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Canadian Dollar gains for fifth straight day

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Canadian dollar

By Fergal Smith

TORONTO (Reuters) – The Canadian dollar strengthened to a three-year high against its U.S. counterpart on Thursday as oil prices climbed and investors adjusted to more hawkish messaging from the Bank of Canada compared to the Federal Reserve.

The loonie was trading 0.3% higher at 1.2280 to the greenback, or 81.43 U.S. cents, extending a string of gains since last Friday and the biggest gain among G10 currencies.

It touched its strongest level since February 2018 at 1.2278.

Reaction to central bank guidance and higher oil prices are “two forces really working in favor of the Canadian dollar for now,” said Bipan Rai, North America head of FX strategy at CIBC Capital Markets.

Rai expects the currency to strengthen further to the 1.2050 area in the near term but was less bullish on its longer term outlook.

The Bank of Canada last week signaled it could start hiking rates from record lows in late 2022 and cut the pace of its bond purchases.

Canada‘s GDP report for February is due on Tuesday which could offer further clues on the central bank’s policy outlook.

In contrast, the Federal Reserve on Wednesday said it was too early to consider rolling back emergency support for the economy, pressuring the U.S. dollar.

The price of oil, one of Canada‘s major exports, settled 1.8% higher at $65.01 a barrel as strong U.S. economic data offset concerns about the impact of higher COVID-19 cases in Brazil and India.

Canadian government bond yields were higher across a steeper curve. The 10-year touched its highest since March 30 at 1.611% before dipping to 1.572%, up 3.9 basis points on the day.

 

(Reporting by Fergal Smith, Editing by Nick Zieminski and Chizu Nomiyama)

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UAE Says It's Unwinding Pandemic Stimulus as Economy Recovers – Bloomberg

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The United Arab Emirates has begun winding down an economic support program launched in response to the coronavirus pandemic as the economy shows signs of gradual recovery, the central bank said in a statement.

The reduced reserve requirements for banks won’t change for now and neither will the lower loan-to-value ratio required for first-time home buyers seeking mortgage loans, the bank said. The loan deferral component of the Targeted Economic Support Scheme will expire by the end of 2021 with financial institutions able to carry on tapping a collateralized 50-billion-dirham ($13.6 billion) liquidity facility until the middle of 2022, in line with earlier guidance.

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The Caregiving Economy – The Atlantic

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Care work has long been indispensable and invaluable. Indispensable: It is the work that makes all other work possible. Invaluable, quite literally: Our society is incapable of valuing it properly.

The sector of the American economy devoted to care—of children and the elderly and people with disabilities—is valued at $648 billion. That’s larger than the U.S. pharmaceutical industry. And yet most individual caregivers are criminally underpaid. That’s because caregiving is viewed either as a “labor of love,” in which case it can never be priced without destroying its essence, or as a service so basic that anyone can do it, in which case it is priced lower than dog walking or waitressing.

Recognizing the true value and potential of care, socially as well as economically, depends on a different understanding of what care actually is: not a service but a relationship that depends on human connection. It is the essence of what Jamie Merisotis, the president of the nonprofit Lumina Foundation, calls “human work”: the “work only people can do.” This makes it all the more essential in an age when workers face the threat of being replaced by machines.

When we use the word in an economic sense, care is a bundle of services: feeding, dressing, bathing, toileting, and assisting. Robots could perform all of those functions; in countries such as Japan, sometimes they already do. But that work is best described as caretaking, comparable to what the caretaker of a property provides by watering a garden or fixing a gate.

What transforms those services into caregiving, the support we want for ourselves and for those we love, is the existence of a relationship between the person providing care and the person being cared for. Not just any relationship, but one that is affectionate, or at least considerate and respectful. Most human beings cannot thrive without connection to others, a point underlined by the depression and declining mental capacities of many seniors who have been isolated during the pandemic.

The best care goes further. The goal is not simply to provide comfort or sustenance, but to enable and empower, to develop or maintain the capabilities of another human being. All parents or other caregivers of young children, for instance, know that bath time, mealtime, or even time on the changing table is scaffolding for talking, playing, or teaching: igniting young minds and shaping young brains. At the other end of life, good care consists of enabling an older person to have what the doctor and writer Atul Gawande calls his or her “best possible day”—the best day possible under the circumstances of a particular illness or condition.

Extend the idea of developing or maintaining human abilities beyond childhood and old age, and an entire vista of care jobs opens up. Call it the “care-plus economy.” It is generating all sorts of new jobs. Coaching, for instance, is a rapidly expanding career category, and not just on sports fields. There are life coaches, career coaches, and health and education coaches who guide people through social services. These are all jobs that enable others to perform at their best.

