Finance (Personal)

Britain hikes key lending rates

The Bank of England today raised its key lending rate by a quarter of a point to 4.25 per cent, its highest in 14 years, after inflation spiked unexpectedly in February. “We were really a bit on a knife edge as to whether there would be a recession, Bank Governor Andrew Bailey said. “But I’m a bit more optimistic now” even though the economy was “not off to the races.” [node:read-more:link]

Inflation cooled in February

Statistics Canada reported today that the annualized inflation rate in February was 5.2 per cent compared with the previous month’s 5.9 per cent and it was the largest deceleration since April 2020. Despite the overall cooling, grocery prices remained elevated, up 10.6 per cent from a year ago because of supply constraints and bad weather in some food growing regions. [node:read-more:link]

Ballooning backlog of passenger complaints

The federal government is giving the Canadian Transport Agency an additional $75.9 million over three years to help deal with an avalanche of airline passenger complaints. “Travellers have rights, and these rights must be respected,” Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said March 14. CGA officials said late last year that more than 30,000 complaints were still unresolved and Alghabra said the latest count is some 42,000. [node:read-more:link]

Central bank interest rate unchanged

The Bank of Canada’s key lending rate was held at 4.5 per cent today after eight consecutive increases. The pause had been signalled by the bank in January as it assessed the overall economic impact of its policy. Growth stalled in the latest quarter as interest rates affected household spending and business investment. [node:read-more:link]

Canadian economy stumbles

Statistics Canada reported today shows that the economy stalled in the fourth quarter of 2022 after five consecutive quarters of growth, mostly due to reduced investment by businesses and consumers. It actually shrank by 0.1 per cent in December from November, potentially setting up the Bank of Canada to freeeze interest rates. [node:read-more:link]

Canadian inflation decelerates slightly

Statistics Canada reported today that annual inflation rate slowed to 5.9 per cent in January from the previous month’s 6.3 per cent despite continued surging food and gasoline costs. The agency said it expects the overall rate to continue decelerating. [node:read-more:link]

China Bank faces lawsuit

A B.C. woman defrauded of $69,000 in 2018 has won the right to sue the Canadian branch of the Bank of China after she appealed the ruling denying her claim. She had received a call from someone claiming to be with the Chinese consulate in Vancouver, saying she was being prosecuted for money laundering and that she could settle the issue by transferring funds, which she did with the help of a Bank of China teller. Her complaint that the bank was aware of fraudulent activities was eventually upheld January 30 by a Court of Appeal tribunal which ordered a retrial. [node:read-more:link]

Bank rate boosted yet again

Continuing its attempts to curb inflation, the Bank of Canada raised its benchmark interest a quarter-point to 4.5 per cent today, the eighth increase in less than a year. Governor Tiff Macklem said he expected to “pause rate hikes while we assess the impacts of the substantial monetary policy tightening already undertaken” and “if we need to do more to get inflation to the two per cent target, we will.” [node:read-more:link]

Inflation eased in December

As measured by the Consumer Price Index, Canada’s annualized inflation rate was 6.3 per cent eased in December, down from 6.8 per cent the previous month. Excluding food and energy, two of the more volatile CPI components, prices rose 5.3 per cent on an annual basis in December compared with 5.4 per cent in November. [node:read-more:link]

Inflation eases but remains problematic

Statistics Canada reported today that the national inflation rate eased in November as a drop in retail gasoline prices offset a continued surge in food and accommodation costs. The overall Consumer Price Index rose 6.8 per cent compared a year-earlier, down from 6.9 per cent and continuing its gradual slide from a June peak of 8.1 per cent. [node:read-more:link]

Federal regulator blocks Telus proposal

The Canadian Radio-television & Telecommunications Commission has rejected a Telus proposal to charge some customers who pay by credit card for home phone lines. However, it applies only to customers in remote areas of Alberta and B.C., leaving card-related service fees applicable elsewhere, a policy the CRTC said today is concerning because “it goes against affordability and consumer interest.” [node:read-more:link]

Central bank rate rises again

The Bank of Canada raised its overnight rate by 50 basis points to 4.25 per cent today, its seventh increase in nine months; the last time it was this high was in January 2008. Like the final adjustment this year, it’s part of the central bank’s attempt to curb inflation which, at 6.9 per cent in October, remains above the bank’s two per cent target. [node:read-more:link]

Covid benefits clawback confirmed

At least $3.2 billion in federal emergency payment to taxpayers affected by the pandemic is being clawed back by the Canada Revenue Agency. In confirming the government’s decision, two senior CRA officials also have indicated that the total likely will be much higher as the agency’s investigations continue. [node:read-more:link]

Royal Bank buying HSBC Canada

Royal Bank of Canada has agreed to pay $13.5 billion for the Canadian operations of HSBC, a British-based multinational which has 130 branches serving 780,000 customers in Canada. RBC chief executive Dave McKay said the deal “positions us as the bank of choice for commercial clients with international needs, newcomers to Canada and affluent clients who need global banking and wealth management capabilities.” [node:read-more:link]

Albertans get pre-election economic support

Six months ahead of a scheduled general election, Alberta Premier Danielle Smith announced a $2.4-billiion package of measures she said November 22 will provide relief from high inflation which she said is the federal government’s fault. In addition to cash payments to seniors and families with children, the initiative includes suspended fuel taxes, extended winter electricity rebates, investment in food banks and expanded transit passes for low-income earners. [node:read-more:link]


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