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Daily Pulse

Canada

WestJet Airlines Ltd. said it would reduce capacity by a further 30 per cent in February and March, affecting the jobs or pay of roughly 1,000 employees and bringing the number of domestic and international flights it operates down to levels not seen in almost 20 years. The cuts come after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government ordered travelers to present a recent negative COVID-19 test before being allowed to board flights into Canada. The new rules took effect Thursday. After that requirement was announced, the Calgary-based company saw “significant reductions in new bookings and unprecedented cancellations,” WestJet Chief Executive Officer Ed Sims said.

United-States

This link will open in a new tab. JPMorgan Chase and This link will open in a new tab. Citigroup were among the first major financial firms to say they will pause political action committee donations after followers of This link will open in a new tab. President Trump laid siege on the U.S. Capitol last week. JPMorgan, the biggest U.S. bank by assets, is pausing contributions for both Republicans and Democrats for “at least” the next six months, according to spokesman Steve O’Halloran. The New York-based bank will use that time to consider potential changes to its political-donation strategies. Spurred on by the Jan. 6 riots in which five people lost their lives, corporations including This link will open in a new tab. Marriott International and the Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance group have said they would stop giving money to Republican lawmakers who backed efforts to disrupt the certification of President-elect This link will open in a new tab. Joe Biden’s victory. But banks, rather than targeting and potentially alienating members of the Republican party, have instead moved to halt donations to all lawmakers, for now at least.

Twitter Inc. shares fell 7 per cent in pre-market trading after the social media platform permanently banned outgoing President Donald Trump. The company confirmed its decision in a blog post on Friday, saying Trump’s tweets breached policies by risking incitement to violence. It cited his posts on the riots in the U.S. capital last week. It’s a watershed moment for technology platforms that have faced conflicting pressures on one hand to restrict misinformation and hate speech, and defend free speech on the other. Mirabaud analyst Neil Campling said the ban shows the company is making editorial decisions, and opens the door to more regulation of social media under the next administration.

Europe

France is currently lagging far behind other European nations with its This link will open in a new tab. Covid-19 vaccine rollout, which could potentially hurt the re-election chances of President This link will open in a new tab. Emmanuel Macron. As of Friday, 80,000 French citizens had been vaccinated against the coronavirus so far. In comparison, neighboring Germany has done hundreds of thousands of inoculations. The success or failure in vaccinating the population will likely shape the political debate as the campaign for the 2022 presidential race heats up in the coming months. Macron stood neck-a-neck with far-right leader Marine Le Pen in an opinion poll published in October. Red tape has been the main reason for the delays. Citizens have had to get a pre-vaccination consultation and get consent from their doctor before a jab. Reports from the country also suggest there is high anti-vaccine sentiment across the population, when compared to other nations.

Asia

Chinese internet giant This link will open in a new tab. Baidu has formed a strategic partnership with automaker This link will open in a new tab. Geely to create a standalone electric vehicle unit, the companies confirmed on Monday. The new unit will operate as an independent subsidiary of Baidu, the company said on Monday. Beijing-headquartered Baidu will be the majority shareholder while Chinese automaker Geely will take a minority stake, the person told CNBC. Hong Kong-listed shares of Geely were up slightly by 0.45% on Monday, after soaring nearly 20% on Friday. Baidu’s U.S.-listed shares were up over 15% at the close of trade on Friday.

China’s producer price index fell 0.4% in December as compared to a year earlier, according to the country’s Bureau of Statistics. That was a smaller decline than the 0.8% fall expected in a median forecast of a Reuters poll. Meanwhile, China’s consumer price index rose 0.2% year-on-year in December, against expectations of a 0.1% increase in a Reuters poll.

The author

Michel Doucet

Michel Doucet

Vice-President and Portfolio Manager
After obtaining a Bachelor's degree from the Faculty of Social Sciences at the Université du Québec in Montréal and his Master’s degree, Michel Doucet began his career as a junior economist at the National Bank head office in Montreal. In 1992 he joined the institutional equities and fixed income group at Lévesque Beaubien Geoffrion as an economist and market analyst. Over the years, he has led various projects related to the North American and international economies as well as Canadian public finances. In 1996, the team of institutional economists to which he belongs was ranked first in Canada by Brendan Wood International. In August 1997, Mr. Doucet joined the personal services division of Lévesque Beaubien Geoffrion where he served as an economist, fixed income market analyst and vice president. In 2004, he joined the Desjardins Securities full service team as Vice President. He now occupies the roles of fixed income strategist, economist and portfolio manager. He manages the Securities Portfolio Advisory Group, advisor marketing and distribution of financial planning and insurance.