Canada’s economy unexpectedly shrank in October as spillover from the stateside General Motors strike took a toll on the manufacturing sector. Overall gross domestic product fell 0.1 per cent in the month, the first contraction since February. It wasn’t universally negative — indeed, there was a strong showing by real estate agents in October, and 13 of the 20 sectors tracked by Statistics Canada showed growth. But today’s GDP news adds to a stretch of disappointing data in the country after Friday’s dismal retail sales report and the weak jobs data for November.
BOEING REPLACES CEO
Dennis Muilenburg is out as the chief executive of Boeing. He’ll be replaced by the planemaker’s current chairman, David Calhoun, on Jan. 13, and by CFO Greg Smith immediately on an interim basis. In a brief release, Boeing said its board decided the leadership change was “necessary to restore confidence” in the beleaguered company that’s been struggling to manage the fallout from global groundings of its 737 Max jet.
Aleafia Health reported a theft of its pot over the weekend. The Toronto-based cannabis firm said a vehicle belonging to a third-party carrier that’d been hired to haul recreational products to wholesale facilities was stolen. Aleafia says all relevant authorities have been notified and that the shipment’s value isn’t material. But it certainly raises important questions about safeguarding the country’s adult-use pot. Who’s shipping the stuff? What kind of insurance policies are available to producers? We’ll look into that.
CHINA CUTS TARIFFS
The Chinese government announced a sweeping round of tariff cuts overnight, affecting almost 900 products, including frozen pork and pharmaceuticals, whose import value last year totalled US$389 billion. The finance ministry touted the move as helping to open China’s economy.
We’ve got a holiday surprise coming up on BNN Bloomberg. Stay tuned for the return of a familiar face, who’ll be stopping by The Open today for a teaser this morning.
OTHER NOTABLE STORIES
-Shares of Lions Gate Entertainment jumped at the start of trading after NBCUniversal announced a long-term pact with the studio, including a licensing agreement for NBC’s Peacock streaming service.
-Cam Battley, who in many respects was the face of Aurora Cannabis, has stepped down from his role as the pot producer’s chief corporate officer. Separately, Aurora today said it has started shipping 2.0 products, which it expects to be on store shelves early next month.
-Brookfield Infrastructure is buying Cincinnati Bell in an all-cash deal worth US$2.6 billion, including debt. Cincinnati Bell is a telecom service provider operating in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and Hawaii.
-CI Financial is making good on its previously-stated plan to expand in the U.S.: This morning it said it’s buying a majority stake in One Capital Management, a California-based registered investment advisory firm with US$1.6 billion in assets.
Every morning BNN Bloomberg’s Managing Editor Noah Zivitz writes a ‘chase note’ to BNN Bloomberg’s editorial staff listing the stories and events that will be in the spotlight that day. Have it delivered to your inbox before the trading day begins by heading to www.bnnbloomberg.ca/subscribe.
Alberta government says jobs, economy, COVID to be focus of fall legislature sitting – CBC.ca
The Alberta government plans a busy fall legislature sitting aimed at adding jobs and diversifying the economy while focusing on tamping down the renewed surge of COVID-19.
Government house leader Jason Nixon says this will include proposed legislation on recognizing professional credentials to address labour shortages. The bill will be introduced by Premier Jason Kenney.
“Our focus will be on Alberta’s workforce, a couple of bills around diversifying the economy, a big focus on building infrastructure for our future, [and] growing our resources, particularly on the energy side,” Nixon said in an interview Friday.
There will also be new initiatives on environmental protection and conservation.
Nixon said there will be 18 to 20 bills for the sitting, which begins Monday and is scheduled to run to the first week of December.
“It’s a very robust fall agenda,” he said.
Nixon said the government will continue to take steps to reduce COVID-19 cases, which have severely stressed the health system.
No COVID-19-specific bills are planned, he said, noting they were passed in previous sittings.
“There’s certainly other stuff to be done to manage the pandemic but we’ll stand ready if Alberta Health needs us to pass any legislation to deal with the pandemic.”
He said debate in the chamber is expected to return to some semblance of normalcy.
In the spring sitting, both the United Conservative government and the Opposition NDP reduced their numbers in the chamber to prevent the spread of the virus.
This time, with all NDP members and all but one on the UCP side vaccinated, all will be allowed back in for debate.
The lone UCP member has a medical exemption and will be tested regularly, said Nixon.
He said there are still masking rules and members will try to maintain distancing where possible.
The NDP said it plans to hold the government accountable for what went disastrously wrong on COVID-19.
“This fall sitting of the legislature will be laser-focused on getting answers from the UCP on why they’ve failed Albertans so miserably in managing the devastating fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Christina Gray, the NDP house leader.
“Since July 15, more than 85,000 additional Albertans have been infected with the virus and 700 have died.”
Gray said the NDP will call for an all-party inquiry into the government’s handling of the pandemic with the power to compel documents and testimony.
Nixon said the government will not agree to such a motion. He said it would be wrong to redeploy vital health resources right now and that Kenney has promised an eventual review of how the province handled the pandemic.
Kenney has also promised to bring forward a motion to ratify and act on the results of Monday’s provincewide referendum on Canada’s equalization program.
Final results aren’t in from Edmonton, but figures from Calgary and other cities suggest the referendum will pass with about 60 per cent in support of urging the federal government to remove the principle of equalization from the Constitution.
Kenney has said the issue is not about removing equalization, something no province can do unilaterally, but about getting leverage to negotiate other issues surrounding federal transfers to attain a better deal with Ottawa.
Political scientist Jared Wesley said Kenney will likely continue to focus on initiatives such as the equalization referendum, if only to change the narrative on his low popularity ratings.
“The premier will be spending most of his time, if he has anything to say about it, outside the province, stumping for this fair deal,” said Wesley, with the University of Alberta.
Charting the Global Economy: Weekly Global Economy Check – Bloomberg
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China’s economy continues to cool as the nation’s housing slump intensifies, while supply-chain bottlenecks are keeping a tight grip on the recoveries in the U.S. and Europe.
Brazil's Economy Chief to Stay in Job to Avoid Further Crisis – BNN
(Bloomberg) — Brazil Economy Minister Paulo Guedes has decided to stay in the job even after losing four key members of this team over disagreements about the government’s spending plans, according to a person familiar with the situation.
Guedes held a meeting with the remainder of his team late on Thursday after the mass resignations amid President Jair Bolsonaro’s move to break the country’s spending ceiling rule to fund a new social program ahead of the 2022 elections. The minister said he would stay because he believes his departure would further deteriorate the situation, the person said, asking not to be identified to discuss internal government matters.
Read More: Bolsonaro Loses Top Economic Aides After Unveiling Spending Plan
Brazilian markets plunged on Thursday after Bolsonaro’s spending plan was unveiled. The currency sank 1.1% to its weakest level against the dollar since April and the stock market plunged 2.8%, extending its losses to more than 6% this week.
Resignations in Guedes’s team were announced after markets closed.
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