Monthly Archives: August 2015

Loonie Hits Eleven-Year Low

CANADA, GEORGE VI 1949 ---SILVER DOLLAR. Photo by:  Jerry "Woody"

Jerry “Woody

The Canadian dollar has not been this low, compared to the US dollar, since August 2004, falling to 75.27 US cents by the end of the trading day. The last day the loonie closed below 76 cents was just three weeks ago, on August 4, but today’s drop is lower still.

According personal finance expert Rubina Ahmed-Haq, the prognosis for the Canadian dollar is not rosy.

“Their U.S. dollar continues to get stronger and stronger with better economic news, which indicates they might raise rates in September and that could mean a lower dollar … going forward,” she said.

Some observers are speculating that the Bank of Canada will once again lower interest rates. An announcement on the future rates will be made on September 9th. If the US central bank increases interest rates, this could add up to an even more devalued loonie.

As Loonie Falls, Canadian Tourism Rises

Banff National Park Photo Credit: InSapphoWeTrust

Banff National Park Photo Credit: InSapphoWeTrust

The shrinking exchange rate of the Canadian loonie compared to the US dollar is helping to push Americans to take vacations in the borders of their vast northern neighbor, where their dollars can buy more.

The Canadian dollar fell to under 85 cents to the US dollar in January, and in July reached a low of 80 cents. Compare that with last summer’s 90 cents on the US dollar. And the travel industry is feeling the growth.

The Banff and Lake Louise information centers reported a 21 percent increase in US visitors from January to June this year, over the same period last year. Leslie Bruce, president of the Banff Lake Louise Tourism organization said that online travel agencies have reported that bookings to the area from the US are up by at least one-third.

“There is a noticeable change,” she said, most likely an effect of the shrinking loonie, although it is hard to know for sure.

The city of Vancouver also reported a spike in the number of visitors from the US. Ty Speer, president of Tourism Vancouver, said that American visitors went up by about 8 percent during the first five months of 2015.

“That’s a little bit more than us just having a really good year,” Speer said. Many factors contributed to the increase, but there is certainly “a little bit of help from the currency.”

Small Business Confidence on the Rise

Small Businesses Optimistic About Coming Year

Small Businesses Optimistic About Coming Year

The National Federation of Small Businesses announced on Tuesday that its survey of 1,495 small businesses showed increased optimism during July. This measure represents an about face from its 15-month low reached in June.

This data point joins other indicators, such as car sales, employment statistics and service provider information to show a slow but steady improvement in the economic momentum at a crucial time as the third quarter commences.

The survey questioned small business owners about their optimism for the coming six months. Their answers about seven of the index’s ten components drove the index up by 1.3 points, to a score of 95.4. Three of the ten components however continued their decline.

FAA Issuing Drone Permits for Several Industry Uses

Drones-Photo by Halftermeyer

Drones-Photo by Halftermeyer

A study conducted by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, a trade group for the burgeoning drone industry, investigated what businesses are increasingly using drones to improve efficiency and the bottom line.

Of the 500 first permits granted to drone operators by the Federal Aviation Administration, 153 were granted to drone operators who use drones to showcase properties with videos taken from the air. In second place with 128 permits were aerial land surveys. General aerial photography users garnered 125 permits, while 106 were given to operators to use in agriculture.  Aerial inspection operators received 86 of the 500 permits.

Across the country drone use is also growing. The state requesting the most permits was California with 70, 46 in Texas and 40 in Florida. Illinois received 18 permits while Arizona 17.

“To me, the diversity of industries that are coming forward in this initial phase and saying we’d like to fly using (drones) is the most significant element,” said Brian Wynne, the association’s CEO. “We think there’s a ready-made market out there.”