Week over week Canadian consumer confidence steady after four week slide (released September 26, 2016)


Bloomberg Nanos Weekly Consumer Confidence Tracking

The latest Bloomberg Nanos Canadian Confidence survey suggests the overall week over week mood is steady after four weeks of weakening confidence.

“Although the overall week over week numbers were steady, the tracking hit a new six month low on the future strength of the Canadian economy,” said Nanos Research Group Chairman Nik Nanos.

“Consumer expectations have exhibited a six-month cycle of late, dropping sharply and recovering as each economic or political event plays out. Nonetheless, the longer-term issues that ultimately affect household balance sheets remain intact. Canada’s capacity utilization is at multi-year lows — which doesn’t argue for increased private investment any time soon — and productivity growth has slowed, which argues for more investment in intellectual capital and infrastructure”, said Bloomberg economist Robert Lawrie.

The BNCCI, a composite of a weekly measure of financial health and economic expectations, registered at 56.50 compared with last week’s 56.67. The twelve month high stands at 59.93.

The Bloomberg Nanos Pocketbook Index is based on survey responses to questions on personal finances and job security. This sub-indice was at 58.66 this week compared to 60.50 the previous week. The Bloomberg Nanos Expectations Index, based on surveys for the outlook for the economy and real estate prices, was at 54.35 this week (compared to 52.84 last week).

The average for the BNCCI since 2008 has been 56.61 with a low of 43.28 in December 2008 and a high of 62.92 in December 2009. The index has averaged 56.12 this year.

To view the weekly tracking visit our website


The BNCCI is produced by the Nanos Research Corporation, headquartered in Canada,  which operates in Canada and the United States.

The data is based on random telephone interviews with 1,000 Canadian consumers (land- and cell-lines), using a four week rolling average of 250 respondents each week, 18 years of age and over. The random sample of 1,000 respondents may be weighted by age and gender using the latest census information for Canada and the sample is geographically stratified to be representative of Canada.

The interviews are compiled into a four week rolling average of 1,000 interviews where each week, the oldest group of 250 interviews is dropped and a new group of 250 interviews is added. The views of 1,000 respondents are compiled into a diffusion index from 0 to 100.

A score of 50 on the diffusion index indicates that positive and negative views are a wash while scores above 50 suggest net positive views, while those below 50 suggest net negative views in terms of the economic mood of Canadians.

A random telephone survey of 1,000 consumers in Canada is accurate 3.1 percentage points, plus or minus, 19 times out of 20.

All references or use of this data must cite Bloomberg Nanos as the source.


Baby Boxes Aim To Reduce Cot Deaths 

The baby box programme launched at University Maternity Hospital Limerick (UMHL) will provide free baby boxes for infants to sleep in.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Jimmy Woulfe, Mid-West Correspondent

A Scandinavian baby care concept which has dramatically reduced infant mortalities such as cot deaths in Finland was introduced to Irish mothers-to-be yesterday.

Made from durable cardboard, the box can be used as a baby’s bed for the first eight months of life. The box prevents babies from rolling onto their tummies, which experts say can contribute to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

The baby boxes come with a foam mattress, waterproof mattress cover and cotton sheet.

Education material with advice from healthcare professionals on reducing risks to babies, is also included in the baby box pack.

The use of baby boxes has been credited with helping reduce infant mortality rates in Finland from 65 infant deaths per 1,000 births in 1938 to 2.26 per 1,000 births in 2015.

Ireland’s infant mortality rate is 3.7 per 1,000 births.

The concept already adapted in Britain, Canada and the US was introduced to this country yesterday at UMHL, the first Irish maternity hospital to embrace the idea.

As well as the baby boxes, new mothers will be presented with clothing and educational materials.

Dr Mendinaro Imcha, consultant gynaecologist/obstetrician UMHL, said:

“The baby box programme is a proactive approach to improving the health and safety of the newborn child and parents. We are combining tradition with current technology and supporting the newborn child’s family with online education material covering a broad range of essential topics and postnatal care.”

Margaret Gleeson, chief director of nursing and midwifery at the UL hospitals group, said up to 5,000 baby boxes will be distributed to new mothers who give birth at UMHL over the coming year.

Ms Gleeson said: “The baby boxes are a thing of beauty and there is the invaluable education element of this initiative which makes this truly patient-centre.”

Tipperary-based tattoo artist, and expectant mother, Karen Smith did the artistic designs which decorate the UMHL baby boxes.

She said: “The whole meaning behind my design is rebirth. I thought the butterfly was the perfect symbol for the baby box. It is a symbolic creature in many cultures and lends itself to all manner of colourful and fanciful adaptations, in this case our beautiful baby box.”

