Dec. 13, 2019

CANADA

  • Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced his plan to gradually increase the basic personal income tax deduction by about 20% over the next 4 years. The basic personal income tax deduction will be phased out for higher income earners. The government hopes the plan will be in place for January 1, 2020.
    • Those earning under $150,000 will save $300 / year in taxes after 2023.
    • Those earning over $150,000 will pay in excess of $6,150 more in tax after 2023.
  • Canadians are working many extra hours before and after vacations:
    • 66% say they do extra work before and after vacations.
    • 60% “check in with work” during vacation and 39% do so multiple times or daily.
    • 52% do not take their full vacation allotment and 22% say they do not take all their vacation because their workload is too high.
  • Alberta’s merchandise exports to other countries were down 0.3% YTD 2019.
    • Foreign sales of oil and gas were up 0.2% YTD, $142.4 million value.
    • Canola exports were down 36.3% YTD, $539.5 million value.
    • Wheat exports were down 8.6% YDT, $162.6 million value.
    • Chemical manufacturing declined 12.1% or $932.8 million and plastic manufacturing also down 12.1% YTD, $41.8 million value.
    • Animal exports rose 36.5% or $189.7 million, mining up 146.6% or $142.4 million, food manufacturing up 7% or $329.9 million, petroleum products up 10.5% or $373.5 million and machinery up 19.2% or $469.6 million.
  • Unemployment rate among young men in Alberta is nearly 20%, close to 1983 levels.
  • Premier Jason Kenney’s “war room” officially launched to combat “misinformation about Alberta’s energy industry”.
  • Ottawa will impose its ‘consumer carbon tax’ in Alberta on January 1 and has approved Alberta’s proposal for an ‘industrial carbon tax’.

TRADE

  • US and China have announced a ‘Phase 1’ trade deal. Reporting suggests that some US tariffs will be reduced and that China has agreed to buy more agricultural products. Official signing date is not yet been determined.
  • USMCA (new NAFTA) was approved this week; however, ratification by the 3 governments will not likely occur before January.
  • WTO ban on tariffs for digital trade has been extended until June 2020.
  • Boris Johnson and the UK conservative party won a resounding majority. Brexit is anticipated to occur by January 31, 2020. Boris Johnson and President Trump are talking about ‘doing’ a massive trade deal.

TIDBITS

  • Researchers at the University of Toronto have found that disrupted sleep may lead to impaired thinking and dementia in older adults.
  • AB InBev will sell CBD infused tea in Canada when edibles and beverages become legal next week.
  • Europe launched ‘Green Deal’ as a major step toward committing the EU to climate neutrality by 2050.
  • Apple is taking delivery this month of the first batch of “carbon-free aluminum” produced by Montreal’s Elysis, a joint venture of Rio Tinto and Alcoa.
  • Rolls-Royce is pitching nuclear reactors as the most effective way of powering the production of carbon-neutral synthetic aviation fuel without draining global electricity grids.
  • H&M is teaming up with China’s Ycloset to try renting out clothes as environmentally conscious consumers rein in purchases.
  • A judge in Texas has banned President Trump from building the border wall with military funds.