Education is a care-plus job. Lelac Almagor, a fourth-grade teacher, wrote in an essay for The New York Times, “I’m not ashamed to say that child care is at the heart of the work I do. I teach children reading and writing, yes, but I also watch over them, remind them to be kind and stay safe, plan games and activities to help them grow.”

The number of community health workers, a job category pioneered in poorer countries, is increasing in the United States. The jobs have different titles, but their core function is to connect people to the health system. The Baltimore Health Corps, for example, tackled both the health and economic crises created by the pandemic by hiring nearly 300 unemployed or furloughed community members as contact tracers, care coordinators, or administrative staff.

Academic advisers once confined their role to signing off on students’ course selections, but today they have become crucial to keeping students in college and helping them make the most of their experience. Technology has made a big difference, as it will in other care-plus jobs. In explaining Georgia State University’s successful retention of  first-generation college students, Vice Provost Timothy Renick points to advising powered by predictive analytics. By monitoring students closely, the advising office gains information about when they are most likely to be discouraged and think about dropping out, and hence when personal interventions can be most effective.

The next frontier of the care-plus economy will be an explosion of mental-health jobs. Traditional therapy with a high price tag cannot meet Americans’ needs. But peer counselors, behavioral-health coaches, and technology-enabled support systems are filling the gap. Crisis Text Line, for instance, analyzes data to learn when depressed people are most likely to act on suicidal thoughts and how best to stop them.

One of us, Hilary, has worked in Britain to expand caregiving networks. In 2007 she co-designed a program called Circle, which is part social club, part concierge service. Members pay a small monthly fee, and in return get access to fun activities and practical support from members and helpers in the community. More than 10,000 people have participated, and evaluations show that members feel less lonely and more capable. The program has also reduced the money spent on formal services; Circle members are less likely, for example, to be readmitted to the hospital.

The mutual-aid societies that mushroomed into existence across the United States during the pandemic reflect the same philosophy. The core of a mutual-aid network is the principle of “solidarity not charity”: a group of community members coming together on an equal basis for the common good. These societies draw on a long tradition of “collective care” developed by African American, Indigenous, and immigrant groups as far back as the 18th century.

President Joe Biden has proposed spending $400 billion on home- and community-based care. Such support is crucial not only for the people being cared for, but for the professionals who provide that care—overwhelmingly Black and brown women, many of whom work for below minimum wage and receive few if any benefits. Suppose, however, that these workers were part of a new social sector based on community care, in which government and nonprofit organizations partnered to feed, house, treat, educate, or employ community members in part by embedding them in networks that would meet their needs in the round. Creating this sector will require not only a mix of government, private, and philanthropic funding, but also a new social contract about what we owe one another and what we should expect from the government.

Care jobs help humans flourish, and, properly understood and compensated, they can power a growing sector of the economy, strengthen our society, and increase our well-being. Goods are things that people buy and own; services are functions that people pay for. Relationships require two people and a connection between them. We don’t really have an economic category for that, but we should.

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What does a low carbon economy mean for US workers? – Wake Forest News

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The United Nations General Assembly will be debating issues of global concern this week. At the top of the list is climate change. Along with companies, cities and financial institutions, more than 130 countries have now set, or are considering a target date for, achieving a balance between the greenhouse gases put into the atmosphere and those taken out (net zero) by mid-century.

Arguments for and against will hinge in part on the potential economic effects of such a commitment. Wake Forest economics professor Mark Curtis researches the balance between green jobs and lost jobs – looking at the implications for U.S. workers in a low carbon economy. He recently received a grant from the Washington Center for Equitable Growth.

What do Americans fear most about carbon emissions goals?
Confronting climate change will require a dramatic shift in large portions of the U.S. economy. Manufacturing and mining, two carbon-intensive sectors, have long been good, middle-class jobs in communities nationwide. In order to meet a net-zero goal for carbon emissions, these jobs will shrink. Fears among workers and the communities that rely on these jobs are not unjustified.

Is this kind of job loss in large sectors of the economy cause for concern?
Reductions in carbon-intensive industries are only one side of the coin in addressing climate change. While many industries may shrink, investment in green and renewable industries may create new opportunities for workers throughout the country. 

Taking this global concern to the local level, what do you see ahead for North Carolina?
North Carolina has been a leader in renewable energy but needs a continued focus on creating a business environment that encourages entrepreneurship and investment in a wide range of green industries. Industries reliant on fossil fuels will need to transition, and North Carolina should ensure that workers can benefit as this transition occurs. 

What is your next step as a researcher?
There is almost no economic research exploring whether and how green jobs will benefit workers and their communities. Leveraging job-posting data will estimate the long-run benefits that workers accrue as a result of green technology investments. It can also tell us which types of workers benefit and which do not. The funding from the Washington Center for Equitable Growth will help support research to estimate the effects of an increase in green jobs on local economic outcomes such as the employment rate, poverty rate and average incomes.

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