Oil, interest rates, driverless cars, plus fast-food slump: BUSINESS WEEK WRAP

From falling oil to a shocker rate cut from the Bank of Canada, to robotic cars and our waning appetite for fast food, the CBC's Jacqueline Hansen gets you caught up on a busy week in financial news.

The central bank on Wednesday cut its key lending rate for the first time in more than four years, trimming it a quarter of a percentage point to 0.75 per cent.

Bank governor Stephen Poloz said he is trying to lessen the blow of falling oil prices. He cited "an oil price shock which will reduce the income flowing into Canada, and lead probably to some increase in unemployment over all.'

To end the work week, Canada's annual inflation rate was pegged lower, thanks mostly to the on-going drop in the price of gasoline. Inflation fell last month to 1.5 per cent, down from 2 per cent in November. According to many analysts, we can expect a similar dip next month.

Waiting for rate cut spinoffs

However, mortgage holders looking for lower interest rates may have to wait to see if they'll catch a break.

TD Bank on Thursday was the only major bank to take a stand on rate policy after the central bank cut its overnight lending rate, saying it has decided not to cut its prime, at least not for now.

Royal Bank of Canada said it is "considering the impact" of the Bank of Canada's rate decision, but is not changing its mortgage products at this time. Scotiabank told CBC News it had not yet made a decision on whether to cut its prime rate. Scotiabank and CIBC were also still weighing their options.

No one at the wheel?

As far as belt-tightening goes, a Conference Board of Canada report played up the savings that would result from vehicles capable of driving themselves.

It said automated or driverless cars and trucks could hit the road in the next decade and save Canadians $65 billion in the form of fewer collisions, reduced traffic congestion, lower fuel costs and less time wasted behind the wheel.

Self-driving cars could reduce collisions by more than 90 per cent, saving $37.4 billion, according to the report.

By 2020, the report says, Google hopes to have fully autonomous vehicles on the road and most major car manufacturers will be selling vehicles capable of driving themselves at least some of the time.

Fast-food appetites waning

Fast-food restaurant owners should take note of another trends report, predicting Canadians will continue to scale back on eating out.

Restaurant chains like Tim Hortons, McDonald's and Subway are expected to face more pressure in the coming years, according to a new study from research firm NPD Group.

Restaurants who "remain relevant by giving consumers what they want can be the winners," if they stay on top of trends and what consumers want, the study says.

NPD forecasts competition will become more intense as Canada's food services industry grows by less than one per cent annually over the next five years. Some of that competition will come from grocery stores offering chef-prepared meals.

Other stuff

Those were just a few of the stories we did this week that you might have missed. Be sure to check out our website often for more, and don't forget to follow us on Twitter here to make sure you never miss anything. In the mean time, here's a day by day list of some of our most popular content from the past seven days.

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