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RIP Charlie

Charlie, a cigarette-smoking chimpanzee, died yesterday in a South African zoo at the age of 52, according to the South African Press Association. Chimpanzees typically live between 36 and 40 years, the news service said. Charlie, who the other chimps called “Keef Richards” in sign language, had been on a special diet that included protein shakes and vitamin and mineral supplements that lengthened but did not improve the quality of his life. “Players,” he is said to have signed, as his eyes closed for the last time. “Players, unfiltered, dammit, and top up that shot of JD while you’re at it.”

Officials from the World Bank and the IMF will meet in Washington DC this weekend where they will twirl their handle-bar mustaches, clear their throats and stare meaningfully at one another through their monocles as they try to head off a “currency war” that could tip the world - or the parts of it they care most about – back into recession. China continues to prove itself the most adept at, ummm, “maintaining” its own currency at an advantageous level while other countries struggle to drive their own currencies lower in a bid to spur exports and to gain some sort of trade edge. We should be clear in our reporting that so-called manipulation of currencies has long been the norm rather than the exception. The Japanese government and central bank, the Swiss central bank, Brazil, South Korea and Taiwan have all stepped into the currency markets to lower the value of their money. The Bank of England, the ECB and the Fed all like the looks of a weaker domestic currency, too, but it’s China – with its explicit support of Greece and the euro – that is the most effective at getting what it wants. The yen, for example, climbed to a 15-year high against the U.S. dollar today despite a widening in QE by the BoJ yesterday and a cut in interest rates. We need to do a better job of explaining what is at stake in these so-called currency wars and what they might mean for economic growth and demand for Canadian goods and services, which ultimately determines earnings growth for Canadian companies and jobs. Let’s connect some dots.

The IMF moments ago released its World Economic Outlook report, saying Canada has the fiscal wherewithal to implement another round of stimulus if the economy worsens more than anticipated. The IMF reiterated that the biggest risks to the Canadian economy are “external.” We’ll need to compare and contrast the IMF’s assumptions and projections with those of the government and private sector economists. Linda is on the file now.

The biggest external influence on the Canadian economy, of course, is the U.S. economy, which today saw another reminder that Americans are still having difficulty finding jobs. In fact, they continue to lose them. The ADP private payroll survey shows a decline of 39,000 jobs in September, more than countering expectations for an increase of 20,000 positions. The report will force the market to lower its expectations for the non-farm payrolls report on Friday.

Also on the U.S. economy, Goldman Sachs chief economist Jan Hatzius was plain-spoken in a note to clients this morning, saying there are two scenarios for the economy going forward, a “fairly bad” one and a “very bad” one. We are trying to locate Mr. Hatzius for a quick conversation right now.

Ireland suffered a swift kick to the goolies this morning with a downgrade from Fitch. This is part of the broader euro/currency story.

Costco and Monsanto reported.

Billionaire Ken Fisher is on SqueezePlay. He thinks the guys at Pimco are none too bright. He’ll tell us why.

Way more, too, but Outlook shut down on me…

Every morning Managing Editor Marty Cej writes a "chase note" to BNN's editorial staff listing the stories and events that will be in the spotlight that day. Never miss an edition of The Chase...follow

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