BITCOINS – WHAT ARE THEY?
- Bitcoins are a peer-to-peer currency that functions outside any banking authority and is not backed by any government. It is called a ‘cryptocurrency’ and exists as software that is designed to be untraceable.
- Payments are processed through private computers whose operators are rewarded with newly minted Bitcoins.
- Bitcoins are created at an ever-decreasing rate, and trade in an over the counter market. Recently Bitcoins rose 107% in one week to a high of $750.
- Both legitimate and illegitimate companies now use Bitcoins. Computer hackers are using Bitcoins; they hold their victims hostage to get there servers back and payment cannot be traced. Authorities are already seeing an increase in hacking with bitcoins used as payments.
- November 18th, the US Department of Justice said Bitcoins can be ‘legal means of exchange”.
NORTH AMERICAN ECONOMIC DATA
- October Canadian CPI declined 0.2% M/M taking the annual inflation rate to 0.7%, the lowest since May.
- September Canadian retail sales rose 1% to $40.7 billion on the back of a 4.1% increase in sales of vehicles and vehicle parts. Gasoline sales rose 0.8%. Excluding vehicle sales, growth was flat.
- Alberta set another record high for September retail sale,s ringing up over $6.2 billion in purchases, up 2% M/M and up 5.8% Y/Y.
- OECD is calling for the Bank of Canada (BOC) to more than double rates to 2.25% by 2015 but BOC Governor Stephen Poloz says “substantial stimulus is appropriate” and he is maintaining the current interest rate policy.
- September US Producer Prices fell 0.2% M/M on lower gasoline prices.
- Sluggish demand is keeping inflation under control which reduces the pressure on the Federal Reserve to start tapering their $85 billion / month bond buying program.
- Canadian Western Bank was once again recognized as one of “Canada’s 10 Most Admired Corporate Cultures”.
- Canada’s construction sector now represents 7.1% of Canadian economic output, up from 5.2% in 2000. A slow-down in construction will cost thousands of jobs.
- Interprovincial migration has hit its highest level in almost 25 years. Most are heading to Alberta and Saskatchewan, and leaving BC, Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada. Inward migration to Alberta has surged to more than 50,000 or 1.3% of the population.
- China and Europe have started to develop a bilateral trade agreement expect to reach $1 trillion by 2020, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said.
- WTO is poised to seal the first global trade deal in more than a decade. It could add about $1 trillion to annual global trade, now worth more than $18 trillion.