foreign government officials to win business.
Bankman-Fried is currently confined to his parents’ Palo Alto, California, home on $250m bond ahead of his 2 October trial.
On Monday, his lawyers and prosecutors reached a new agreement on revised bail conditions, after Kaplan raised the prospect of sending Bankman-Fried to jail pending trial. That came after prosecutors raised concerns he may have been tampering with witnesses.
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