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Trudeau mum on possible help for Air Canada following announcement of layoffs – CTV News

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OTTAWA —
Less than 24 hours after Canada’s largest airline announced plans for a massive downsizing of its workforce due to COVID-19, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he’s willing to see what can be done to help the ailing company — but remained mum on details.

Speaking to reporters outside his Rideau Cottage home Saturday, Trudeau acknowledged the difficult situation facing airlines and the travel industry during the COVID-19 crisis.

But even as he offered reassurances that Ottawa would continue to work with companies and industries hardest hit by the crisis, exactly what help Air Canada can expect to receive from government remains unclear.

“We will have conversations with Air Canada as we will with airlines across the sector to try and see how the best way to get through this particular pandemic is,” Trudeau said.

“We know that airlines are incredibly hard hit by this pandemic and we will be there to work with them to see how best we can help.”

Trudeau sidestepped questions about whether aid could come in the form of a bailout, a federal stake in the company’s equity or whether Ottawa would be willing to help with the company’s pension and health benefit obligations. He committed only to talking to the company to try to determine what aid could be possible.

Air Canada will lay off more than half of its 38,000 employees next month as it grapples with the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. The airline estimates about 20,000 of its employees will be affected.

The layoffs, which will take place June 7, will affect a minimum of 19,000 staff and could go as high as 22,800.

The country’s largest airline — along with its competitors — has seen demand for air travel evaporate amid ongoing border shutdowns and confinement measures, prompting Air Canada to ground some 225 airplanes and slash flight capacity by 95 per cent.

Air Canada’s move was announced after Trudeau extended the $73-billion Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy through the end of August earlier on Friday.

The airline did take advantage of the federal wage subsidy program to rehire over 16,000 employees initially laid off in March due to the pandemic. But now the company says workers who are laid off will no longer fall under this program and will have to apply instead for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, which pays $2,000 a month to workers who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19.

Trudeau noted airlines and other big employers struggling through the pandemic can also access a bridge financing program being made available to companies with at least $300 million in revenues so they can stay open, keep employees on their payrolls and avoid bankruptcies.

He made a point to note this is “not a bailout” but rather a fund that offers loans to companies to help them get through the crisis.

“We are still working with companies to see who is taking that up and how the format of it will be worked out,” he said.

The federal government will continue to work with Air Canada to try to determine the best way to get through the crisis, Trudeau said.

“I think we all know this pandemic has hit extremely hard on travel industries and on the airlines particularly, that’s why we’re going to continue working with airlines, including Air Canada, to see how we can help even more than we have with the wage subsidy.”

Meanwhile, Trudeau says Health Canada has authorized the first clinical trial for a potential COVID-19 vaccine at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia.

The National Research Council of Canada will work with the manufacturers so that if these vaccine trials are successful, Canada can produce and distribute it within Canada.

Medical research and development takes time, Trudeau noted, but he called it “encouraging news.”

An additional $100 million will also go to the Canadian Red Cross to help deal with COVID-19 relief, as well as work they do every year helping jurisdictions affected by floods and wildfires.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 16, 2020.

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HSBC warns it could face reprisals in China if UK bans Huawei equipment: Telegraph – Investing.com

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© Reuters. HSBC’s building in Canary Wharf is seen behind a City of London sign outside Billingsgate Market in London

(Reuters) – HSBC Holdings Plc (L:) Chairman Mark Tucker has warned Britain against a ban on networking equipment made by Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, claiming the bank could face reprisals in China, the Telegraph reported on Saturday.

Tucker made the claim in private representations to British Prime Minster Boris Johnson’s advisers, the newspaper reported https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2020/06/06/hsbc-warns-downing-street-chinese-reprisals-huawei, citing industry and political sources.

Britain designated Huawei a “high-risk vendor” in January, capping its 5G involvement at 35% and excluding it from the data-heavy core of the network. It is looking at the possibility of phasing Huawei out of its 5G network completely by 2023, according to officials.

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HSBC warns it could face reprisals in China if UK bans Huawei equipment: Telegraph – Reuters

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FILE PHOTO: HSBC’s building in Canary Wharf is seen behind a City of London sign outside Billingsgate Market in London, Britain, August 8, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

(Reuters) – HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA.L) Chairman Mark Tucker has warned Britain against a ban on networking equipment made by Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, claiming the bank could face reprisals in China, the Telegraph reported on Saturday.

Tucker made the claim in private representations to British Prime Minster Boris Johnson’s advisers, the newspaper reported here citing industry and political sources.

Britain designated Huawei a “high-risk vendor” in January, capping its 5G involvement at 35% and excluding it from the data-heavy core of the network. It is looking at the possibility of phasing Huawei out of its 5G network completely by 2023, according to officials.

Reporting by Ismail Shakil in Bengaluru; Editing by Dan Grebler

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OPEC+ Agrees On Extending Record Output Cuts – OilPrice.com

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OPEC+ Agrees On Extending Record Output Cuts | OilPrice.com

Tom Kool

Tom majored in International Business at Amsterdam’s Higher School of Economics, he is Oilprice.com’s Head of Operations

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    OPEC and its partners concluded their meeting on Saturday afternoon, announcing that it would extend its current production cut deal.

    Algeria’s Energy Minister Mohamed Arkab, OPEC’s current President summed up the group’s sentiment by saying that “Despite the progress achieved to date, we cannot afford to rest on our laurels,”.

    The last couple of days, the cartel’s de-facto leader Saudi Arabia negotiated with other OPEC members and some non-OPEC countries including Russia, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan to extend the current 9.7 million bpd output cuts for at least another month.

    Most countries partaking in the record production cuts were willing to continue the current deal, but poor compliance from countries like Iraq, Nigeria and Kazakhstan has caused discontent among other OPEC members, some of which have even made deeper cuts than agreed on in April.

    During the virtual meeting on Saturday, the cartel agreed that the countries that were unable to reach full conformity in May and June will have to compensate for this in July, August and September.

    Oil prices effectively doubled during the month of May as global demand started to recover and record output cuts and worldwide well shut-ins decreased the monster glut.

    While the OPEC+ deal extension undoubtedly will have a bullish effect on markets, prices aren’t likely to rip much higher on Monday as the OPEC+ news has largely been priced in already.

    For oil prices to make a full recovery, global demand will have to recover and crude inventories have to be drawn down, both of which will likely take up to two years. Pioneer’s Scott Sheffield said that the quick rebound of demand to around 94-95 mb/d following the “reopening” of so many economies will give way to stagnation, saying that demand won’t reach pre-pandemic levels until 2022 or even 2023.

    For now, the next bullish catalyst for oil could come from Saudi Aramco, which could set the trend for higher oil prices in June as it is expected to release its OSPs (official selling prices) on Monday. Aramco’s OSPs are often a leading indicator for Iraqi, Iranian and Kuwaiti crude prices, and last month, Brent futures rallied after Riyadh hiked its prices for crude to Asia.

    By Tom Kool of Oilprice.com

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