Film industry brings almost $24 million to Okanagan economy in 2019 - Kelowna Capital News - Canada News Media
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Film industry brings almost $24 million to Okanagan economy in 2019 – Kelowna Capital News

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The good times just keep on rolling for film production in the Okanagan.

More than 30 film productions helped to bring in almost $24 million to the Okanagan economy in 2019, according to the Okanagan Film Commission (OFC).

Major film investments included over $3.8 million from “The Last Victim”, almost $2.2 million from “Alice In Wonderland” and almost $1.9 million from “Chained”.

READ MORE: Okanagan film industry brings in $32 million

“The Okanagan, Boundary, and Similkameen Valleys have a proven track record for providing exceptional value for the producers’ dollar,” said the report.

“We have the talent, energy, and heart to meet most production needs and the tools that will help bring it in on time and on budget.”

To calculate the total investment amount, the commission tracked production, labour, accommodation and supplier costs spent in the Okanagan by filmmakers over the last year.

The report also provided an overview of the commissions 2020 budget, which includes almost $300,000 in operating costs to help attract top film talent to the Okanagan.

For more information, you can look at the OFC’s report online.


@connortrembley
connor.trembley@kelownacapnews.com

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India’s Modi Faces New Challenge: A Slowing Economy – Wall Street Journal

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Agriculture, a key sector for employment in India, has been part of the nation’s slowdown.


Photo:

Amit Dave/REUTERS

NEW DELHI—Since a landslide victory last year, Indian Prime Minister

Narendra Modi

has pushed through a series of controversial social initiatives that have drawn cheers from supporters but been criticized as part of a divisive Hindu nationalist agenda.

Now, the country’s suddenly flagging economy, which not long ago was the engine driving India’s emergence on the global stage, could become an even bigger challenge.

The government has estimated the growth rate for the current fiscal year ending March 31 at 5%, India’s lowest since 2009 and down from a peak of 8.2% in 2017. The unexpected slowdown in what until recently was the world’s fastest-growing large economy threatens not only to undermine India’s nascent emergence as a global power but to amplify divisions at home as it becomes even harder to create the nearly million jobs a month needed to keep pace with the youth pouring into the job market.

The country’s changing fortunes have dented Mr. Modi’s reputation as an economic reformer since his arrival on the national political scene in 2014. While Mr. Modi grew up within the Hindu nationalist movement that spawned the Bharatiya Janata Party, what set him apart as a politician was a reputation for sound economic management and a global perspective during his years as head of one of India’s most dynamic states.

Economic changes, effective governance, development initiatives and globalization remained at the top of his administration’s national agenda throughout that first term, enhanced by the prominent roles played by several reform-minded, U.S.-trained economists that Mr. Modi brought on board.

Progress was incremental and sometimes flawed, such as Mr. Modi’s overnight elimination of nine-tenths of the value of currency notes in circulation, but an overhaul of the national tax system was generally applauded at home and abroad along with the introduction of a corporate bankruptcy code. Steps were taken to begin tackling a morass of soured loans weighing on the state-led banking system.

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Surge and Slowdown

India’s economy initially boomed under Prime Minister Modi, but has flagged recently.

Growth in gross domestic product for fiscal years ending March 31

Growth in two employment-heavy industries for March 31 fiscal years*

10

%

9.0

%

Construction

8

8.0

6

7.0

4

6.0

Agriculture

2

5.0

0

4.0

–2

2013

’14

’15

’16

’17

’18

’19

’20

2013

’14

’15

’16

’17

’18

’19

’20

Growth in gross domestic product for fiscal years ending March 31

Growth in two employment-heavy industries for March 31 fiscal years*

10

%

9.0

%

Construction

8

8.0

6

7.0

4

6.0

Agriculture

2

5.0

0

–2

4.0

2013

’14

’15

’16

’17

’18

’19

’20

2013

’14

’15

’16

’17

’18

’19

’20

Growth in gross domestic product for fiscal years ending March 31

Growth in two employment-heavy industries for March 31 fiscal years*

10

%

9.0

%

Construction

8

8.0

6

7.0

4

6.0

Agriculture

2

5.0

0

4.0

–2

2013

’14

’15

’16

’17

’18

’19

’20

2013

’14

’15

’16

’17

’18

’19

’20

Growth in gross domestic product for fiscal years ending March 31

9.0

%

8.0

7.0

6.0

5.0

4.0

2013

’14

’15

’16

’17

’18

’19

’20

Growth in two employment-heavy industries for March 31 fiscal years*

10

%

Construction

8

6

4

Agriculture

2

0

–2

2013

’14

’15

’16

’17

’18

’19

’20

Note: Fiscal 2020 figures are projected.     *Based on gross value added in constant 2011-12 prices.

