Canada

An increasing number of Canadians can’t meet their financial obligations, another sign rising borrowing costs are taking a toll on household balance sheets, Bloomberg News reported. The number of consumers seeking debt relief jumped 5.1 percent to 11,320 in November from a year earlier, the Ottawa-based Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy reported on Jan. 4. October and November combined saw 22,961 consumer insolvency filings, the most for those two months since at least 2011.

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The latest figures from the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy Canada show the number of Canadian businesses and consumers financially going under jumped significantly in November compared to a year ago, Globalnews.ca reported. Alberta had some of the highest number of consumer insolvencies. Donna Carson, a financial insolvency trustee with MNP Ltd. Calgary, said she wasn’t surprised. “We’ve been seeing spikes in insolvencies in Alberta for the last two-and-a-half years or so,” Carson said on Friday.

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U.S. cannabis retailer Green Growth Brands Ltd. is planning to launch a hostile takeover bid for Aphria Inc. that values the Canadian marijuana producer at almost C$2.8 billion ($2.1 billion), Bloomberg News reported. Columbus, Ohio-based Green Growth plans to offer C$11 per share in an all-stock bid for Aphria, according to a statement Thursday. That’s a 46 percent premium over Aphria’s closing price on Monday.

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Tougher rules for new borrowers, rising mortgage rates and new taxes for home buyers have been put in place by Canadian regulators in recent years to tame some of the most overheated housing markets in the developed world. But they have also shut prospective homeowners out of the market, the Wall Street Journal reported. That has slowed sales in cities like Toronto and Vancouver in recent months, prompting some to call for Canada to loosen the restrictions lest they brake the economy too much.

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People who make a living guiding others through bankruptcy in Canada say they’ve never been busier, Bloomberg News reported. Record debt burdens, rising borrowing costs and, in some cases, bigger payday loans are driving many Canadians to seek relief, according to several licensed insolvency trustees who spoke to Bloomberg. They say November was their busiest on record, and December -- typically a slow time of year in the insolvency trade -- hasn’t let up.

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Canada’s government is trying to minimize the economic and political fallout from depressed western Canadian crude oil prices, and its latest bid is a financial package for the country’s struggling energy sector, the Wall Street Journal reported. A package of financing and incentives totaling 1.6 billion Canadian dollars ($1.20 billion) emerges at a time of deep discontent in western Canada, from political leaders and residents, over the federal government’s failure to get new pipeline infrastructure built.

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Miniso Canada says it has reached a preliminary agreement with Miniso Guangzhou LLC in a case that has threatened to force the Chinese discount retailer's Canadian operations into bankruptcy, the Canadian Press reported. In a statement posted to its Instagram page on Monday evening, Miniso Canada said the two parties are currently in the process of settling their business issues and finalizing details on the agreement. Miniso Canada's remarks stemmed from a Dec.

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Venezuela is facing the possible unraveling of a pair of billion-dollar settlements aimed at protecting the cash-strapped country’s U.S.-based Citgo Petroleum Corp from seizure by creditors. A lawyer for Canadian mining company Crystallex International Corp said on Tuesday Venezuela had breached the $1.4 billion November agreement that resolved a long-running fight over an expropriated gold mine. Separately, Venezuela’s $1.3 billion settlement in October with Rusoro Mining of Vancouver, also over expropriated mining assets, has been upended by U.S.

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Insolvencies filed by Canadian consumers jumped by the most in two years amid signs recent interest rate increases are filtering through to the economy, Bloomberg News reported. Insolvencies climbed to 11,641 in October, an increase of 9.2 percent from a year earlier, according to a report from the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy Canada. Insolvencies surged 16 percent from September, and are 1.5 percent higher than 2017 on a year-to-date basis.

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Canada kept interest rates on hold on Wednesday, as a recent spate of disappointing economic readings and the renewed sell-off in crude prompted policymakers to take a more cautious stance, the Financial Times reported. The Bank of Canada held its benchmark rate steady at a 10-year high of 1.75 per cent, as widely expected. However the Canadian dollar slumped to trade 1 per cent lower at C$1.3397 per dollar — the lowest since June 2017 — as policymakers warned that the economy could be heading for a slowdown in the fourth quarter.

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