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Police seek public's help after residence hit by gunshot – The London Free Press

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Someone shot at a residence on Wavell Street, London police reported Monday.

They were called to a building at about 11:30 a.m. Monday and found evidence a firearm had been discharged into a residential unit.

No one was reported injured. Police do not have a suspect and it’s not known when the shot was fired.

Police are hoping someone with information about the incident will come forward.

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Relief On The Horizon? Trump And Putin Discuss Oil Markets – OilPrice.com

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Relief On The Horizon? Trump And Putin Discuss Oil Markets | OilPrice.com

Julianne Geiger

Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.

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US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed on Monday to have energy officials from both countries discuss the dire state of the global oil market, the Kremlin said, according to Reuters.

Trump and Putin discussed the matter over the phone on Monday.

“Opinions on the current state of the global oil markets were exchanged. It was agreed there would be Russo-American consultations about this through the ministers of energy,” the Kremlin said.

Neither President detailed what specific issues or possibilities they would discuss.

Saudi Arabia and Russia have undertaken a furious battle over market share, with both threatening to ramp up production come April 1, when the current OPEC+ deal will expire. U.S. oil producers now find themselves stuck in the middle of this oil price war, and then COVID-19 kicked U.S. producers—and the rest of the world—in the head by pushing down demand for crude.

The result has elicited a somewhat atypical response from the United States oil industry and government officials, who favor free markets and never miss a beat to chastise OPEC for its price-meddling ways. But desperation is sinking in, with oil industry professionals and U.S. lawmakers calling on the Trump administration to do something about the current oil price war that OPEC and Russia have created.

While the U.S. is planning on sitting down with Russia to discuss the matter, it is also applying pressure to Saudi Arabia to rectify the mess it has helped to create. It would take—at a minimum—both Saudi Arabia and Russia to effect any real change. Even if all of OPEC were to get on board with further production cuts, it is doubtful at this point that even aggressive action will have enough oomph to trim the oil glut and boost prices at a time when the coronavirus continues to shrink demand.

If the United States somehow managed to jump on board the price-fixing cartel, however, it might be enough to move the needle.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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Mortgage rates are rising in Canada despite virus-relief cuts – BNNBloomberg.ca

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Canada’s mortgage rates are creeping up — even though the country’s central bank has slashed borrowing costs to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

That’s due to the “enormous pressure” Canadian banks face amid disruptions caused by the outbreak, said Sherry Cooper, chief economist at Dominion Lending Centers.

“The costs of funds for banks is skyrocketing and bank earnings are plunging,” Cooper said Monday in a phone interview. “Every single business they have ever loaned to is subject to a massive decline in revenues, and therefore their own revenues are going down because nobody is taking out new business with banks except to extend debt.”

The Bank of Canada has cut its overnight interest rate three times this month, bringing the benchmark to 0.25 per cent. The large Canadian banks matched those moves by cutting their prime rates, which influence borrowing rates for variable mortgages and credit lines, to 2.45 per cent from 3.95 per cent at the start of the month.

As those rates have dropped, banks have been eliminating discounts off prime on variable mortgages. At the start of the month, qualified borrowers could get a rate of prime minus 1 per cent from HSBC Canada, for example, while Canada’s large domestic lenders were also offering “prime minus” deals as well.

But those discounts have shrunk by 75 to 85 basis points, said Rob McLister, founder of mortgage comparison website RateSpy.com.

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Typical five-year fixed rates at also rising. Rates at large Canadian bank are now at 2.99 per cent to 3.04 per cent versus around 2.49 per cent to 2.59 per cent at the end of February, McLister said.

“The big banks are leading the charge higher here, on both the fixed side and the variable side,” he said. Preferred borrowers can still get some prime minus deals at big banks, but they’re more like prime minus 10 or 15 basis points.

McLister said the rising cost of short-term funding, used for variable mortgages, explains the jump. Spreads are wide, fewer people want to lend big banks money at preferable pricing, so that gets passed through to the borrower, McLister said.

Fixed-rate mortgages, which are tied more to swings in the bond market, are also creeping up after Canadian bond yields hit record lows earlier in the month, added Cooper.

“The banks just can’t afford to price their loans at what are de minimis bond yield levels,” Cooper said.

She expects banks to start charging prime plus a premium for variable loans, as well as higher rates for fixed mortgages than those seen earlier in the year.

“I believe mortgage rates will trend around current levels,” Cooper said. “I don’t think interest rates in general are going to be a lot higher in the next year.”

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Air Canada to reduce workforce by 16,500 as it parks planes during COVID-19 – Financial Post

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Air Canada will send home 15,200 unionized employees and 1,300 managers due to the “unpredictable extent and duration” of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Canada’s largest airline announced Monday it will place the unionized members on off-duty status and furlough the managers as it reduces capacity by about 85 to 90 per cent from April through June. It intends for the cuts, which will come into effect on or about April 3, to be temporary.

“To furlough such a large proportion of our employees is an extremely painful decision but one we are required to take given our dramatically smaller operations for the next while,” Air Canada chief executive Calin Rovinescu said in a statement.

“I understand and regret the impact this will have upon our employees and their families.”

Rovinescu and chief financial officer Michael Rousseau will forgo 100 per cent of their salaries, while other senior executives will take a 25 to 50 per cent pay cut. Board members agreed to a 25 per cent pay cut. Other managers’ salaries will be reduced by 10 per cent.

On Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the government will subsidize 75 per cent of wages for companies that lose 30 per cent of their revenue during the shutdown. It’s not yet clear how Air Canada could benefit from this, but the airline said it will assess how the subsidy could affect its workforce reduction plans.

Trudeau also acknowledged the airline industry has been “extremely hard hit” by the pandemic and said the government will do more to help the industry, but did not reveal any details.

The prime minister and senior government officials have been working with Canada’s major passenger airlines as they seek help during the crisis. Ottawa has already agreed to provide Toronto-based Porter Airlines with $135 million in commercial financing, but has yet to reveal a comprehensive package for other airlines including Air Canada, WestJet Airlines Ltd., Transat A.T. and Sunwing.

To help deal with plummeting revenue, Air Canada is also looking to cut $500 million in costs and capital spending. It will draw down about $1 billion in operating lines of credit for additional liquidity and suspended its share buyback program on March 2.

Air Canada is working with Ottawa to repatriate Canadians abroad. It will continue to operate a select number of flights after April 1, pending further government restrictions, as well as operating cargo-only flights to ensure movement of goods, such as medical supplies.

Air Canada employed about 33,000 people at the end of 2019, according to financial statements.

Air Canada employs about 4,400 pilots. It’s not clear how many pilots will be affected by the decision, but last week the Air Canada Pilots Association reached a deal with the airline to reduce pilot pay, allow pilots to retire earlier and plan for a maximum of 600 redundancies in the coming months.

Pilots placed on furlough will continue to accrue seniority and service and will be recalled in order of seniority, the ACPA said in a statement.

The International Air Transport Association predicts airlines around the world will lose US$252 billion in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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