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Noah Zivitz

Managing Editor, BNN Bloomberg

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This is shaping up to be a crucial week for the Bank of Canada ahead of its rate decision next Wednesday. Today we’ll get a crucial gauge of corporate sentiment with the release of a new Business Outlook Survey. And later this week we’ll see the December consumer price index, wherein economists are expecting year-over-year inflation accelerated to 4.8 per cent, which would be the fastest since September 1991. Good opportunity here to point out that the 10-year Government of Canada bond yield climbed as high 1.795 per cent today. It hasn’t breached 1.8 per cent since November.

DEBT PLAGUES CANADIAN HOUSEHOLDS

The latest quarterly report from MNP is painting a bleak picture of Canadians’ financial flexibility to deal with basic life expenses, let alone the unexpected. Fifty-five per cent of respondents to the survey said they can comfortably cover the cost of living this year, down five percentage points from the prior survey. Meanwhile, more than four-in-ten respondents (43 per cent) said they’re concerned about their debt levels. Which makes you wonder about the consequences when the Bank of Canada raises rates.

TRUCKER UPDATE

We’ve got a pair of industry executives lined up today for real-time progress reports on how they’re managing the new border requirements and other complications facing Canada’s supply chain. Bison Transport CEO Rob Penner joins us at 10:40 a.m., and Mullen Group CEO Murray Mullen is lined up for 1:30 p.m.

CHINA SLOWDOWN

In the face of slowing growth, the People’s Bank of China cut a key interest rate overnight for the first time since early in the pandemic. The looser policy comes as fresh data show the country’s economy grew four per cent year-over-year in the fourth quarter, down almost a full percentage point from the third quarter. Nonetheless, China’s full-year growth of 8.1 per cent still makes it the envy of developed economies.

ENCOURAGING WORDS FROM PFIZER’S CEO

“We will soon be able to resume a normal life.” That’s what Albert Bourla said in an interview with Le Figaro. “We are well positioned to get there in the spring thanks to all the tools at our disposal,” he added, bringing a bit of optimism to the conversation about COVID-19 as the virus continues to strain health care systems.

OTHER NOTABLE STORIES

  • Canaccord Genuity announced preliminary results for its latest quarter that are significantly ahead of estimates thanks to M&A mandates and new issuance in the sectors it caters to. The financial firm said it’s on pace for $0.69 in adjusted earnings per share on $550 million in revenue. The average estimates are for $0.49 and $474 million.
  • The chief medical officers of Air Canada, WestJet and Toronto Pearson have released an open letter calling on Canada to drop its mandatory COVID testing requirement at airports so that the PCR kits can be reallocated.
  • GlaxoSmithKline said on Saturday it received, and rejected, three unsolicited takeover proposals from Uniliver for its consumer healthcare business, which is a joint venture with Pfizer. The business is home to brands including Advil, Aquafresh toothpaste, and Tums. Unilever shares have been down as much as seven per cent in London, while Glaxo rallied as much as 5.9 per cent.
  • Credit Suisse is facing another round of turmoil after António Horta-Osório was replaced as chairman barely a year after being named to the post. His exit was put in motion after running afoul of COVID-19 quarantine rules.

NOTABLE RELEASES/EVENTS

  • Notable data: Canadian manufacturing sales, international securities transactions, and existing home sales
  • 1030: AGT Foods President Murad Al-Katib makes announcement alongside Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, Federated Co-operatives Limited CEO Scott Banda, Regina Mayor Sandra Masters
  • 1030: Bank of Canada releases Business Outlook Survey and Survey of Consumer Expectations
  • 1430: House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance hearing "Inflation in the Current Canadian Economy"