Soaring prices at the grocery store fuelling Canada’s inflation rate – Business News


The Canadian Press – | Story: 391430

Canadians are continuing to feel the pinch at the grocery store as food prices continue to soar at the fastest rate in four decades, and one economist says there likely won’t be any meaningful relief until early next year.

“It’s definitely going to take a little bit of time, for example, for any input prices to work through layers of the manufacturing process down to wholesalers, down to retailers before they show up as slower price growth on consumers’ receipts,” RBC economist Claire Fan said in an interview.

Statistics Canada’s latest consumer price index report released Wednesday showed that while overall inflation cooled slightly to 6.9 per cent in September from 7.0 per cent in August, food prices were up a staggering 11.4 per cent compared with a year ago.

Food prices increased at the fastest rate since August 1981 in September and have been increasing at a faster rate than all the items the consumer price index tracks for 10 consecutive months.

Food price growth remained broad-based in the month.

Statistics Canada said on a year-over-year basis, Canadians paid more for items such as meat, which was up 7.6 per cent, dairy products, which rose 9.7 per cent, bakery products, which rose 14.8 per cent, and fresh vegetables which were up 11.8 per cent.

Canadians also paid a lot more for fresh fruit, which was up 12.7 per cent, coffee and tea, which were up 16.4 per cent, seafood, which rose 7.6 per cent, non-alcoholic beverages, which were up 14.7 per cent, and cereal products, excluding baby food, which rose 17.9 per cent.

The agency said unfavourable weather conditions contributed to food price increases.

Higher prices for important inputs such as fertilizer and natural gas, as well as geopolitical instability stemming from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine also contributed to the increases, Statistics Canada said.

Fan added that higher transport costs, longer transport times, higher packaging prices, as well as labour costs — tied to wage growth, in particular, given ongoing labour shortage issues — are all putting pressure on how much shoppers are paying at the grocery store.

In a note, CIBC economist Karyne Charbonneau said that although food prices continue to rise at a historic pace, it is not the main focus for the Bank of Canada, who is paying closer attention to core inflation, which excludes food and energy.

The latest data comes as some Canadian grocery chains get vocal about their prices.

On Monday, Loblaw Companies Ltd. said it would freeze prices on all its in-house No Name products until Jan. 31, 2023, a campaign met with critics warning the company could look to recoup profit losses elsewhere.

Meanwhile, Metro Inc. said Tuesday it is holding food prices steady as usual this holiday season and will not accept cost increases from its suppliers during this period.

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tens of billions of dollars in damage in the United States.

Earlier this month Munich Re, one of the world’s biggest reinsurers, said it would stop backing new oil and gas fields beginning next April.

“Insurance is the Achilles heel of the fossil fuel industry and has the power to accelerate the transition to clean energy,” said Peter Bosshard, the report’s author.

That’s because projects that require large amounts of capital are unlikely to attract investment if they can’t get insurance to cover potentially costly mishaps.

Insure Our Future said its annual scorecard of 30 companies ranked Allianz, AXA and Axis Capital best for their coal exit policies, while Aviva, Hannover Re and Munich Re came out on top for oil and natural gas.

By contrast, some insurers such as Berkshire Hathaway, Starr and Everest Re have adopted few or no restrictions coal, oil or gas projects, it said. The alliance also criticized Lloyd’s of London for announcing plans for ending coal coverage two years ago but then declaring it optional.

Many of the insurers reviewed introduced their restrictions in the last year, though the exact policies differ significantly, the report said.

Some countries have meanwhile proposed applying the idea of insurance to help countries facing massive costs due to climate change.

Germany, which chairs the Group of Seven leading economies, and the V20 alliance of vulnerable nations, chaired by Ghana, last week agreed to promote the idea of a “global shield” against climate risks.

The proposal, to be discussed at next month’s United Nations climate summit in Egypt, partly addresses demands from poor countries for more financial help to cope with the loss and damage resulting from rising global temperatures.

unexpected win in April in Staten Island, the group was stung by a loss at another, smaller facility nearby. A union election in Alabama, led by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union at a warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, remains too close to call.

Goodall launched the organizing drive near Albany in the spring, just a few months after she joined the company to assess working conditions. Soon after that, she approached the ALU after gaining some support from workers who wanted to unionize. A major point of concern, she has said, were warehouse injuries, which Amazon has acknowledged to be higher in its facilities than the industry average.

