These are stories Report on Business is following Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014.
Toronto the (insert word here)
The New Yorker has taken a look at the need for cities to have logos, with Toronto and its scandal-plagued mayor front and centre.
The article published last week, pegged on a Globe and Mail project that involved new concepts from several designers, of course took a shot at Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, his crack scandal and other shenanigans.
How can you not, right?
"There's a kind of cognitive dissonance to Ford's association with Toronto, long seen as a stylish, cosmopolitan city - sort of like seeing a Tiffany & Co. next to a saloon with boarded-up windows," said the publication, citing as the most famous logo New York's "I (heart) NY" design.
All of which got me imagining the possibilities of updated Toronto logos and mottos, including trying to draw a line at the border of Etobicoke, where the mayor was born before several municipalities merged with the city to become the current megacity:
Toronto: Etobicoke isn't really Toronto
Toronto: Stratford is 2 hours that way, so Justin Bieber isn't from here
Toronto: Our subway is so popular, it's standing room only
Toronto: Home to the world's tallest phallic symbol
Toronto: Explore our great city. You'll have to, to find a parking spot
Toronto: You can pee anywhere. The mayor does
Toronto: Where 401 isn't a retirement plan. But where you have enough time to plan your retirement when you're stuck in traffic on it
Toronto: Where bank bonuses aren't government-regulated
Toronto: No flyers! And soon, no mail either
Toronto: Where there's no housing bubble. Everything's fine. Nothing to see
Toronto: Home of the scenic, three-hour Don Valley Parkway tour
Toronto: Home of the Stanley Cup (almost half a century ago, but 2017 is ours)
- Dave McGinn: Eight designers offer up new logos for the City of Toronto
- Dave McGinn: Toronto's new logo: Here's your choice
- The New Yorker: What's the point of city logos?
Markets await budget
Canadians can expect to see a tame federal budget this afternoon, but one with some interesting tidbits.
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's budget after markets close is expected to legislate against "country pricing," moving to calm the waters over the consumer price gap between Canada and the United States, The Globe and Mail's Bertrand Marotte, Bill Curry and Steven Chase report.
There are questions surrounding that approach, however, amid a slumping currency.
"The question is how effective will legislation be on this front, let alone whether this is an appropriate tack in a free-market economy," said chief economist Douglas Porter of BMO Nesbitt Burns.
Senior economist Sonya Gulati also noted the "intense" competition among retailers already, and wondered how Mr. Flaherty's move could play into that.
Over all, the government is expected to stick to its plans in the run-up to an election.
"With fiscal performance year-to-date showing a modest deterioration from the same period in fiscal 2012/13, expenditure restraint is likely to supersede the introduction of new initiatives, with the latter expected to instead be a prominent feature in future budgets, likely in 2015/16 when the budget balance will return to surplus," said economist Laura Cooper of Royal Bank of Canada.
- Bertrand Marotte: Slumping loonie could crimp Ottawa’s plan to lower consumer prices
- Bill Curry and Steven Chase: Federal budget to target firms that charge more for consumer goods in Canada
- Steven Chase: Tories’ new budget to close program giving investors path to citizenship
- Campbell Clark in Politics Insider (for subscribers): How Harper’s economic reputation could become his vital weakness
Yellen signals slow tapering
Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen says the U.S. central bank is unfazed by tumult in international financial markets, at least for now, The Globe and Mail's Kevin Carmichael reports.
"We have been watching closely the recent volatility in global financial markets," Ms. Yellen said in prepared testimony that the Fed released ahead of her appearance today at the House Financial Services Committee.
"Our sense is the that at this stage these developments do not pose a substantial risk to the U.S. outlook. We will, of course, continue to monitor the situation."
The remark signals the Fed will press on with its plan to slowly wind down its monthly purchases of financial assets, a policy known as quantitative easing, or QE. That decision, taken under former chairman Ben Bernanke in December, has at least partially contributed to the volatility, as international investors rethink where to deploy their money.
- Kevin Carmichael: Yellen sees emerging market turmoil as no threat to U.S. - for now
- Follow our Inside the Market blog (for subscribers)
- Kevin Carmichael in ROB Insight (for subscribers): There's nothing wrong with Fed's forward guidance
- New Fed chair Janet Yellen takes the hot seat at Capitol
Barclays to cut jobs
Barclays PLC unveiled plans to slash up to 12,000 jobs this year, even as it took pains to explain why it boosted its bonus pool.
"At Barclays we believe in paying for performance and paying competitively," chief executive officer Anthony Jenkins said in a statement as he released the bank's results.
"Ensuring that we have the right people in the right roles serving our customers and clients effectively in a highly competitive global environment is vital to our ability to generate sustainable shareholder returns," he added.
"After careful consideration, we determined that an increase of £210-million over the prior year in the incentive pool was required in 2013 in order to build our franchise in the long-term interests of shareholders."
I had a bit of trouble navigating the website of Kazakhstan's central bank today, but learned through other reports that it's devaluing its currency by up to 19 per cent.
And it cited the Federal Reserve's tapering program for the troubles in the currencies of emerging markets.
"There is currently a capital outflow from emerging markets to the developed ones, which has created pressure on emerging market currencies," the central bank said.
Its plan would put its currency, the tenge, at about 185 to the U.S. dollar.
Other emerging economies, notably Argentina, have also taken action.
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ROB Insight (for subscribers)