Jennifer Clery, chief executive of the US-based The Baby Box Co, said: “We are delighted to expand our baby box programme to Ireland and look forward to this new collaboration here in Limerick at the University Maternity Hospital. The baby box is an innovative integrated programme to support parents and improve maternal and infant healthcare outcomes globally.”

UMHL is the second largest maternity hospital in the country, outside Dublin and cares from women from Limerick, Clare, Tipperary, North Kerry, North Cork and areas of Offaly.

Source: Baby boxes aim to reduce cot deaths | Irish Examiner

Maple Leafs, Browns, Cubs, Canucks On List Of Sport’s Longest Active Title Droughts 

PHOTO: The Sharks and Bulldogs celebrate during their preliminary final victories. (AAP/Getty)

By Jon Healy

September 26, 2016

This year’s AFL and NRL grand finals could play host to two drought-breaking victories.

The Western Bulldogs and Cronulla Sharkswill contest the last match of the year in their respective codes on the weekend with the chance to end decades of heartache for their fans.

The Bulldogs, or Footscray Football Club, have not only gone decades without winning a flag, but have only reached one other season decider since taking out the title in 1954.

In that 1961 fixture, Footscray jumped out to an early lead, but kicked just 2.4 (16) in the second half while Hawthorn booted 67 points to hammer them by 43.

They had one shot, one opportunity, one moment, to seize everything they ever wanted … and they let it slip.

Cronulla, meanwhile, has been in the top flight rugby league competition since 1967 and never won it all, missing out in the 1973, 1978 (via a replay) and 1997 (Super League) grand finals.

So, can one or both of these teams shake the monkey off their backs and get off this list of some of sport’s most title-hungry teams?

Chicago Cubs — No World Series win since 1908

Cubs fans look on during the 2008 MLB playoffs

Long-suffering fans … The Cubs faithful look on during another loss during the 2008 playoffs.(Getty Images: Jamie Squire)

Baseball might do superstition better than any other sport, and the Curse of the Billy Goat is one of its best.

The last time the Cubs reached the World Series, in 1945, Billy Sianis tried to get into game four to watch his team go around against Detroit at Wrigley Field.

Unfortunately, Sianis had with him a goat — he was the owner of the Billy Goat Tavern — and security refused to let the animal in because you cannot bring random animals to sporting events, especially those that have a reputation for eating everything in sight.

The story goes, Sianis appealed Cubs owner PK Wrigley, who also denied the goat entry, prompting Sianis to exclaim: “The Cubs ain’t gonna win no more.” And win they have not.

But, with the Cubs currently boasting the most wins in the MLB, and the Sharks and Bulldogs heading to deciders, 2016 could be the year for a hard rain to fall on some sporting droughts.

Toronto Maple Leafs — No Stanley Cup win since 1967

Toronto Maple Leafs dejected against Buffalo

PHOTO: Toronto has not returned to the finals since its last title. (Getty Images: Bruce Bennett)

Think about Toronto as the NHL’s South Sydney Rabbitohs.

This hockey-mad city saw its Maple Leafs lift the Stanley Cup 13 times, but not once since 1967.

Once again, they have not even stumbled into the finals once in the interim.

Although, maybe that is for the best considering when the Vancouver Canucks, who have never won the title, lost their third finals in 2011 the city was almost burned to the ground.

Cleveland Browns — No title since 1964

Robert Griffin III's injury troubles sum up the luck of the Browns in the NFL

PHOTO: Robert Griffin III’s injury troubles sum up the luck of the Browns in the NFL (Getty Images: Jason Miller)

Mercifully, LeBron James and the Cavaliers quenched the city of Cleveland’s thirst for a trophy by winning the 2016 NBA title, but football (and any other sporting) success still alludes ‘The Land’.

The Browns won an NFL title in 1964 but have not won or even reached the last game of the season in the Super Bowl era (since 1966).

With a miserable name like the Browns, voted by fans as an homage to former heavyweight boxing champion and Cleveland native Joe ‘The Brown Bomber’ Louis, making fun of this sorry lot is almost too easy.

Unfortunately, while some other teams on this list seem to have some upside and hope in the not too distant future, the Browns appear destined to be terrible for a while yet, having recently signed injury-prone quarter-back Robert Griffin III, who instantly got injured.

Liverpool — No League title since 1990

Gerrard skulks off after woeful Liverpool farewell

PHOTO: The Reds have won other trophies in the interim, but are still looking for another Premier League title.(Getty Images: Dave Thompson)

Some context is required to justify Liverpool’s spot on this list.

The streak is nowhere near as long as the others, but the Premier League is so top heavy that there really is no excuse for one of England’s most storied clubs to miss out for as long as the Reds have.

Of the 26 titles available since Liverpool’s last league win, which was its 11th in 18 seasons, 21 have gone to the other members of the ‘Big Four’ – Manchester United (13), Chelsea (4) and Arsenal (4).

