Five Canadian business stories to watch this week

An update on federal finances, an interest rate announcement and bank earnings are among the events expected to make headlines in the days ahead


Paint the books red: Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the former Wall Street trader turned author and academic, is reported to have said: “Deficits are like putting dynamite in the hands of children. They can get out of control very quickly.” We’ll get a preliminary look this week at how deeply red the federal government books are when the Finance Department releases its fiscal monitor for the 2016-17 fiscal year.

Every vote counts: The fate of the $7.4-billion Trans Mountain expansion could rest on the outcome of two B.C. election recounts to take place from Monday to Wednesday. The Liberals, who support the project, were one seat shy of a majority after the May 9 vote, leaving the anti-pipeline Greens holding the balance of power.

Stuck at 0.5%: The Bank of Canada’s key interest rate target has been stuck at 0.5 per cent for two years and that’s not expected to change with the central bank’s announcement come Wednesday. There’s been some good economic news in recent months, but inflation remains subdued and that’s the key for the central bank.

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Big bank blues: Normally the quarterly earnings from Canada’s big banks are cause for celebration for investors, with record profits and dividend hikes keeping them happy. But this week they come out against the backdrop of a credit downgrade from Moody’s Investors Service due to worries about rising house prices and consumer debt. BMO kicks it off Wednesday with their second-quarter results, followed by TD, Royal Bank and CIBC the next day.

The Sicilian summit: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau flies to Taormina, Italy, for the G7 Leaders’ Summit, which runs from Friday to Saturday. U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to dominate the meeting as he attends the event for the first time.

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