Weekly Digest – 19 June 2024

Welcome to our Weekly Digest – stay in the know with some recent news updates relevant to business and the economy.

Bank of Canada has clear path to 3% interest rate

The head of one of Canada’s biggest asset managers says “the conditions are right” for the Bank of Canada to cut its policy interest rate to around three per cent by the end of next year.

Business Expectations Index signals budding optimism as interest rates fall, but labour disputes could spoil the party.

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce Business Data Lab (BDL) has just released its Q2 Canadian Survey on Business Conditions Report, which shows budding green shoots of business optimism, after the Bank of Canada’s first interest rate cut last week.

How AI could help farming become more efficient and sustainable

At Nature Fresh Farms in Leamington, Ont., there’s something new amid the rows of tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and strawberries. Using thousands of sensors in every greenhouse, artificial intelligence technology is helping the farm optimize aspects like lighting, irrigation and harvest timing.

Rate cuts won’t spur immediate rebound in Canada’s economy

The global economic growth backdrop has shown signs of improvement, but Canada’s economy continues to underperform. Interest rate cuts are welcomed by highly indebted households, but won’t spur growth until next year.

Harvesting a solution: Temporary foreign workers key to mitigating agricultural labour shortages

Agri-businesses in Canada face persistent labour shortages. In 2022, labour shortages in agriculture amounted to $2.8 billion in lost contracts or sales, thereby limiting sales and production growth. The problem is not going away with estimates from the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council suggesting there will be 100,000 vacant jobs  in the agriculture sector by 2030.

Canada’s economy added a flat 27,000 jobs in May while unemployment ticked up to 6.2%

The Canadian economy added a flat 27,000 jobs in May, while unemployment inched up slightly to 6.2 per cent, Statistics Canada said Friday. Economists were expecting an average of 30,000 jobs to be added. Part-time employment was up by 62,000 positions and full-time employment declined, with a loss of 36,000 jobs.

Bank of Canada interest rate cuts have started: Can small businesses breathe a sigh of relief yet?

In its June 2024 interest rate announcement, the Bank of Canada lowered the policy rate by 25 basis points to 4.75%, after holding it at 5% since July 2023. This decision reflects the notable decrease in inflation as reported by Statistics Canada, which dropped to 2.7% in April 2024 ─ the Bank expects this trend will continue towards its 2% target. Although the interest rate reduction is a positive development, the situation remains challenging for Canada’s business owners.

Statistics Canada reports wholesale sales up 2.4% in April

Statistics Canada says wholesale sales, excluding petroleum, petroleum products, and other hydrocarbons and excluding oilseed and grain, rose 2.4 per cent to $83.3 billion in April.

Missed mortgage, credit payments in Canada hit pre-COVID highs

The financial burden on Canadian households intensified in the first quarter of 2024, with missed payments on mortgages and other forms of credit rising to pre-pandemic levels, according to Equifax Canada.

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