Hey you! Btchcoin is back. Did you miss us?
Thank you to our amazing subscribers for sticking with us through our summer hiatus/vacay. We can’t wait to be sliding back into your inbox every Monday with the latest in Canadian economic and financial news.
– xo, Claire, Erin, and the Btchcoin team.
ICYMI: Quick Hits from the Summer
By Nabeela Jivraj
1. Ex-Finance Minister Bill Morneau resigned amidst the WE Charity Scandal, and Deputy PM Chrystia Freeland was named the first female Finance Minister soon after. As for WE? Craig and Marc Kielburger have announced they’ll be closing shop in Canada, and focusing the charity’s efforts elsewhere.
2. Stonks: They only go UP! The S&P 500 market index has seen record highs, fuelled in part by pandemic stimulus efforts to safeguard large corporations and financial markets, crowding of tech stocks, and an influx of newbie investors.
But the contrast between the stock market and real life is… stark. Stock ownership is concentrated with the wealthy, and these indexes don’t fully reflect the enduring effects of mass unemployment and rising inequality on many workers’ lives.
3. Stonks pt. II: Stock markets might not reflect economic reality, but still, we’re keeping an eye on them. Apple’s stock split prompted a reshuffle: oil giant Exxon was dropped from the Dow Jones (which measures 30 large corportations), after a run of 92 (yes, ninety-two) years on the index – leaving Chevron as the only energy stock on the list.
Elsewhere, Tesla stock continues to be extremely volatile. After it’s stock split last month, some expected Tesla to be included on the S&P 500 this quarter, which would have required portfolio managers to buy additional Tesla shares. The S&P decided to pass. Soon after, Tesla stock suffered its worst single-day losses in history. Despite this, Tesla shares have nearly quadrupled in value this year.
Interest Rates Are (not) Interesting.
… but they ARE important.
By Claire Robbins
On Wednesday, the Bank of Canada’s brand-new Governor, Tiff Macklem, announced that the policy interest rate will remain unchanged at 0.25%, signalling that the Bank thinks Canada’s economy will continue to slow.
For background, the Bank of Canada’s policy interest rate helps determine the interest rates banks will charge their customers. Back in March, the policy interest rate was 1.75%. But once the pandemic hit, and the economy began to falter, the bank successively lowered the rate down to today’s 0.25%, where it has stood since March 27th.
Why keep it so low? When interest rates are low, businesses and people are encouraged to take out loans and spend money, which stimulates the economy.
In his statement, Macklem noted that the current recession has been long and “uneven”, and that 3 million Canadians are out of work.
But with a near-zero interest rate, the Bank has very little wiggle room in terms of monetary policy if things get worse.
Disclaimer: This does not mean your credit card interest rate has changed. We know, we’re sorry too.
Canada Makes Money Moves to Address Anti-Black Racism
By Cydney Link-Melnyk
Last week, PM Justin Trudeau announced a federal loan program for Black entrepreneurs and business owners in an effort to address Anti-Black racism in Canada.
The new program, which will work to advance Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy, includes several initiatives, one of which will assist Black business owners to access loans with national banks. Over the next four years, the program will receive $93 million from the federal government and $128 million from eight financial institutions —think the Big Five banks: RBC, BMO, Scotiabank, TD, and CIBC.
A letter issued from the Prime Minister’s Office explains how the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened existing systemic barriers faced by Black owned businesses in Canada, and systemic racism is cited as one of the biggest factors obstructing Black businesses access to capital.
The creation of equal economic opportunities, including access to financial institutions for black owned businesses, was one of the calls for government action issued in a statement by the Parliamentary Black Caucus in June.
The new program will offer the following to Black business owners and entrepreneurs in Canada:
- New National Ecosystem Fund: will give access to funding and capital, mentorship, financial planning services, and business training.
- New Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund: in partnership with financial institutions, this initiative will provide loans ranging from $25,000 to $250,000
- New Black Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub: led by Black community and business organizations, this initiative will collect data to help identify barriers to success and opportunities for growth for Black entrepreneurs.