Source: India Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation

The economy picked up pace, surpassing even China’s growth rate, as optimism grew that Mr. Modi was ushering India toward a more globalized future and a modern economy spurred on by one of the world’s largest and youngest populations.

If the Hindu nationalist leanings of Mr. Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party were also apparent—particularly when halfway through his term Mr. Modi appointed an ideological firebrand priest to head India’s largest state—they mostly took a back seat, especially in international perceptions of India.

As Mr. Modi’s first term progressed, however, the internationally minded economists from Harvard University, Columbia University and the University of Chicago left the administration, replaced with lower-profile advisers from Indian institutions. The appetite for difficult economic changes waned, whether it was privatization of the troubled government-owned airline or tougher regulations on lenders.

The economy began a slow slide, particularly in the construction and agriculture industries that India’s masses of striving but still poor families depend on heavily for income.

Change of focus

Yet just as signs were emerging that India’s economic struggles might undercut the BJP’s political fortunes in last year’s nationwide election, the focus changed dramatically from economics after a military confrontation with archenemy Pakistan early last year. Mr. Modi pivoted to nationalist identity politics on the surge of angry sentiment against Pakistan that accompanied the capture, and then release, of an Indian fighter pilot after an aerial dogfight.

The BJP presented the election as a choice between a forceful Hindu national leader and opponents it decried as weak in opposing India’s Muslim-majority nemesis and supported by India’s own 200 million Muslim minority community. Voters set aside economic concerns and delivered the BJP a large majority in Parliament and Mr. Modi a second term.

Since then Mr. Modi has paused only briefly to address the economy—most notably with a big corporate tax cut after the election—as the BJP has raced to accomplish controversial initiatives long espoused by the party’s most ideological Hindu nationalist supporters.

They banned a special form of divorce that had been allowed under Islamic family law, placed the country’s only Muslim-majority state under direct central government control, and cheered when the supreme court agreed to allow a Hindu temple on a site where a mob of activists had torn down a mosque they believed sat atop the birthplace of an important Hindu god.

Each move sparked criticism and questioning from abroad and increased anxiety among some domestically, particularly Muslims and a wider group of Indians concerned the country’s democracy is turning in a religiously intolerant and majoritarian direction.

Nationwide protests

Most recently, the introduction of a law that extends a new path to citizenship to nearly every religiously persecuted group in South Asia except Muslims has reinforced those fears, prompting nationwide demonstrations even as Mr. Modi and the BJP extol the new law as a humanitarian act that won’t affect Indian Muslims.

Yet even as social discontent rises, the economy’s stubborn sluggishness looms as a largely unaddressed menace that could exacerbate those problems, say many economists.

That’s especially true in areas where the social tensions have been highest, such as the massive state of Uttar Pradesh, which has a history of violent clashes between Muslims and Indian authorities that have resurfaced with the citizenship law.

“The focus of this government is more on the Hindu (nationalist) agenda,” says A.K. Singh, economist and former director of the Giri Institute of Development Studies, a think tank based in Lucknow. “Although they talk of development, agriculture continues to be in quite a bad shape, and industry, particularly in Uttar Pradesh, is very, very sluggish.”

Government officials say they’ve introduced bold economic reforms and are making progress cleaning up bad loans in the banking system.

But

Arvind Subramanian,

a Harvard economist who served as Mr. Modi’s chief economic adviser during much of his first term, has questioned whether the headline economywide measurements may be flawed, meaning even the 4.5% growth rate the government reported for the latest quarter through September 2019 could be overstated by several percentage points.

He notes that imports, exports, consumption and domestic investment are all in outright decline and overall electricity consumption is flat, an almost unprecedented confluence of bad news since the economy was first liberalized during a crisis in 1991.

He argues that the still-festering load of bad loans at the banks is standing in the way of a near-term economic turnaround by crimping lending. The painful task of reforming the financial sector will likely need to be followed by politically difficult changes to bring more flexibility to land use and labor laws.

So far, the Modi government has shown little new inclination for any of that. “The problem with the Modi government is that there is very little understanding among the top leadership of the economic issues, and expert advice is not followed if it does not go to the liking of Modi,” says Satish Misra, a senior fellow with the Observer Research Foundation, a New Delhi-based think tank.

Mr. Spindle is South Asia bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal. Email him at bill.spindle@wsj.com. Krishna Pokharel contributed to this article.

