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Pandemic recovery an opportunity to shape greener, inclusive, more digital economy – NiagaraFallsReview.ca

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Canada must focus on green and digital investment as part of its economic stimulus, with an eye to a recovery from COVID-19 that prioritizes the Canadians and businesses hardest hit by the pandemic, says Angel Gurria, secretary general of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Gurria gave a virtual talk Tuesday at the Empire Club of Canada, presenting the OECD’s latest economic outlook and reflecting on his past 15 years leading the international consortium through the global financial crisis in 2008-09 and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gurria, a former minister of foreign affairs and minister of finance and public credit in Mexico, said that although things seem to be looking up for Canada and North America, with vaccines rolling in and predictions the economy will begin to rebound, we aren’t out of the woods yet. The biggest challenges right now are vaccine supply and rollout, and the new virus variants, he said.

He noted that it is the poorest and most vulnerable citizens who have been hit hardest by the health and economic implications of COVID-19, much like the poorest and most vulnerable countries themselves.

As the economy begins a slow climb out of the crisis, consumer confidence will be key, said Gurria, adding that Canada’s priorities should include fiscal support that takes citizens and businesses all the way through the recovery.

“Please, let’s not withdraw this support too soon,” he said. “In 2008-2009, we withdrew the support that was provided to the economy too soon. And by doing that…we weakened the recovery.”

Gurria expects the economic impact of COVID-19 to be long-lasting in the hardest-hit sectors, such as hospitality, and said the small and medium businesses in these sectors will need extra support.

“This will be echoed in the job market,” he added, among younger and low-paid workers who disproportionately work the jobs in these devastated sectors.

It’s important that Canada continues benefits like the Canada Recovery Benefit, said Gurria, but that it begins to more specifically target those benefits. The workforce, too, will need help catching up to the digital acceleration, he said.

Businesses will also need support to tackle the burden of debt created by the pandemic, said Gurria, and business insolvency procedures should be re-examined so that viable businesses have the opportunity to recover.

This support needs to also facilitate structural changes spurred or accelerated by the pandemic, such as the digital shift, Gurria said.

Digital policies should include improving widespread connectivity, both urban and rural, he added.

“The recovery from the crisis provides a unique opportunity to shape a greener, healthier, more inclusive, more digital economy,” he said.

Gurria said Canada should “green” its stimulus by investing in low-carbon tech, especially since the pandemic has made investments in young firms less likely.

“Recent federal government proposals for carbon price increases announced as part of a strengthened climate plan are an encouraging sign in this regard,” he noted.

The pandemic has made it clear that Canada needs to strengthen its health-care system, Gurria said, especially its long-term care. The virus has also made clear the obvious gaps in pharmaceutical coverage and paid sick leave, he added.

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Overall, it will be crucial that Canada’s policies have well-being top of mind, he said, noting that the country is at a pivotal moment.

“With the right policies, Canada can emerge from this crisis with a stronger, more sustainable, more inclusive economy.”

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Britain is ‘bouncing back’ into the same old economy – The Guardian

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Britain is ‘bouncing back’ into the same old economy  The Guardian



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CANADA STOCKS – TSX ends flat at 19,228.03

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* The Toronto Stock Exchange’s TSX falls 0.00 percent to 19,228.03

* Leading the index were Corus Entertainment Inc <CJRb.TO​>, up 7.0%, Methanex Corp​, up 6.4%, and Canaccord Genuity Group Inc​, higher by 5.5%.

* Lagging shares were Denison Mines Corp​​, down 7.0%, Trillium Therapeutics Inc​, down 7.0%, and Nexgen Energy Ltd​, lower by 5.7%.

* On the TSX 93 issues rose and 128 fell as a 0.7-to-1 ratio favored decliners. There were 26 new highs and no new lows, with total volume of 183.7 million shares.

* The most heavily traded shares by volume were Toronto-dominion Bank, Nutrien Ltd and Organigram Holdings Inc.

* The TSX’s energy group fell 1.61 points, or 1.4%, while the financials sector climbed 0.67 points, or 0.2%.

* West Texas Intermediate crude futures fell 0.44%, or $0.26, to $59.34 a barrel. Brent crude  fell 0.24%, or $0.15, to $63.05 [O/R]

* The TSX is up 10.3% for the year.

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Canadian dollar outshines G10 peers, boosted by jobs surge

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Canadian dollar

By Fergal Smith

TORONTO (Reuters) – The Canadian dollar advanced against its broadly stronger U.S. counterpart on Friday as data showing the economy added far more jobs than expected in March offset lower oil prices, with the loonie also gaining for the week.

Canada added 303,100 jobs in March, triple analyst expectations, driven by the recovery across sectors hit by shutdowns in December and January to curb the new coronavirus.

“The Canadian economy keeps beating expectations,” said Michael Goshko, corporate risk manager at Western Union Business Solutions. “It seems like the economy is adapting to these closures and restrictions.”

Stronger-than-expected economic growth could pull forward the timing of the first interest rate hike by the Bank of Canada, Goshko said.

The central bank has signaled that its benchmark rate will stay at a record low of 0.25% until 2023. It is due to update its economic forecasts on April 21, when some analysts expect it to cut bond purchases.

The Canadian dollar was trading 0.3% higher at 1.2530 to the greenback, or 79.81 U.S. cents, the biggest gain among G10 currencies. For the week, it was also up 0.3%.

Still, speculators have cut their bullish bets on the Canadian dollar to the lowest since December, data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission showed. As of April 6, net long positions had fallen to 2,690 contracts from 6,518 in the prior week.

The price of oil, one of Canada‘s major exports, was pressured by rising supplies from major producers. U.S. crude prices settled 0.5% lower at $59.32 a barrel, while the U.S. dollar gained ground against a basket of major currencies, supported by higher U.S. Treasury yields.

Canadian government bond yields also climbed and the curve steepened, with the 10-year up 4.1 basis points at 1.502%.

 

(Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Andrea Ricci)

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