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The loonie has fallen to its lowest level in almost two years — here's why – CBC News

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The Canadian dollar fell to its lowest level in almost two years on Friday, as investors around the world surveyed the worsening outlook for the economy and ran toward the safety of the U.S. dollar.

The Canadian dollar was changing hands for as little as 75.15 cents US at one point on Friday morning. That’s the lowest level for the currency since October 2020.

The loonie was off by about half a cent from Thursday’s close, just the latest down day in a stretch of them for Canada’s currency. The loonie fell by more than a cent on Tuesday when data out of the U.S. showed the country’s core inflation rate is still going in the wrong direction: up.

One country’s currency doesn’t often plunge because of economic data coming out of another, but that’s not the case right now because of how big a problem inflation is.

Stubbornly high inflation in the U.S. increases the odds that the country’s central bank will have to raise its interest rate even more aggressively than it has been. The U.S. Federal Reserve is slated to do just that next week, raising its benchmark rate by at least 75 basis points to 3.25 per cent, if not more. 

Pricing in investments pegged to the Fed rate suggest investors think the U.S. bank rate will ultimately go as high as four or even five per cent.

“Rates will peak higher than assumed a few months ago, and stay there longer than initially expected,” said Audrey Childe-Freeman, a foreign exchange strategist with Bloomberg Intelligence. “At some point the market will focus on the Fed’s next cycle [of rate cuts] but this is far off.”

If the Fed rate goes to 4.5 next year, as investors expect it will, that’s far higher than the Bank of Canada is likely to be able to go, which is why the gap in the two countries’ currencies is widening.

How rate hikes impact a currency

All things being equal, rate hikes increase the value of a country’s currency because it makes it more worthwhile for foreign investors to park their money there: they’ll get a higher return for doing so. That rule of thumb is even more applicable than usual right now, because the U.S. dollar is seen as the safest place to keep your money during times of uncertainty. 

“There’s been an absolute flood of money into the U.S. dollar because it is the pre-eminent safe haven and because the U.S. economy is much stronger than everywhere else,” says Adam Button, chief currency analyst with foreign exchange firm ForexLive.

The loonie looks like it’s taking a swan dive because just about everything that isn’t a U.S. dollar is getting walloped right now, he says. Compared to other currencies like the euro, the British pound and the Japanese yen, the Canadian dollar has actually gained ground this year. But it’s falling by the yardstick that most Canadians measure it against: the U.S. dollar.



Another reason for the loonie’s relative weakness is softness in commodity prices like oil and gold, because outlooks for the global economy are getting worse.

“Commodities are weak, largely because the market is (finally) coming around to the fact that the prospects for global demand look bleak,” says Bipan Rai, a foreign exchange analyst with CIBC. “That matters for a key proxy like the Canadian dollar.”

The price of a barrel of oil has lost about $30 since June, which under normal circumstances would be more than enough by itself to drag the loonie down.

But that selling pressure is being made worse by what investors think central banks are going to do. While Canada’s central bank is also hiking rates aggressively, the pain to the country’s housing market and consumer spending will likely compel the central bank to stop hiking soon.

“Up until the last week, the market was saying both will stop at around four per cent,” Button said. “Now the market is saying the Fed can go higher, but the Bank of Canada might not be able to.”

If that happens, that’s a recipe for even more money to pour into the U.S. dollar, which is why Button wouldn’t be surprised to see the loonie dip below 73 cents by the end of the year.

“Canadians might not fully appreciate just how bad things are,” he said.

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US bear market deepens: What that means for you – Al Jazeera English

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United States stocks slumped further this week as investors navigated a barrage of bad news.

Central banks around the world have been scrambling to fight soaring high inflation by increasing the cost of borrowing without hurting long-term growth prospects. Adding to the uncertainty and fear are rising tensions between the West and Russia following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

In the US, the S&P 500 – a proxy for the health of retirement and college savings accounts – this week fell to its lowest level in almost two years and was set for a monthly decline of nearly 8 percent.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 has dropped nearly 33 percent so far in 2022, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost more than 20 percent while the world’s best-known cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, shed nearly 60 percent of its value. Home prices are also dropping as interest rates soar, making loans for potential buyers more expensive.

The Federal Reserve, the country’s central bank, is tasked with fighting the highest inflation in decades and has been doing that by raising interest rates. But can it increase the cost of capital to reduce demand and moderate prices without plunging the economy into a deep recession?

“It’s really a no-win situation at this point. Largely because of the number of shocks policymakers have had to deal with,” Cristian deRitis, leading economist at Moody’s, a research firm based in New York, explained to Al Jazeera.

How much further down can stocks go? What is a bear market exactly? And is there a light at the end of the tunnel?

Here’s the short answer.

I keep hearing that the US is in a bear market. What is that exactly?

A bear market occurs when a broad market index dips more than 20 percent from recent highs.

Why is the US currently in a bear market?

“Persisting concerns over inflation and the Fed’s ability to tame prices without a hard landing,” is how Peter Essele, head of portfolio management at Commonwealth Financial Network, a Massachusetts-based firm, explained it.

What’s the reason behind the high inflation and why are prices out of control?

Kenneth McLaughlin, professor of economics at Hunter College in New York, told Al Jazeera that one of the reasons is the federal government “injecting $5 trillion into the economy including through stimulus checks during the pandemic with kind of good intentions but with no plans to pay for it.”

In other words?

Think back to early 2020 when businesses shuttered and economies came to a standstill to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Millions of Americans found themselves under lockdown with nowhere to go and spend the fresh-off-the-press stimulus checks. That caused equity prices, be it stocks, Bitcoin and home prices across the US, to skyrocket. It also caused a surge in demand for goods and that, as we see now, has led to the highest rise in the cost of living seen in decades.

