Daily Pulse

By Michel Doucet Monday, March 20, 2017

Canada

Canada’s Finance Minister is sticking by his pledge to lower the nation’s debt ratio, signaling the government won’t push much deeper into deficit when it delivers its budget this week. Bill Morneau said he remains committed to the notion a falling level of debt relative to the total size of the economy shows fiscal prudence. The country’s low growth, along with new spending on infrastructure and transfer payments, has forced the government to abandon other fiscal pledges.

Billionaire Dennis Washington went public with a $1.1 billion offer for Canada’s Dominion Diamond Corp. after weeks of private talks hit an impasse. Closely held Washington Cos. made the proposal to acquire Dominion Diamond for $13.50 a share on Feb. 21. Dominion’s board has stalled on the offer, Washington Cos. said in a statement Sunday. The bid carried a 36 percent premium to Dominion’s closing price on Friday.

Money managers cut bets on rising West Texas Intermediate crude by a record amount during the week ended March 14, while wagers on a further price drop doubled as oil remained below $50 a barrel.

United-States

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called for a concerted effort to defend free trade, expanding the list of economic powers joining together to counter the U.S. shift toward protectionism.

Europe

Vodafone Group Plc agreed to merge its Indian unit withIdea Cellular Ltd., joining forces with a local partner to confront a raging price war in the world’s second-largest mobile-phone market. The transaction moves an unprofitable business off Vodafone’s balance sheet while providing cost savings that will help the merged company, valued at $23.2 billion, better compete with billionaire Mukesh Ambani. Ambani’s Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd. stormed into the market last year by offering free calls and data, pressuring other carriers to consolidate.

Deutsche Bank is raising 8 billion euros by issuing new shares at 11.65 euros apiece, the bank said Sunday, a discount of about 35 percent from Friday’s close. The bank said previously that the move would boost its common equity Tier 1 ratio, a key benchmark of financial strength, to 14.1 percent from 11.9 percent at the end of 2016. It vowed to keep it “comfortably above” 13 percent.

Asia

The dollar fell with macro funds buying the yen as a haven asset after finance chiefs dropped references to resist trade protectionism after the Group-of-20’s weekend meeting.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson used a 24-hour trip to Beijing to smooth the way for an expected meeting next month between the leaders of the world’s biggest economies, amid tensions over trade policy and North Korea.

The author

Michel Doucet
Michel Doucet
Vice-President and Portfolio Manager