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Well, the Canadian dollar at 78.5¢ isn't that bad

Briefing highlights

  • Loonie down near 78.5 cents
  • Markets at a glance
  • CI in $780-million deal for Sentry
  • Wine and olives: Two trade spats
  • Spectrum sale boosts Quebecor results
  • Canadian Tire profit rises
  • Canada Goose posts smaller loss


Loonie suffers

The Canadian dollar is suffering somewhat, back down to as low as 78.5 cents (U.S.) today.

But, if you're headed to the U.S. on vacation, take solace in the fact that it's still a far cry from the 73-cent level of the spring, albeit shy of the 80 cents we've seen recently.

"CAD is soft, down 0.2 per cent vs. the USD and testing fresh one-month lows at levels last seen in mid-July," said Bank of Nova Scotia currency strategists Shaun Osborne and Eric Theoret, referring to the Canadian and U.S. dollars by their symbols.

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So far today, the loonie has traded as low as 78.5 cents and as high as 78.9 cents.

"USDCAD has retraced about a quarter of the move from early May," said Mark McCormick, North American head of foreign exchange strategy at TD Securities, referring to the U.S. dollar versus the loonie.

"This reflects extreme market positioning, some lost data momentum in Canada and a more supportive backdrop emerging for the USD."

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Markets at a glance

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CI in deal for Sentry

CI Financial Corp. is expanding in a $780-million deal for Sentry Investments Corp.

The cash-and-stock deal combines "two of Canada's largest independent active asset managers," CI said in a statement.

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The acquisition of Sentry will bring CI's assets under management to about $140-billion, up 16 per cent.

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Wine and olives

Wine and olives may sound like the prelude to something sexy. But, alas, not in this case.

They each mark a trade spat for the Trump administration, with wine also to be part of NAFTA negotiations.

(To my knowledge, there are no trade disputes involving oysters, which are big products for B.C. and Atlantic Canada.)

I'm not sure which comes first in a romantic dinner – wine, presumably – but let's start with olives given that they're what the Commerce Department and United States International Trade Commission most recently targeted.

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They're probing allegations that ripe olives from Spain are being dumped in the United States, or are being subsidized.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced the antidumping and countervailing duties probes in mid-July, investigations that involves about $71-million (U.S.) in imports as the domestic industry erodes.

Dumping involves selling in a foreign market at below the cost at home. Subsidies, of course, are forms of support from home governments.

These probes, involving Spanish olives used as everything from appetizers to pizza toppings, were prompted by complaints from Bell-Carter Foods Inc. and Musco Family Olive Co.

On Friday, the USITC voted to forge ahead with its investigation, saying in a statement that it "determined that there is a reasonable indication that a U.S. industry is materially injured by reason of imports of ripe olives from Spain that are allegedly subsidized and sold in the United States at less than fair value."

The Asociación Española de Exportadores e Industriales de Aceituna de Mesa has rejected the allegations, saying it works within the laws of the World Trade Organization.

The wine, in turn, is a Canadian issue, related to British Columbia.

The former Obama administration went to the WTO over B.C.'s decision to allow the sale of only local wines on certain grocery shelves.

Now, the Trump administration is flagging the issue as one for the renegotiation of the North American free-trade agreement, set to begin next week.

"Market access issues have arisen in Canada with respect to dairy, wine, grain and other products – barriers that the current agreement is unequipped to address," the Office of the United States Trade Representative said in a mid-July statement with details of America's focus for the talks.

It's a big issue for B.C., which has said it believes it's onside with the law.

"The press release's reference to wine reflects an escalation of the USTR's long-standing complaint about provincial policies on alcohol retailing, which, it's argued, discriminate against foreign producers," Bank of Montreal deputy chief economist Michael Gregory and senior economists Aaron Goertzen and Alex Koustas said in a report on the upcoming negotiations.

"This will be a matter of considerable importance for domestic wineries, which export only around 10 per cent of production while yielding more than 70 per cent of the domestic market to imports – nearly one-quarter of which originate in the U.S.," they added.

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More news

Streetwise

Economic Insight

Inside the Market

In case you missed it

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