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S
The war in Ukraine and growing tensions between the West and Russia are expected to continue to spook investors and roil markets [File: Brendan McDermid/Reuters]

How does this cause the stock market to go down?

As the Fed raises rates, which is essentially increasing the cost of borrowing in order to bring down the price of goods and services, people start to fear a slowdown in the economy. This pushes down the price of stocks and other investments.

Are the current economic conditions really just the consequence of what happened in the last 2 years?

The last two years have been unprecedented in many aspects. But what we are seeing today can also be attributed to the extremely low interest rates of the last decade when, following the financial crisis of 2007-2008, the government made it cheaper for Americans to borrow, Essele told Al Jazeera.

Didn’t the markets just have a rally?

Stocks did experience a rally in August. Things were looking up when petrol prices, which had soared in earlier months, dropped sharply. Investors held on to the hope that perhaps the Fed would ease on the interest rate hikes if the inflation numbers for August showed that consumer prices had cooled. But despite cheaper petrol, food and other essential goods, prices remained high – surging 8.3 percent in August compared with a year earlier.

Where are we now?

“Inflation is becoming more structural and investors are now concerned about stagflation,” Essele explained to Al Jazeera, suggesting that price hikes may be here to stay for the long haul. Stagflation is a mashup of the words “inflation” and “stagnation” and refers to a situation when inflation is high even as the rate of economic growth slows down.

So what does the future hold? And how long will this bear market last?

Expect above-average price pressures. The war in Ukraine and growing tensions between the West and Russia add to the uncertainty and will continue to spook investors and roil markets.

“But we are likely in three-quarters of the way through the bear market,” Essele predicted.

I don’t own any stocks, why should I care about a bear market?

While stock investors are the ones most directly affected by a US bear market, there are spillover effects to the rest of the economy primarily due to the “wealth effect”. That is, as households see the value of their retirement and stock portfolios decline, they will pull back on their spending.

“Given how dependent the US economy is on consumer spending, this impact can be significant and widespread,” Moody’s deRitis told Al Jazeera. “Discretionary sectors such as travel, leisure, and hospitality may feel the most immediate effect but other industries such as housing and retail trade will experience reduced demand as households grow cautious.”

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Ontario Securities Commission files allegations of fraud in multimillion-dollar crypto offering – CP24

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TORONTO – The Ontario Securities Commission says it has filed allegations against Troy Richard James Hogg related to a crypto token offering that raised US$51 million.

The statement of allegations says that between May 2017 and June 2019, Hogg, an Ontario resident, promoted and sold a crypto asset named Dignity token, previously called Unity Ingot, to investors around the world.

The regulator alleges that Hogg and his companies – Cryptobontix Inc., Arbitrade Exchange Inc. and Arbitrade Ltd. – defrauded investors with false and misleading statements in promotional materials, including that gold bullion supported the value of the tokens.

The OSC alleges that Hogg and his companies further defrauded investors by spending a significant amount of invested funds on things unrelated to crypto security tokens, including buying real estate and making payments to companies controlled by Hogg.

The regulator also alleges that Hogg did not file a prospectus for the token or obtain the necessary registration with the OSC to engage in trading activities.

The OSC says it was assisted in its investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which ran a parallel investigation and has levelled charges against Hogg and several U.S. residents.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 30, 2022.

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Lululemon settles lawsuit with Peloton over allegations of ‘copycat’ clothing

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Two of North America’s biggest names in fitness have settled a lawsuit over allegations of “copycat” sports bras and workout tights.

Vancouver-based “athleisure” brand Lululemon has agreed to terms with American exercise bike company Peloton after negotiating a “mutually agreeable settlement” in the patent dispute, according to a notice of voluntary dismissal filed in a California district court on Friday.

The terms of that agreement have not been made public.

Lululemon filed suit in November, claiming Peloton’s Strappy Bra, Cadent Laser Dot Legging, Cadent Laser Dot Bra, High Neck Bra, Cadent Peak Bra and One Luxe tights were all rip-offs of its own products.

“Unlike innovators such as Lululemon, Peloton did not spend the time, effort and expense to create an original product line,” the Lululemon claim read.

“Instead, Peloton imitated several of Lululemon’s innovative designs and sold knock-offs of Lululemon’s products, claiming them as its own.”

Court documents show that the dispute dates back to a 2016 co-branding deal that allowed Peloton to put its logo alongside Lululemon’s on certain Lululemon products that were sold through Peloton stores.

In its own court filings, Peloton claimed the arrangement was “burdensome and time-intensive,” leading the company to end the partnership and develop “its own private label brand of fitness apparel.”

This image is included in a lawsuit filed by Lululemon against Peloton. Lululemon claimed the average customer would not be able to tell their products apart. (U.S. District Court)

Lululemon, in turn, claimed that Peloton had simply imitated some of its garments. The yoga wear firm sent Peloton a cease-and-desist letter on Nov. 11, 2021, asking the company to “immediately stop selling its copycat product.”

According to the Lululemon lawsuit, Peloton said it needed until Nov. 24 to respond to the accusations in the letter.

Instead, Peloton filed its own lawsuit in the Southern District of New York, alleging that Lululemon was making “baseless threats” and asking a judge to pre-emptively declare that Peloton had done nothing wrong.

News of the settlement in California comes just one day after a judge in New York dismissed Peloton’s lawsuit, ruling it “an improper anticipatory declaratory judgment action,” filed with the intention of beating Lululemon to the courthouse.

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