APA Group buys Vancouver-based Coast Hotels

Coast Coal Harbour Hotel, Vancouver
Coast Coal Harbour Hotel, Vancouver

A weekly roundup of news and views on money, markets, the economy and more

Japan’s largest hotel company has purchased the Coast Hotels chain for a reported $210 million. The APA Hotel Group expects to base its North American operations in Vancouver. Coast Hotels has 38 locations in western North America. (News 1130

Quesnel has adopted a living wage policy, which guarantees municipal employees and contractors at least $16.52 per hour. Quesnel Mayor Bob Simpson said the city was especially concerned about seeing people as key investors in the local economy. Quesnel is the second municipality in Canada to become a living wage employer; New Westminster was the first, with Vancouver, Parksville and Port Coquitlam also moving toward implementation. (Castanet

Vancouver is Canada’s first “city of millionaires,” with the average household net worth hitting $1,036,202, a 7.1 per cent increase from 2014, according to the latest WealthScapes analysis by Environics Analytics. Real estate holdings increased by 11.9 per cent in Vancouver, compared to the national average growth rate of 4.6 per cent. After B.C., Ontario boasts the richest households, with net worth growing by 5.2 per cent to $793,338. Alberta, the second-richest province last year, saw household net worth decline to $763,812, dropping to third in the national rankings. (The Globe and Mail

Canada’s newest bank is wooing the Chinese community, offering high-interest savings accounts, term deposits and mortgages. Wealth One Bank of Canada, which has about 30 employees and started taking deposits in July, is targeting individuals and businesses with online banking services supported by offices in Toronto and Vancouver and a retail branch in Markham, Ontario. (Bloomberg

Cash should not be king, says Harvard economics professor Kenneth Rogoff. Cash facilitates crime because it is anonymous, and big bills are especially problematic because they are so easy to carry and conceal. A million dollars in $100 notes fits into a briefcase; a million euros in €500 notes fits into a purse. Scaling back paper currency wouldn’t end crime and tax evasion, but it would force the underground economy to employ riskier and less liquid payment devices, argues Rogoff. (The Guardian