William Huggins on Canada’s productivity problem

 This week, we’re revisiting an older episode of Free Lunch by The Peak where William Huggins from the DeGroote School of Business breaks down everything about productivity.  

Canadian pensions are in love with India

Canadian-Indian relations have been, shall we say, testy lately. But you wouldn’t know it from looking at the investments Canadian pension funds are making. 

What happened: The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP) will invest ~$107 million in Indian B2B fintech company Perfios, unlocking unicorn status. It’s the latest investment OTPP has made into an Indian startup since launching an Indian investment drive in 2022. 

Gold hits new highs and may not be done yet

Sure, it’s easy to poke fun at cheesy cash-for-gold infomercials, but maybe the Russell Olivers of the world knew something we didn’t about where gold prices were heading.

What happened: The price of gold reached a new all-time high of US$2,185 per ounce on Friday, part of a rally that’s seen gold’s value jump 30% since the end of 2022. 

Canadian businesses vs. Canadian pensions

If there’s one thing we all can agree on, it’s that in Canadian business, publishing an open letter to your enemies in a newspaper is one of the most dramatic things you can do. 

What happened: That’s exactly what over 90 business leaders from top Canadian companies did when they publicly asked the country’s finance ministers to devise new rules for pension funds to invest more in Canadian businesses. 

Rate cuts are on the horizon

“Babe, wake up, Tiff Macklem is dropping the rate decision today…,” if this isn’t how your partner woke you up this morning, let us get you up to speed. 

Driving the news: The Bank of Canada is widely expected to hold interest rates steady today for the fifth consecutive rate announcement. This is even as the inflation rate dropped to 2.9%, far from its 8.1% peak in 2022 and within the bank’s target range of 1% to 3%.

Banks are bracing against loan losses

Canadian Bank Earnings Week is under way, and while we admit it’s not as exhilarating as Shark Week, it can teach us some valuable lessons about the murky waters of the economy.

What happened: Quarterly earnings reports for Scotiabank and BMO showed that both banks are keeping more cash aside than analysts expected to cover loans that could go sour, known as loan loss provisions, continuing a trend of caution in a risky environment. 

Hot shot lawyers leave for greener pastures

Scores of Canadian lawyers have fled for the bright lights of New York in recent years, clearly inspired by the undying popularity of Suits.

Driving the news: The legal profession in Canada is recovering from a pandemic-era case of brain drain in which 100 to 150 mostly junior-level lawyers left Canada, per The Globe and Mail. These legal eagles mainly flew the coop from Toronto to New York City.

Why chocolate prices are high, and likely going higher

Got a sweet tooth? Now might be a good time to replenish your personal Strategic Chocolate Reserve, because already-high prices for cocoa-based treats are only going up.

Driving the news: The chocolate industry is grappling with a record-breaking shortfall in cocoa production that’s pushed wholesale cocoa prices to an all-time high of US$6,400 per tonne.

Brian Belski on where Canadian markets are heading

 On this week’s episode of Free Lunch by The Peak, Brian Belski, chief investment strategist at BMO Capital Markets, makes a case for why he’s bullish about the year ahead in markets.  

Maple syrup season is (already) here

Unseasonably warm weather isn’t just giving us a headstart on patio season, it's giving our prized maple syrup businesses a head start on their harvest.

Driving the news: Warmer temperatures have brought Canada’s maple syrup harvesting season early, with producers hoping to reach new production highs as the international demand for the golden liquid grows.