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Global supply chain problems look to set to worsen, a new report published on Tuesday said, as China's COVID-19 lockdowns, Russia's invasion of Ukraine and other strains cause even longer delays at ports and drive up costs, Reuters reported. The study by analysts at Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) found that one-fifth of the global container ship fleet was currently stuck in congestion at various major ports.
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The Cuban central bank issued regulations on Tuesday for virtual asset service providers, after giving a nod last year to the personal use of cryptocurrencies, a move some experts said could help the Communist-run Caribbean island skirt stiff U.S. sanctions, Reuters reported. Cryptocurrencies, which allow financial operations to be carried out anonymously in a decentralized manner, have been used in the past to get around capital controls, as well as to make payments and transfers more efficient.
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Canada plans to give itself the power to seize the assets of sanctioned Russian individuals and companies and use them to compensate victims of the war in Ukraine, Bloomberg News reported. The new measures will be included in the government’s budget legislation, meaning they are almost certain to pass in parliament by summer. Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said the law will be the first of its kind in the Group of Seven. Canada has now sanctioned more than 1,100 Russian individuals and companies since President Vladimir Putin’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.
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The Canadian dollar will remain at the center of the country's financial system, the central bank chief said on Monday, responding to questions about a Conservative leadership candidate's pledge to make the country the blockchain capital of the world, Reuters reported. "There are promising benefits from innovation in the financial sector. Having said that, we certainly expect the Canadian dollar will remain at the center of the Canadian financial system," Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem said in testimony before a committee of the House of Commons.
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Salvadoran bond spreads to U.S. Treasuries spiked on Monday by the most in nearly seven weeks a day after Congress approved a monthlong extension of emergency measures President Nayib Bukele has said are necessary after a surge of gang killings, Reuters reported. Human rights groups say the measures infringe civil liberties and Bukele's critics say his control over Congress and the Courts has brought a backsliding on democracy. Bond prices have been on a downward swing for most of the past year, since Bukele's first overt moves to oust critics.
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Mexico's economy is thought to have expanded between January and March for the first time in three quarters, driven by domestic consumption and a rebound in exports, a Reuters survey showed on Monday. Gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to have grown 1.1% in the first quarter from the previous three-month period in seasonally adjusted terms, according to the median forecast of 12 analysts polled. The economy posted no growth in the fourth quarter and shrunk by 0.7% in the third quarter of last year.
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The U.S. Department of Justice on Monday announced the indictment of two Europeans for allegedly conspiring with a recently sentenced American cryptocurrency researcher to help North Korea evade U.S. sanctions, Reuters reported. Alejandro Cao de Benos of Spain, who founded a pro-Pyongyang affinity organization, and Christopher Emms of Britain, a cryptocurrency businessman, were accused of recruiting the researcher Virgil Griffith to illegally provide cryptocurrency and blockchain technology services to North Korea. Both defendants are at large.
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Canada's annual inflation rate accelerated faster than expected in March, hitting a 31-year high amid broad price pressures, official data showed on Wednesday, pointing toward another oversized rate hike from the Bank of Canada in June, Reuters reported. The headline rate hit 6.7% in March, well above analyst expectations of 6.1% and a full percentage point higher than in February. It was the 12th consecutive month above the central bank's 1-3% control range and just short of the 6.9% hit in January 1991.
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Canadian home price and sales growth will moderate in the coming years from recent pandemic-era highs but stay elevated in 2022 as higher employment and immigration drive demand, the national housing agency said on Thursday, Reuters reported. Sales and price growth will continue to moderate more in line with historical averages by late 2023 or early 2024 amid higher mortgage rates but elevated price levels will persist, putting greater pressure on affordability for new homebuyers, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation said in its 2022-2024 market outlook.
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Mexico’s state-owned oil giant Petroleos Mexicanos will resume paying its debt maturities this year, ending a government policy of covering its amortizations to help the beleaguered driller shore up its finances, according to a Finance Ministry official, Bloomberg News reported. The Finance Ministry no longer needs to make debt payments because of the extra revenue Pemex is getting from higher oil prices, according to the official, who asked not to be named discussing a private matter.
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