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Daily Pulse

One of our most accessible tools, this daily comment keeps you abreast of developments on the North American and international financial markets.

Michel Doucet

Michel Doucet
Vice-President and
Portfolio Manager

January 21, 2020

Canada

Huawei Technologies Co. Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou shouldn’t be dispatched to the U.S. because her alleged crimes don’t meet Canada’s legal tests for extradition, her defense lawyers said at the opening of hearings. At issue in a legal battle that has severely strained Canada-China relations is whether her extradition request meets the crucial test of double criminality: Would her alleged crime have also been a crime in Canada? If the judge rules it doesn’t meet that standard, she could be discharged, according to Canada’s extradition rules. The hearings that began Monday offer Meng’s first opportunity to avoid handover to the U.S., which accuses her of fraud, saying she lied to HSBC Holdings Plc and tricked it into transactions that violated U.S. sanctions on Iran.

United States

IBM called for rules aimed at eliminating bias in artificial intelligence to ease concerns that the technology relies on data that bakes in past discriminatory practices and could harm women, minorities, the disabled, older Americans and others. As it seeks to define a growing debate in the U.S. and Europe over how to regulate the burgeoning industry, IBM urged industry and governments to jointly develop standards to measure and combat potential discrimination. The Armonk, New York-based company issued policy proposals Tuesday ahead of a Wednesday panel on AI to be led by Chief Executive Officer Ginni Rometty on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos. The initiative is designed to find a consensus on rules that may be stricter than what industry alone might produce, but that are less stringent than what governments might impose on their own.

President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial formally opens in the Senate on Tuesday, promising to shape his legacy, deepen the country’s political divisions and influence control of power in the nation’s capital for years to come. While the president faces little risk of removal from office by the Republican-led Senate, the trial may bring to life new details of Trump’s Ukraine scandal and help sway undecided voters in the 2020 elections.

Europe

The U.K. labor market held up in the face of political turmoil in the three months through November, breaking a run of disappointing data that had boosted bets on a Bank of England interest rate cut this month. While the pound climbed after the release, the figures, which cover the period before Boris Johnson’s decisive election win, weren’t enough to shake the markets’ view that a reduction in rates this month is more likely than not. The report showed the employment rate hit a record high after the number of people in work surged by 208,000, the most in almost a year and double the market forecast. The jobless rate held at a four-decade low of 3.8%, although basic wage growth slowed modestly to 3.4% from 3.5%, the Office for National Statistics said.

Asia

Haruhiko Kuroda trod a cautious line on the economy Tuesday despite the Bank of Japan’s stronger growth forecasts, in remarks likely aimed at pushing back early speculation that the central bank’s next move will be to start normalizing policy. Speaking after the BOJ left its interest rate settings and asset buying targets unchanged, Kuroda emphasized that the overseas risks threatening momentum in Japan’s economy and prices still remained even after the U.S.-China phase one trade deal removed one of the biggest uncertainties from the immediate horizon. The central bank also lowered all its inflation forecasts in another move that might help lower expectations of any near-term move to reel in its stimulus.

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