Canada

Canadian officials promised to do whatever it takes to support the nation’s resource-reliant economy in the face of a crushing blow from sharply lower energy prices and continuing pressure from the coronavirus epidemic.

Canadian economic data showed the country had another month of solid job and wage growth, while also offering clues about how the recent coronavirus outbreak could weigh on growth.

Canada’s central bank cut its benchmark overnight interest rate by a half percentage point and signaled it was open to further easing in response to mounting worries about the economic toll of the coronavirus epidemic.

A majority of economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal expect the Bank of Canada to cut interest rates this week in response to concerns over the impact of the coronavirus on financial markets and the global economy.

The Canadian economy barely grew in the final three months of 2019, as declines in exports and business investment contributed to the weakest quarter of activity in over three years.

Problems with the order entry system at the Toronto Stock Exchange brought an early end to the trading day in Canada on Thursday.

Canada’s Transport Minister said the country’s freight-rail traffic was “many, many weeks” away from a return to normal, after police dismantled a blockade by pipeline protesters that has been choking off east-west shipments.

As prices for Canada’s brand of heavy crude oil have plunged, more than a quarter of Calgary’s office space sits empty and the unemployment rate is the highest among the country’s largest cities.

Canadian police dismantled a rail blockade led by indigenous antipipeline protesters that had choked off passenger and freight-rail traffic for more than two weeks.

Canada’s annual inflation rate accelerated in January, driven by higher gasoline prices, although there are signs upward price pressure might be waning.

The government is lowering the minimum rate used in a test designed to prove a buyer can afford principal and interest payments if rates climb.

The Canadian government said it would pursue negotiations to end the blockades that have thwarted rail traffic across the country for more than a week.

Business groups and organized labor called on the Canadian government to intervene to stop the blockades, which involve protesters acting in solidarity with west coast indigenous leaders trying to stop construction of a natural-gas pipeline.

Employment in Canada rose in January at a solid pace and the jobless rate ticked down, offering some evidence the labor market is showing signs of a rebound after a slowdown late last year.

The Canadian economy expanded slightly in November on a strong advance in the utilities sector, mostly offsetting the previous month’s decline.

Canada’s Liberal government on Monday began the task of ratifying the revised North American trade deal, a process that could take months and force Prime Minister Justin Trudeau into some deal making with rivals to ensure quick passage

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