Feb. 14, 2020

CANADA’S RAIL STRIKE

  • CN Rail has temporarily shut down parts of its network as anti-pipeline protestors are blocking the railways.
  • Over 400 trains have been cancelled this week. Impact of the stoppage is compounding daily.
  • The coast-to-coast network is at risk of being shut down. VIA rail has cancelled most trains nationwide.
  • CN is warning of temporary layoffs. Teamsters Canada expects the shutdown to result in 6,000 layoffs.
  • Shipments of food, grain, propane, construction materials in addition to natural resources like timber, aluminum, coal and oil have all been stopped.
  • The cost, so far, to the grain industry is over $10,000,000 in just a few days.
  • Factories and mines may have to decide if they can continue to operate if the shut-down persists.
  • Companies are curtailing production and are running out of storage space, plus have lost sales.
  • It takes 3 trucks to replace the carrying capacity of 1 rail car.
  • In BC, commuters, rail and port operations have all been impeded.
  • Prime Minister Trudeau says there’s ‘no quick fix’ to the dispute.

AMERICAN MOTHERS ARE DYING BECAUSE OF THE US HEALTHCARE SYSTEM

  • US maternal deaths are 4 to 6 times higher than in many European countries.
  • Problem is tied to rising cardiovascular disease. Pregnancy puts an enormous stress on the cardiovascular system.
  • 17.4 of 100,000 births or 658 women die per year with a rate of 14.7 per 100,000 for white women and 37.4 for African American Women, according to CDC.

LEGER CANADIAN RETIREMENT SURVEY

  • Nearly 50% of Canadians have delayed saving for retirement or have not started at all.
    • 50% of age 35-53; 54% age 18-34 and 36% age 55 and over
    • Cause is stated as high cost of living, cost of raising children, student debt
    • 29% age 18-34 said they were responsible for both their parents and their children
  • Deadline for RRSP contributions for the 2019 tax year is March 2, 2020.

UNITED STATES

  • US job openings fell by 400,000 to the lowest level since 2017; job vacancies no longer outnumber job seekers. Manufacturing vacancies declined 24% Y/Y.
  • Number of US tax refunds are down almost 5% Y/Y but the average refund is up $3 to $1,952.
  • US treasury sold 30-year bonds at a record low yield of 2.061% this week, previous low yield was 2.17% (Oct 2019).
  • US Senate voted to curb President Trump’s ability to take military action against Iran, unless Congress declares war or authorized the use of force. President Trump has said he will veto the legislation.
  • US charges Hauwei with racketeering for stealing trade secrets, increasing the potential punishment.
    • US also claims that Hauwei did business in North Korea

ALBERTA PROVINCIAL BUDGET

  • Province of Alberta budget will be tabled on February 27, 2020.