Copyright ©2019 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

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China stocks rise on signs of steadying economy, Hong Kong dips – Ottawa Citizen

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SHANGHAI — China stocks rose on Monday on signs of a stabilizing domestic economy and increasing expectations of government stimulus to aid growth, while Hong Kong shares dipped.

** The CSI300 index rose 0.5% to 4,176.50 by the end of the morning session, while the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.4% to 3,088.59.

** In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index dropped 0.4% to 28,942.57, while the Hong Kong China Enterprises Index lost 0.2% to 11,401.63.

** China is confident of maintaining steady industrial growth this year despite big pressures facing the sector, Minister of Industry and Information Technology Miao Wei said on Monday.

** His remarks came after China’s industrial output topped expectations in December by growing 6.9% from a year earlier, the strongest pace in nine months.

** Investors also expect more government stimulus ahead after China’s economic growth cooled to a near 30-year low of 6.1% in 2019 amid a bruising trade war with the United States.

** Among shares, hotel operators and tourism firms slumped following news that an outbreak of a new coronavirus in China was spreading to other cities, raising concerns around its containment and clouding travel plans of millions of Chinese for Lunar New Year holiday.

** BTG Hotels Group Co and Shanghai Jin Jiang International Hotels Development Co tumbled over 7%, while tourism company Songcheng Performance Development Co slumped over 8%.

** Shares of drugmakers and facial mask producers such as Jiangsu Sihuan Bioengineering Co and Shandong Lukang Pharmaceutical Co jumped. (Reporting by Shanghai Newsroom; editing by Uttaresh.V)

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Majority say BOJ's negative rate policy has not boosted economy, prices: Reuters poll – TheChronicleHerald.ca

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By Kaori Kaneko

TOKYO (Reuters) – The Bank of Japan’s negative interest rate policy has had little positive impact on the economy and prices, over half of economists surveyed by Reuters said.

The views underline the mounting challenges facing the central bank in trying to fire up inflation to its 2% target, as years of ultra-loose monetary policy and near-zero rates have had only modest success at the cost of eroding financial institutions’ margins.

That explains why a majority of the polled economists expect the next move by the BOJ would be to taper its massive stimulus, possibly sometime next year.

It also suggests criticism over the controversial policy is spreading beyond Europe, where countries such as Switzerland are under increasing pressure to adjust its ultra-loose policy to address the demerits of negative rates.

Among the 41 economists polled by Reuters Jan. 6-17, 24 said the BOJ’s negative rate policy did not help the economy and prices, while 17 said they did.

“Negative rates may have had some positive effects on financial and property markets. But the side-effects, such as the hit to banks’ earnings, have also been big,” said Mitsumaru Kumagai, chief economist at Daiwa Institute of Research.

“As a whole, we don’t think there has been much positive effect” on Japan’s economy and prices, he said.

The poll also showed 28 of 42 economists, or 67%, expect the BOJ’s next step to be a withdrawal of stimulus, up from 61% in the December poll. Those who predicted such action said it would happen sometime next year or later, the poll showed.

The ratio of those who predict the BOJ’s next move to be an expansion of stimulus stood at 33%, down from the previous month’s 39%.

“We don’t expect the BOJ to ease further in the near term,” said Arata Oto, market economist at Societe Generale Securities Japan.

“The BOJ is expected to maintain its scenario projecting a pick-up in global growth, while sticking to its easy-policy bias to help the economy build momentum to hit its 2% inflation target,” he said.

That view was backed by a Reuters poll predicting that the BOJ will keep monetary policy steady and nudge up its economic growth forecast at a two-day rate review ending on Tuesday, signaling that no immediate easing was forthcoming despite lingering overseas risks.

STAGNANT GROWTH AHEAD

Under a policy dubbed yield curve control, the BOJ guides short-term rates at -0.1% and the 10-year government bond yield around 0% via aggressive asset buying.

Inflation remains distant from the BOJ’s 2% target despite years of heavy money printing, forcing the central bank to maintain a radical stimulus program despite the rising cost such as the hit to financial institutions’ profits.

Analysts polled expect core consumer inflation, which includes oil products but not fresh foods, to hit 0.6% in the current fiscal year ending in March and 0.5% the following year.

They also expect Japan’s economy to have shrunk an annualized 3.6% in the October-December quarter due to the hit from October’s sales tax hike, and rebound by a modest 0.8% in the current quarter.

Japan’s economy will likely expand 0.5% in the fiscal year beginning in April and 0.8% the following year, thanks in part to an expected boost from the government’s $122 billion fiscal stimulus package, the poll showed.

(Reporting by Kaori Kaneko; Polling by Shaloo Shrivastava and Khushboo Mittal; Editing by Leika Kihara & Shri Navaratnam)

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