May 27, 2024by Cristian0

A new panel is live, and now we are featured on the CBC website! This time we spoke about three topics:

  1. The DoJ suing to split back Ticketmaster / Live Nation: The most significant change versus previous attempts is that now they managed to get everyone angry. Artists, venues and consumers are all affected. Oddly, due to weak antitrust laws in the US, consumers are not considered direct customers of Ticketmaster, so now that artists and venues are shown to be affected, the DoJ could intervene. If successful, this should increase competition in the artist/venue space, not in the consumer one, so don’t expect ticket prices to come down anytime soon.
  2. The new low fare from WestJet: WestJet is moving towards an Ultra Low-Cost Carrier (ULCC) model, charging now for the carry-on baggage. This is common in European ULCC, such as EasyJet and others. Changes like this are great for the company as they save on fuel, save on airport fees and taxes, and provide marginally better customer service to those who require overhead bins as there is less demand for them. It also comes with a modest 2% decrease in fares in competitive routes. However, the cost is more fare dispersion. Now you won’t really know what the final price of your ticket will be, and you will need to plan a bit ahead to what you want to bring with you. Also, airports may need to rethink their fee structure, considering they are normally tied to the base price of the ticket.
  3. Inflation: The latest inflation numbers were positive for Canada, with a 2.7% annualized rate. However, and what I spoke about in the panel, I expect the BoC will be a bit wary of being too aggressive lowering the interest rate, given the US is still suffering high inflation and the rates between the two countries cannot diverge too much.

Give it a watch and comments always welcome!

September 25, 2023by Cristian0

Now that the summer is over I was invited once again to the Weekend Business panel on CBC News. You can watch it below!

The TL;DW version is:

  • Latest inflation numbers: Not very good news as inflation seems to be supply-side, so it is much harder to control. Gas prices will also negatively affect the price of food even more for the next quarter at least. This means that interest rates will remain high for a while, possibly even into 2025. Also, deflation is not a bad thing if it is transitory and aimed at first necessity goods, as opposed to affecting consumption in the long run.
  • The UAW strike: Not really my topic, but my comment here was that the strike was expanded significantly and that can impact car prices in the future as it will now target in-demand cars. Also, some factories in Canada may be facing temporary work stoppages. 
  • Equifax report on the increase in lending application fraud: while this is a relatively minor issue, it mixes two different things. First, mortgage fraud is on the rise. Most of this type of fraud is misrepresentation of income, which may be considered a white lie by some borrowers (16% according to a relatively old survey), but it actually is fraud and can have serious consequences for borrowers. The second is auto and credit card fraud. This one is mostly done by criminals that steal identities. The recommendation here is clear: monitor your credit at least monthly and if you see anything that you don’t recognize, immediately contact your financial institution.

I’m on next on October 14 and November 4.

April 17, 2023by Cristian0

I was on the CBC panel again this weekend! This week we spoke about the BoC’s decision to keep the monetary policy rate steady, the Mercer report on Millennial renters needing 50% more upon retirement (not a fan of the study) and Amazon’s Bedrock & Titan, although my producer cut me off because we were running out of time. I had a lot more to say about AI!

What I didn’t say on Saturday: I believe we will end up in a three-tiered world: A first world of companies developing these models (having the technological capacities and data availability to properly train them). A second world of companies that can take outputs of these models, or available public models and fine-tune them over either private or public infrastructure (BloomberGPT for example and several research projects I am working on). And a third world of companies that will be technology takers and deploy these technologies either via live services (such as Amazon Bedrock) or via prepackaged assistants (such as LLM-powered Bing or Microsoft’s Copilot).

See the panel below.