The Big Three: Freeland slams tariffs in Washington; Italy may not ratify CETA; Comcast bids for Fox
It was a sharp study in contrasts on trade tension yesterday in Washington, D.C. On the one hand, the world’s most influential central banker refused to argue with empirical data.
“You’re beginning to hear reports of companies holding off on making investments and hiring people. Right now, we don’t see that in the numbers at all. The economy is very strong,” U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said after his bank raised its benchmark rate range.
On the other hand, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland amped up her attack on the White House’s decision to label Canada a national security threat.
“The 232 tariffs introduced by the United States are illegal … they are protectionism, pure and simple … they are a naked example of the United States putting its thumb on the scale in violation of the very rules it helped to write,” she said in a keynote last night after being honoured as Foreign Policy’s Diplomat of the Year.
This morning we’ll focus on whether Canada has any hope of leverage in trade discussions so long as the world’s largest economy is humming along.
CETA HITS HURDLE IN ITALY
We've monitored Italy's attempt to cobble together a government as a market risk. Now it's turning into an impediment for one of Canada's most important trade deals. "We will not ratify the free-trade treaty with Canada because it protects only a small part of our [protected] products," newly-minted Agriculture Minister Gian Marco Centinaio is quoted as telling La Stampa. We’ll look into what this means practically speaking since the deal is already provisionally in force.
The European Central Bank has mapped out its plan to end QE. The central bank said today it will continue asset purchases at the current 30-billion euro monthly pace until end of September and then "subject to incoming data" it will slash purchases to 15 billion until the end of December before pulling the plug on QE. We'll gather market reaction.
DODGE WARNS ON TRANS MOUNTAIN PROTESTS
We’ve heard warnings about civil disobedience when Trans Mountain expansion construction resumes, but former Bank of Canada Governor David Dodge is taking it to another level. “We’re going to have some very unpleasant circumstances,” Dodge is quoted by The Calgary Herald as saying yesterday in Edmonton. “There are some people that are going to die in protesting construction of this pipeline.”
DAVIDsTEA PROXY FIGHT
We’re waiting to find out if Herschel Segal, the tea retailer’s co-founder, is successful in his bid to sweep out the company’s board. The annual meeting gets going at 9:30 a.m. ET in Montreal. Keep in mind, the stock went public in mid-2015 at US$19/share. Hasn’t traded at or above that level since July 27, 2015.
OTHER NOTABLE STORIES
-CMHC argued in a new report today there’s only a low likelihood of a “serious price correction” in Ontario housing
-We’ll take a closer look at life after CCCI for Aecon today. This morning it announced it’s in a joint-venture that won a $475-million contract from Bruce Power. And worth noting yesterday it was upgraded by Raymond James, whose analyst says it’s “time to reload” on ARE shares.
-Bombardier announced a number of senior management changes today, including Jim Vounassis’s appointment as COO of the company’s transportation division.
-Saudi Oil Minister Khalid Al-Falih said today it's "inevitable" OPEC and non-cartel members will agree to gradually ramp production in a way that "satisfies, most importantly, the market"
-Yesterday in this space we asked about next dominoes to fall after AT&T was cleared to buy Time Warner. Sure enough, after the bell yesterday Comcast confirmed it’s trying to bust up Disney’s deal with 21st Century Fox. Fox said in a release it will carefully review Comcast’s US$35/share all-cash offer.
-Big win for Elon Musk’s Boring Company, which has been selected to build a high-speed transit link between Chicago’s Loop and O’Hare airport.
-Notable earnings: Transat
-Notable data: Canadian national balance sheet and financial flow accounts, Canadian new housing price index, U.S. retail sales, China retail sales and industrial production
-7:45 a.m. ET: European Central Bank releases interest rate decision (plus news conference at 0830)
-8:15 a.m. Et: CMHC releases report on Ontario price trends
-8:20 a.m. ET: Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna announces new regulations to reduce emissions from transportation sector
-9:30 a.m. ET: DavidsTea holds annual meeting
-1:00 p.m. ET: IMF releases annual review of U.S. economy
-2:00 p.m. ET: Onex holds investor day
-4:00 p.m. ET: Ontario Premier-Elect Doug Ford meets in Toronto with Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and Ambassador David MacNaughton (photo op before meeting starts)
-5:00 p.m. ET: Ford, Freeland hold media avail in Toronto
Every morning BNN's Managing Editor Noah Zivitz writes a ‘chase note’ to BNN Bloomberg's editorial staff listing the stories and events that will be in the spotlight that day. Have it delivered to your inbox before the trading day begins by heading to www.bnnbloomberg.ca/subscribe.