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Coronavirus pandemic in the US – CNN International

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Montana Governor Steve Bullock speaks in Altoona, Iowa on October 13, 2019 Scott Olson/Getty Images

Montana’s stay-at-home order will be lifted Sunday, as part of a gradual and phased reopening of the state, Gov. Steve Bullock tweeted today.

His phase one measures outlined in a statement include giving local school districts the option to return to in-classroom learning beginning May 7.

Places of worship can become operational on April 26 in a manner consistent with social distancing between people who are not members of the same household.

Main street and retail businesses can become operational on or after April 27 if they can adhere to requirements to limit capacity and maintain strict physical distancing. Employers are directed to develop policies to keep employees and customers safe including teleworking when possible, enforcing social distancing protocols, and other measures.

Restaurants, bars, breweries, and distilleries can begin providing some in-establishment services beginning May 4.

Businesses where groups gather without the ability to social distance including movie theaters, gyms, and other places of assembly will remain closed.

Montana’s travel quarantine will remain in effect.

“Our new normal is going to look different. This virus isn’t gone from Montana. So as we turn to support our main street businesses and get more families back to work during this time – as we should – we must also be sure to continue looking out for those around us and protecting everyone around us,” Bullock said. 

“Once we begin to reopen, we want to be able to stay open. Our personal responsibility to protect those around us – particularly those most vulnerable – remains just as important as any time during this pandemic.”

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Economy

U.S., Mexico, Canada to hold ‘robust’ talks on trade deal

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The United States, Mexico and Canada will next week hold their first formal talks on their continental trade deal, with particular focus on labor and environmental obligations, the U.S. government said on Friday.

Trade ministers from the three nations are set to meet virtually on Monday and Tuesday to discuss the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) deal, which took effect in July 2020.

“The ministers will receive updates about work already underway to advance cooperation … and will hold robust discussions about USMCA’s landmark labor and environmental obligations,” the office of U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said in a statement.

The United States is also reviewing tariffs which may be leading to inflation in the country, economic adviser Cecilia Rouse told reporters at the White House on Friday, a move that could affect hundreds of billions of dollars in trade.

The United States, testing provisions in the new deal aimed at strengthening Mexican unions, this week asked Mexico to investigate alleged abuses at a General Motors Co factory.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Jonathan Oatis)

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Economy

The Toronto Stock Exchange rises 0.15% to 19,135.81

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Toronto Stock Exchange

* The Toronto Stock Exchange’s TSX rises 0.15 percent to 19,135.81

* Leading the index were Canadian Tire Corporation Ltd <CTCa.TO​>, up 10.6%, WSP Global Inc​, up 9.2%, and Sunopta Inc​, higher by 7.5%.

* Lagging shares were Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd​​, down 18.5%, AcuityAds Holdings Inc​, down 17.0%, and Pan American Silver Corp​, lower by 10.3%.

* On the TSX 125 issues rose and 97 fell as a 1.3-to-1 ratio favored advancers. There were 12 new highs and 2 new lows, with total volume of 239.1 million shares.

* The most heavily traded shares by volume were Enbridge Inc, Manulife Financial Corp and Suncor Energy Inc.

* The TSX’s energy group fell 2.80 points, or 2.2%, while the financials sector climbed 4.42 points, or 1.3%.

* West Texas Intermediate crude futures fell 3.47%, or $2.29, to $63.79 a barrel. Brent crude  fell 3.32%, or $2.3, to $67.02 [O/R]

* The TSX is up 9.8% for the year.

This summary was machine generated May 13 at 21:03 GMT.

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Economy

Rising Canadian Dollar could hit export outlook, affect monetary policy

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If the buoyant Canadian dollar continues to rise it could create headwinds for exports and business investment as well as affecting monetary policy, Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem said on Thursday.

The currency has jumped about 4% since the central bank updated its projections in April, driven by surging commodity prices. Canada is a major exporter of energy, lumber, minerals and agricultural products. It hit a six-year high on Wednesday.

“We’ve highlighted that a stronger dollar does create some risk,” Macklem told reporters after a speech to university students in his most detailed comments yet about the potential drawbacks of a more muscular currency.

“If it moves a lot further, that could have a material impact on our outlook and it is something we have to take into account in our setting of monetary policy.”

Further gains could drag down export projections. “If we’re less competitive, our export profile is weaker, that also probably means that our investment profile will be weaker,” he said.

The Canadian dollar was trading 0.4% lower at 1.2180 to the greenback, or 82.10 U.S. cents, pressured by a sharp decline in oil prices.

Macklem earlier said that some of the monetary policy tools the bank is using to address the COVID-19 pandemic, such as quantitative easing (QE), could widen wealth inequality and that it was looking closely at the issue.

While the QE program has stimulated demand and helped create jobs, it was is boosting wealth by inflating the value of assets that “aren’t distributed evenly across society”, he said.

The bank had been buying C$4 billion ($3.3 billion) of government bonds a week but last month cut that to C$3 billion, becoming the first major central bank to trim a pandemic-era money-printing stimulus program.

It also signaled it could start lifting interest rates in late 2022, as it hiked the outlook for the Canadian economy.

Macklem reiterated Thursday that the benchmark rate would stay at its current record low 0.25% until inflation was sustainably at the 2% target. The bank, he added, would continue to use monetary policy tools to support a “complete recovery.”

(Additional reporting by Fergal Smith in Toronto; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and John Stonestreet)

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