Blows keep coming for our economy, and the Bank of Canada will be left to clean up the mess

The Canadian economy is off to a terrible start to 2020 as four years of inept government policy are starting to come home to roost.

Manufacturing sales have posted their fourth consecutive negative reading, retail sales were stagnant to end 2019 and signs are that GDP growth is stalling and may actually be negative when accounted for on a per-capita basis.

We worry that our booming housing market may not be enough to prevent this situation from worsening, with the potential for a recession that could drag interest rates and the loonie lower as well.

And concerns about the coronavirus and its global economic impact couldn’t come at a worse time.

The other broader issue is what it could ultimately do to Canada’s reputation as a place to do business

BMO chief economist Douglas Porter

The problem is that the PMO has for the most part appeared more concerned with

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‘This is just the beginning’: Coronavirus roils global markets, putting rate cuts back on the radar

Mounting concerns over the spread of coronavirus outside China sent global markets into a panic Monday and some economists are warning the prospect of a pandemic could push the Bank of Canada and the U.S. Federal Reserve to consider cutting interest rates sooner rather than later.

“It is reasonable to assume that coronavirus is going to last longer given the infection rate is higher than SARS and is still climbing. That itself, might convince the Bank of Canada and even the U.S. Fed to cut interest rates. I wouldn’t be surprised,” said Benjamin Tal, deputy chief economist at CIBC Capital Markets. “This is just the beginning of coronavirus, and there is a consensus starting to be generated that maybe, it will last longer than expected.”

Stock markets began the week in turmoil as a surge in the number of coronavirus cases was reported outside China — specifically in South Korea,

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Floods in Indonesia capital paralyze parts of city, cut power By Reuters

Floods in Indonesia capital paralyze parts of city, cut power

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Flooding caused by torrential rain paralyzed large parts of Indonesia’s capital on Tuesday, as major streets were inundated with murky, brown flood water and power supplies cut in certain parts of the city.

Indonesia’s weather agency linked the rains to tropical cyclones in Australia and in the Indian ocean that had caused bad weather across the islands of Java, Bali and Nusa Tenggara. The agency also warned of high waves in the seas south of Java.

Flooding was particularly severe in the Bekasi area west of the capital, though big swathes of the low-lying city were also badly affected.

Jakarta police, via its Instagram account, warned of road closures due to flooding and train services also suffered major disruption.

Videos and photos posted by Jakarta police showed flooded street in an industrial area in East Jakarta with

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Colombia congressional committee to investigate president after ex-senator’s allegations By Reuters

BOGOTA (Reuters) – A committee in Colombia’s lower house of Congress will investigate allegations by an ex-senator who fled the country that President Ivan Duque participated in vote-buying and sought to have her assassinated, the head of the panel said on Monday.

Former Conservative Senator Aida Merlano was captured by Venezuelan police last month after she escaped custody in Bogota last year by climbing out of her dentist’s office while on a medical leave from prison and fleeing on the back of a motorcycle.

At a recent court appearance in Caracas, Merlano, who was convicted of vote-buying, accused Duque of wanting to kill her to protect the country’s political class. In a recent interview, she also alleged he benefited from vote-buying.

Duque’s government has said the accusations are a fabrication and that Merlano is being used by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to put on a “media show.”

The investigation comes

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More consumers ordering food to go, challenging fast casual brands like Cosi

Cosi, a fast casual restaurant chain, filed for its second bankruptcy with plans to cut costs and shift its focus to catering under recent pressure from changing consumer dining habits.

The Boston-based restaurant chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Wilmington, Del., with assets and liabilities between $10 and $50 million, according to court documents. The filing comes after Cosi commenced a restructuring of its operations by closing 30 of its stores in December and increased its emphasis on catering, according to a company statement. It previously sought creditor protection in 2016.

Cosi offers soup, sandwich, and salad combinations for consumers who are on the go or looking for fast options to dine. The filing comes as the restaurant industry faces a reckoning of high debt levels and over-saturation in the market. NPC International, the world’s biggest operator of Pizza Hut restaurants, is said to be … Read More

As coronavirus ravages the stock market, here are the biggest losers (and a few surprising winners)

The markets succumbed to a bout of sickness as new coronavirus concerns pulled the Dow down over 3.5% on Monday; the S&P 500 followed suit with a 3.4% drop.

Apple, UnitedHealth Group, Carnival Group, and American Airlines were among the stocks dragging markets down, all shedding at least 4%.

News of still more confirmed COVID-19 coronavirus cases—in countries like Italy, where there are now over 200 cases compared to three on Friday, and South Korea—are only fueling investor fears as the virus shows no signs of dissipating.

Europe kicked off the selloff early, with Italy’s primary stock market, the FTSE MIB, down over 4% in the early hours, the pan-European Stoxx 600 down over 3%, Germany’s DAX down over 3%, with the U.K.’s FTSE 100 off 3%.

Meanwhile by midday in the U.S. the Dow had plunged more than 1,000 points. For Randy Frederick, the vice president of trading … Read More