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Baranovichi: India’s junior women’s hockey team came up with a fine performance to hold Belarus senior women’s team to a 1-1 draw here on Friday. Belarus is currently leading the five-match series 2-1, with one drawn game. In a competitive first quarter, it was India who were consistently on the front foot with their attack and wing play. Although India managed to trouble the Belarusians, they were unable to create clear goal scoring chances and the first quarter ended with both teams locked 0-0. Also Read – Djokovic heaps praise on ‘very complete’ Medvedev The pattern followed in the second quarter as well, but by now the Belarusians had settled down and were happy winning the loose balls and attacking on the counter. In the 23rd minute, Yuliya Mikheychyk scored the opener to give the hosts the lead. India won their first Penalty Corner of the game but missed the attempt. Moments later, they were gifted another chance, with the referee awarding a stroke and Gagandeep Kaur slotted home from the spot in the final minute of the quarter to level the scores. Also Read – Mary Kom enters quarterfinals, Saweety Boora bows out of World C’ships The teams went into half-time locked at a goal apiece. Belarus kicked off the third quarter aggressively, winning a pair of PCs right at the start. Bichu Devi in India’s goal proved to be the difference though, her smart saves from both denied Belarus the goal that would haven give them the lead. India hit back immediately, winning a PC soon after. From the PC an infringement meant they were awarded a penalty stroke and the opportunity to take the lead, but Reet missed from the spot, and the two teams went into the final break locked at one-all. India entered the final quarter knowing that the onus was on them to find a winner. On the other hand, Belarus, leading the series, were happy to defend and hit on the counter. India dominated possession but despite attacking constantly couldn’t make clear cut inroads on the Belarus goal. The game ended in a draw. India play their final match of the tour against the Belarus Development Women team on June 15.
OTTAWA — Sturdy economic growth and a central bank survey showing renewed business optimism reinforced expectations Friday that Canada’s first interest rate hike since 2010 could be less than two weeks away.A Statistics Canada report showed the economy posted yet another month of solid growth in April, building on the surprisingly strong first quarter.The Bank of Canada survey found that business sentiment had climbed to its highest level since 2011. The forward-looking poll said corporate expectations in key areas like future sales, investment and hiring intentions all rose above historical averages.Combined, the results provided further evidence the economy is building momentum.This, along with increasingly “hawkish” comments from senior Bank of Canada officials, has led many analysts to predict the bank will start raising its trend-setting rate at its next scheduled announcement on July 12.“Arguably, it’s a done deal,” Randall Bartlett, chief economist for a University of Ottawa think tank, said when asked how the latest figures affected rate-hike expectations.“Given how clearly they’ve telegraphed this in speeches, in interviews and the positive economic data that we had today … I think it would be unlikely for them to keep rates on hold at the July meeting.”The Bank of Canada’s main policy rate rate sits at the low level of 0.5 per cent. An increase will likely prompt big banks to raise their prime rates, a move that would drive up the costs of variable-rate mortgages and other borrowing tied to the benchmark rate.The country’s growth — as measured by gross domestic product — expanded by 0.2 per cent in April, according to Statistics Canada. The increase matched the expectations of economists and signalled a healthy hand off to the second quarter.Growth in service-producing industries for April increased by 0.3 per cent, while on balance goods-producing industries remained essentially unchanged.On business sentiment, the Bank of Canada survey found that since April its measure for hiring intentions over the coming 12 months had accelerated to the highest level on record.The survey also showed Canadian firms expected sales growth to continue improving over the coming year, while business investment intentions for that period also remained elevated.Along with key economic indicators — and inflation figures, in particular — the Bank of Canada keeps a close eye on its measure for business sentiment when making rate decisions.Increased borrowing costs would have far-reaching implications for average Canadians, rate-sensitive industries and the broader economy.Bartlett’s think tank, the Institute of Fiscal Studies and Democracy, released new research Friday that showed that higher rates would have multibillion-dollar impacts on the Canadian government’s books.The study predicted the stronger-than-expected growth outlook will reduce Ottawa’s annual deficits by between $2.8 billion and $10.1 billion in each of the next four years, compared to the projections in the federal government’s March budget.However, over the longer term, the analysis said the effects of higher debt charges triggered by sooner-than-expected rate hikes would increase the annual shortfalls by $2.9 billion in 2020-21 and by almost $9.3 billion in 2021-22.“We’re expecting to see that debt charges are going to rise much more rapidly than we had expected back in March,” Bartlett said.