To push back against the efforts, Amazon held mandatory meetings for its employees urging them to reject the union, the kind of meetings the NLRB’s top prosecutor is now attempting to outlaw. The company has also been hanging fliers and other literature around the facility encouraging workers to vote no.

The election outside Albany marked the first time the union was tested beyond Staten Island. Before the group’s first loss, many believed organizing the second Staten Island facility would be more challenging due to the larger share of part-time workers, who might have other sources of income and less of a connection with their co-workers. Smalls and other organizers were also more distracted with media appearances and defending their historic win.

The group’s second loss shows how difficult it is to replicate a union win at Amazon, said John Logan, the director of labor and employment studies at San Francisco State University, adding the company’s might combined with its large warehouses and high turnover rate makes organizing particularly challenging.

“It’s very difficult for any union to win there,” he said. “(Amazon) has so many resources to throw at this.”

The company has also been trying to undo the ALU’s lone victory, filing more than two dozen objections to the election and seeking a redo vote. Last month, a federal labor official concluded the union should be certified as a bargaining representative for the warehouse, but Amazon said it intends to appeal the decision.

Last week, Amazon workers at a separate facility in California filed for their own union election, seeking to join the ALU.

Luce, the CUNY professor, said that historically, attempts to unionize new industries, or groups of workers take years, not months. And she noted that other labor unrest at Amazon facilities, including recent strikes, could keep the momentum going.

“I definitely think people are going to keep trying,” she said. “The question is at what point they will get discouraged and turn around, but I don’t think we are there yet.”

one each in California and Utah. Safety advocates note that the deaths of motorcyclists in crashes involving Tesla vehicles using automated driver-assist systems such as Autopilot have been increasing.

The new fatal crashes are documented in a database that NHTSA is building in an effort to broadly assess the safety of automated driving systems, which, led by Tesla, have been growing in use. Tesla alone has more than 830,000 vehicles on U.S. roads with the systems. The agency is requiring auto and tech companies to report all crashes involving self-driving vehicles as well as autos with driver assist systems that can take over some driving tasks from people.

The 11 new fatal crashes, reported from mid-May through September, were included in statistics that the agency released Monday. In June, the agency released data it had collected from July of last year through May 15.

The figures that were released in June showed that six people died in crashes involving the automated systems, and five were seriously hurt. Of the deaths, five occurred in Teslas and one a Ford. In each case, the database says that advanced driver assist systems were in use at the time of the crash.

Michael Brooks, executive director of the nonprofit Center for Auto Safety, said he is baffled by NHTSA’s continued investigations and by what he called a general lack of action since problems with Autopilot began surfacing back in 2016.

“I think there’s a pretty clear pattern of bad behavior on the part of Tesla when it comes to obeying the edicts of the (federal) safety act, and NHTSA is just sitting there,” he said. “How many more deaths do we need to see of motorcyclists?”

Brooks noted that the Tesla crashes are victimizing more people who are not in the Tesla vehicles.

“You’re seeing innocent people who had no choice in the matter being killed or injured,” he said.

A message was left Tuesday seeking a response from NHTSA.

Tesla’s crash number may appear elevated because it uses telematics to monitor its vehicles and obtain real-time crash reports. Other automakers lack such capability, so their crash reports may emerge more slowly or may not be reported at all, NHTSA has said.

NHTSA has been investigating Autopilot since August of last year after a string of crashes since 2018 in which Teslas collided with emergency vehicles parked along roadways with flashing lights on. That investigation moved a step closer to a recall in June, when it was upgraded to what is called an engineering analysis.

In documents, the agency raised questions about the system, finding that the technology was being used in areas where its capabilities are limited and that many drivers weren’t taking steps to avoid crashes despite warnings from the vehicle.

NHTSA also reported that it has documented 16 crashes in which vehicles with automated systems in use hit emergency vehicles and trucks that were displaying warning signs, causing 15 injuries and one death.

The National Transportation Safety Board, which also has investigated some of the Tesla crashes dating to 2016, has recommended that NHTSA and Tesla limit Autopilot’s use to areas where it can safely operate. The NTSB also recommended that NHTSA require Tesla to improve its systems to ensure that drivers are paying attention. NHTSA has yet to act on the recommendations. (The NTSB can make only recommendations to other federal agencies.)