Sure, Liverpool has been usurped by Manchester City in the awesome foursome but that only happened relatively recently and as the drought extends it is becoming increasingly difficult for Reds fans to keep saying their team is a major player in the league.

Source: Cronulla, Western Bulldogs looking to get off list of sport’s longest active title droughts – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

AgTech Ideas For Aussie Farming Incubator Programs

AGDRAFT AgTech is revolutionising the way Aussie farmers run their business.

Our next home-grown ideas boom.

By Andrea Beattie  Small Business Writer, HuffPost Australia

September 26, 2016

Australia is on the cusp of an agricultural technology innovation boom, with entrepreneurs urged to submit startup ideas to reinvigorate and boost our $60 billion agriculture industry.

Financial advisory and accounting services provider Findex and the National Farmers’ Federation last week announced the launch of a pre-accelerator program as part of a joint initiative called SproutX designed to collate startup ideas to nurture and commercialise the best ideas in food, fibre and agribusiness.

The $10 million accelerator fund, supported by Artesian Venture Partners, will invest in the best AgTech ideas, and is backed by $1 million in initial funding from the Victorian Government as well as industry leaders including Findex and Ruralco.

The pre-accelerator will accept 100 applicants from across the country who will be equipped with basic business skills and lean startup principles, as well as access to mentors and a strong support network.

SPROUTX General Manager of SproutX Sam Trethewey says Australia’s biggest natural advantage lies in agriculture.

“Australia’s biggest natural advantage lies in agriculture, not fintech, and we need to invest to ensure that we lead the way in developing and commercialising innovations in agtech,” General Manager of SproutX Sam Trethewey said.

“The innovation boom has had a strong focus on fintech, but movements like that are not where Australia’s natural competitive advantage lies.

“We’re still in our infancy, but it’s important to get behind the AgTech industry now and stimulate its growth. We need to connect innovators, investors and the agri-community to help bring ideas to fruition, and this pre-accelerator lays the groundwork for that.”

At the end of the six-week pre-accelerator program, graduates will receive $1000 cash and $10,000 in services to help them pursue their venture. Those that show promise will also be invited to join the full six-month accelerator program when it launches in 2017.

Budding entrepreneurs can apply to be part of the SproutX program on theirwebsite.

StartUpAus CEO Alex McCauley, with Content and Community Manager, Alex Gruszka, said technology has always played an important role in increasing Australia’s agricultural output.

Report outlines AgTech potential

A StartUpAus report called Powering Growth: Realising the Potential of AgTech for Australia threw the spotlight on AgTech naming it a critical component of the Farmers Federation goal to develop a $100 billion agricultural industry by 2030.

The report, co-authored by KPMG Australia, and supported by the Queensland Government and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), notes that the agricultural sector is already the largest employer in rural and regional communities, generates 4 per cent of Australia’s total employment, provides 93 per cent of the nation’s domestic food supply, and contributes approximately 13 per cent ($42 billion) of Australia’s export revenue.

StartUpAus CEO Alex McCauley said technology has always played an important role in increasing Australia’s agricultural output.

“We have an extremely valuable opportunity here to develop technologies that make a real difference to the economy’s bottom line, while also helping rural Australia realise the economic benefits of the digital technology revolution,” he said.

“If Australia is to realise its ambition to be the food bowl for a rapidly-growing middle class in Asia and Africa, we will need to become a leader in AgTech.”

AgTech platforms such as AgDraft are giving farmers access to a skIlled workforce when they need it.

Innovation brings change

Some Australian agricultural producers are already changing the game when it comes to technological innovations.

Since 2011, researchers across the northern parts of rural Australia have beentrialling satellite technology to aid farmers on immensely large properties in tracking their livestock and monitoring the condition of their pastures.

Entrepreneurs such as Ella Shannon are also using tech to make life easier for primary producers.

Shannon, who grew up on a sheep and cattle property in Yass, NSW, designed and launched a tech platform called AgDraft to help increase the utilisation of skilled labour in regional areas as well as make use of more transient, seasonal labour sources.

“We profile and match workers to jobs on skills, job category and time availability,” Shannon said.

“No farm is immune from labour shortages. I wanted to provide a tool and ignite a workforce from outside of the industry including backpackers, grey nomads and uni students.

“We use an Airbnb style reviewing system to build trust and help people connect outside their networks.”

Working on the family farm with her dad Peter has given entrepreneur Ella Shannon a unique insight into the needs of primary producers

Shannon said without a reliable labour force, production is affected.

“Short-term jobs (don’t get) done, or resources are pulled from other part of the business and this is costly in terms of productivity and output.”

She said the site already had 650 registered users in less than a year of operation.

“The industry is at a turning point in digital disruption, we have forged past early adopter and moving into widespread use of technology,” she said.

“These advancements in technology will change the skills and expertise needed in agriculture.”