Five Canadian business stories to watch this week

Gas price
Gas price

Up, up and don’t go away: Canadian gas prices, which tend to rise ahead of long weekends like Labour Day, have faced additional pressure from Hurricane Harvey, which has battered the U.S. Gulf Coast, where many oil refineries have been shuttered due to storm-related flooding. Analysts say prices could rise further as the extent of the damage becomes better known and as supply will continue to be squeezed going forward.

Back in NAFTA (negotiations, anyway): A second round of negotiations got off to a tense start Friday in Mexico City after U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to pull the trigger for his country to exit the deal. Mexico responded with a message that if he did, it would not be opposed to walking as well. Canada is playing the nice-guy-stuck-in-the-middle role with Trudeau reiterating his optimism that the others won’t pack up their toys and leave.

Thanks a lot, strong economy: Only a few months after the Bank of Canada raised interest rates for the first time in seven years, expectations are solidifying around the belief that the pesky central bank will decide to do so again as early as this week. Homeowners can thank the impressive rate of economic growth of 4.5 per cent that Canada reported in the second quarter for that, helping the economy to see its best start to a year since 2002.

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Hot or not? The real estate boards from the country’s two hottest housing markets will report sales figures for August this week and many sellers and real estate agents are holding their breaths to look for any signs of a bounce back after recent government actions to slow the market, including that interest rate hike in July. Bidding wars have calmed and the big question mark is whether prices will follow.

Jobs for all! With the economy booming, many are optimistic Canada could soon hit “full employment” as Canadians have been scooping up jobs at an increasing pace. In July, the unemployment rate dropped to its lowest point since the start of the financial crisis nearly nine years ago. On Friday, the latest jobs numbers from August will be released.

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