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A view of the Vancouver skyline (Rafal Gerszak For The Globe and Mail)
A view of the Vancouver skyline (Rafal Gerszak For The Globe and Mail)

Business Briefing

For expats in Canada, the loonie is lower and the livin’ is easy Add to ...

These are stories Report on Business is following Thursday, July 10, 2014.

Follow Michael Babad and The Globe's Business Briefing on Twitter.

Summertime, and the livin’ is easy
Expats from other countries are finding it ever cheaper to live in Canada.

Indeed, the cost of living among expats in four cities has eased markedly along with the decline in the Canadian dollar, according to an annual study released today.

The Mercer report, which ranks more than 200 cities, puts Vancouver at No. 96, down from No. 64 last year but still the most expensive in Canada.

Toronto fell to No. 101 from No. 68, Calgary to No. 125 from No. 97, and Ottawa to No. 152 from No. 118.

“The Canadian dollar weakened significantly against the U.S. dollar, which accounts for the major slips we saw in this year’s ranking,” Mercer partner Ed Hannibal said in a statement accompanying the results.

The loonie, as Canada’s dollar coin is known, has shed 1.9 per cent over the past year, and is just below 94 cents U.S. today.

While there will be bumps and dips, observers believe it will sink to between 85 cents and 90 cents over the next couple of years.

The study, which is meant as a guide for companies and governments, and which measures cities against New York, put Luanda as the costliest city and Karachi as the cheapest.

Investors anxious
There’s a bank in Portugal that’s sending shivers around the world today.

Markets are anxious for a few reasons, one of them being the debt troubles at Banco Espírito Santo, the biggest publicly traded bank in Portugal.

Tokyo’s Nikkei lost 0.6 per cent, though Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.3 per cent.

In Europe,, London’s FTSE 100, Germany’s DAX and the Paris CAC 40 were down by between 0.7 per cent and 1.5 per cent.

And as The Globe and Mail’s Darcy Keith reports, the S&P 500, Dow Jones industrial average and Toronto's S&P/TSX composite also tumbled, but pulled back later from deeper losses.

Also at play is the fallout from the latest minutes of the last Federal Reserve meeting.

"Equity markets initially interpreted the Fed’s minutes positively, even though in reality there was little new," said Jennifer McKeown of Capital Economics.

"But any optimism that U.S. monetary policy will remain loose was soon trumped on Thursday morning by renewed worries about the health of the euro zone financial system, as the parent company of one of Portugal’s largest banks missed some coupon payments on short-term debt," she added.

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