Getting caught up on a week that got away? Here’s your weekly digest of the Globe’s most essential business and investing stories, with insights and analysis from the pros, stock tips, portfolio strategies and more.
Canada’s economy stalls, population surges
Canada’s economy was “essentially unchanged” in July, according to Statistics Canada, following a 0.2 per cent decline in June. The manufacturing sector shrank by 1.5 per cent, its largest drop since April 2021. Economists had been predicting a slight increase of 0.1 per cent. Mark Rendell reports the flat GDP reading is bad news for businesses and workers, but could be good news for the Bank of Canada and next month’s interest rate decision. Meanwhile, Canada’s population has experienced explosive growth over the past year, largely driven by an increase of temporary residents.
Air Canada pilots demonstrate at Toronto’s Pearson airport
Air Canada pilots staged an “informational picket” at Toronto Pearson International Airport on Friday, calling for better wages and working conditions. The Air Line Pilots Association, which represents more than 5,000 Air Canada pilots, has been in talks with Air Canada since June. The union’s nine-year collective agreement also expired on Friday. Eric Atkins reports that narrowing the pay gap with U.S. flight crews is a point of contention. The union says, however, that no strike is imminent.
As oil prices skyrocket, US$100 a barrel would hurt less than it used to
A growing number of forecasts predict that oil prices will reach US$100 per barrel this fall – a prospect that will complicate life for both consumers and central bankers trying to fight inflation. There has been a 35-per-cent run-up in the price of U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude since June, following moves by Saudi Arabia and Russia to cut production, and concerns over declines in U.S. crude oil inventories. But the current price spike looks less menacing than what’s come before. Jason Kirby takes a closer look in this week’s Decoder.
Canadian tech companies sign on to AI code of conduct
A number of Canadian technology companies such as Blackberry, OpenText Corporation and Coveo have signed on to a new code of conduct for generative AI from the federal government. The set of voluntary guidelines will aim to limit harm until formal artificial intelligence regulation comes into force in two years. Irene Galea reports that the code of conduct emphasizes transparency, and asks companies to commit to testing broadly for cybersecurity vulnerabilities and AI bias. Generative AI technology has been widely criticized for the risks it poses to privacy, equity and copyright.
Quebec earmarks nearly $3-billion for Northvolt EV battery plant outside Montreal
Swedish manufacturing giant Northvolt AB announced it will build a new multibillion-dollar electric vehicle battery factory just outside Montreal. The company, which had been scouting North America, chose Saint-Basile-le-Grand in the Richelieu Valley as the site of their new factory. Quebec has earmarked nearly $3-billion for the project, while Ottawa is committing up to $4.4-billion. Nicolas Van Praet reports that it’s the largest private investment in Quebec’s history, as the province positions itself to become a hub for EV battery development. Northvolt aims to start construction this year and begin operations in 2026.
How to prepare financially for the next black swan event
Before memories of COVID lockdowns and shortages fade entirely, Rob Carrick writes that it’s time to prepare for the next black swan event – a sudden and unpredictable event that has potentially severe consequences. Whether it be medical, political, infrastructural or financial, there are three steps you can take: have a lot of cash, resist the pull of speculative investments for your savings, and build a strategic stockpile.
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