Messages were left Tuesday seeking comment from Tesla. At the company’s artificial intelligence day in September, CEO Elon Musk asserted that, based on the rate of crashes and total miles driven, Tesla’s automated systems were safer than human drivers — a notion that some safety experts dispute.

“At the point of which you believe that adding autonomy reduces injury and death, I think you have a moral obligation to deploy it,” Musk said. “Even though you’re going to get sued and blamed by a lot of people. Because the people whose lives you saved don’t know that their lives were saved. And the people who do occasionally die or get injured, they definitely know, or their state does, that it was, whatever, there was a problem with Autopilot.”

Teslas with automated systems have driven more than 3 million vehicles on the road, Musk said.

“That’s a lot of miles driven every day. And it’s not going to be perfect. But what matters is that it is very clearly safer than not deploying it.”

In addition to Autopilot, Tesla sells “Full Self-Driving” systems, though it says the vehicles cannot drive themselves and that motorists must be ready to intervene at all times.

The number of deaths involving automated vehicles is small compared with the overall number of traffic deaths in the U.S. Nearly 43,000 people were killed on U.S. roads last year, the highest number in 16 years, after Americans returned to the roads as the pandemic eased. Authorities blamed reckless behavior such as speeding and driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol for much of the increase.

that will include ads for the first time.

The Los Gatos, California, company disclosed Tuesday that it picked up 2.4 million subscribers during the July-September period, a comeback from a loss of 1.2 million customers during the first half of the year amid stiffer competition and soaring inflation that’s squeezing household budgets.

Netflix now boasts 223 million subscribers, enabling the company to at least temporarily reclaim the mantle as the world’s largest video streaming service. Walt Disney Co. eclipsed Netflix in August when it reported its service had 221 million subscribers, a number that will be updated Nov. 8 when Disney is scheduled to report its summertime results.

“After a challenging first half, we believe we’re on a path to reaccelerate growth,” Netflix predicted in a shareholder letter accompanying the third-quarter results.

The uptick in subscribers also helped Netflix earn $1.4 billion, or $3.10 per share, a 4% dip from the same time last year. Revenue climbed 6% from last year to $7.93 billion. The subscriber gains, earnings per share and revenue all topped analyst projections compiled by FactSet.

Netflix’s shares surged nearly 13% after the latest numbers came out. Even so, the stock has still lost more than half its value so far this year, reflecting worries that Netflix’s best days have passed.

Now that Netflix is growing again, it will be aiming to accelerate the momentum with its first ad-supported plan that debuts in the U.S. and 11 other markets in early November. The new option will cost $7 per month in the U.S., less than half the price for Netflix’s most popular $15.50-per-month plan without commercial interruptions.

“Netflix still has a lot of room to grow and capture the share in a price-sensitive market,” Investing.com analyst Haris Anwar said in a sign of renewed optimism about the company’s prospects.

In a possible sign Netflix isn’t expecting the ad-backed plan to be an immediate hit, management is forecasting it will add 4.5 million subscribers during the October-December period. Although that would be Netflix’s biggest quarterly gain this year, it would still be down from the 8.3 million subscribers added during the same holiday-season period last year.

Netflix is apparently hoping to de-emphasize Wall Street’s long-running focus on its subscriber growth by stopping to provide forecasts about how many customers it expects to add from one quarter to the next. Management disclosed Tuesday that its subscriber projection for the current quarter will be its last, but that it will continue to predict earnings and revenue in hopes investors will pay more attention to those figures.

Although investors have generally been enthusiastic about Netflix’s expansion into the advertising market, one major concern is whether the additional revenue generated from selling commercials will be enough to offset the losses from current subscribers who switch to the cheaper option from higher prices they are currently paying.

Netflix is projecting revenue of nearly $7.8 billion for the quarter covering the holiday season that traditionally spurs more advertisers, slightly below what analysts had been anticipating, according to FactSet. If Netflix delivers on its revenue forecast, it will translate into a 4% increase from the same time last year. By comparison, Netflix’s posted a year-over-year revenue gain of 16% in its 2021 holiday-season quarter.

But an analysis by the research firm Insider Intelligence foresees advertising contributing a significant chunk of Netflix’s revenue. Next year, Netflix should bring in more than $830 million from advertisers in the U.S. alone, followed by more than $1 billion in the U.S. in 2024, according to Insider Intelligence.

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