Low oil puts Alberta on track for record $10.4 billion deficit in 2016-17

first_img OPEC and allies to slowly turn on the taps Dean Beeby Three quarters of oil and gas sector could be displaced in move to cut emissions Related news Keywords Alberta,  Oil Alberta Finance Minister Joe Ceci says the prolonged cratering of world oil prices is expected to saddle his province with a $10.4-billion deficit in the next budget. “It’s a lot. It’s a helluva lot of money,” Ceci admitted at a legislature news conference Wednesday. Alberta’s economic outlook on the rise: ATB Financial Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Share this article and your comments with peers on social media “That is simply the reality of our circumstances.” In last fall’s budget, the province projected a $5.4-billion deficit for the 2016-17 fiscal year. Ceci said the new $5-billion figure would be on top of that. “This is the steepest and most prolonged slide in oil prices in recent history, dropping more than 70% in the last year and half,” he said. “Projections for a quick recovery have proven wrong. This is a once-in-a-generation challenge.” Oil and gas have long been the mainspring of Alberta’s economy, delivering multibillion-dollar surpluses earlier this decade. But the benchmark price for oil has fallen from a high of more than $US100 a barrel in June 2014 to around US$30 today. Every $1 drop in the average price of oil over the course of a year drains $170 million from Alberta’s coffers. Ceci also said he can no longer promise to balance the books by 2020 and added he can’t set a new target date for when that might happen. He emphasized the province will stick to its plans to avoid cuts in front-line jobs and critical services, to find savings where possible and to take on debt to create jobs in the construction of roads, schools, and hospitals. “We won’t respond with knee-jerk cuts to make a bad situation even worse.” The government won’t create new taxes, increase existing ones or introduce a provincial sales tax, he said. Nor are there plans to use any of the $19-billion in the Heritage Savings Trust Fund to reduce some of the red ink. Alberta is now almost $19 billion in debt. Most of that money is being used for capital projects. The plan is to continue borrowing in the coming years to pay for capital and, if necessary, operating costs. The debt by decade’s end had already been projected to hit almost $48 billion, but that was before Ceci’s $5-billion bombshell Wednesday. Ceci said the 2016-17 budget is to be introduced in early April, but he wouldn’t give a date. Opposition Wildrose critic Prasad Panda said no one blames the NDP for the collapse in oil prices, but the government is not dealing with it. “Their plan is not working,” said Panda. “How they’ve responded to the situation is hurting Alberta’s economy.” Ceci’s third-quarter update Wednesday for 2015-16 shows the government expects to run a $6.3-billion deficit this fiscal year, which ends March 31. That’s almost $200 million more than was forecast in the fall. The update shows that the cash crunch is burrowing deeper into Alberta’s economy. Personal income tax revenue is down, while housing starts and car and truck sales are expected to continue to drop. Oil and gas investment is expected to slow by 20% in 2016. Alberta also expects to see a net population outflow of 6,000 to other parts of Canada this year — the first such decline since 2010. last_img read more

Annual inflation rate cooled in March to 0.9% as pandemic took hold

first_img Related news Economy grew at 5.6% annual rate in first quarter of year, Statistics Canada says The drop from a year-over-year increase of 2.2% in February was the largest drop since September 2006.Economists on average had expected a reading of 1.2% for March, according to financial markets data firm Refinitiv.Bank of Montreal chief economist Douglas Porter said the slowdown in Canada was bigger than those in some other major economies, including the United States and United Kingdom.“Canadian inflation hit the brakes hard at the start of the shutdowns,” Porter wrote in a report.And Porter said to look for inflation to fall even further in coming months with “a trip into negative terrain likely for a spell.”The economy ground to a halt last month as governments ordered the closure of non-essential businesses in an effort to slow the spread of Covid-19.The reading on inflation follows the March jobs report earlier this month that indicated that the economy lost more than one million jobs last month.A preliminary estimate by Statistics Canada has also suggested the economy contracted by an unprecedented 9% in March.“Inflation is the least of anyone’s concerns at the moment, but it is notable that the mandated closure of large swathes of the economy in late March is having a profound effect on price growth,” TD Bank senior economist James Marple wrote.“This is yet another data series showing unprecedented movements and which will continue to do so at least through the month of April.”The collapse in the annual pace of inflation came as energy prices fell 11.6% on a year-over-year basis in March, driven by the largest one-month price decline since November 2008.Statistics Canada said drivers paid 21.2% less for gasoline compared with March last year due to low crude oil prices, which also resulted in a 9.5% drop in the price of fuel oil and other fuels and an 18.5% drop in the price for fuel, parts and accessories for recreational vehicles.Excluding energy, the consumer price index rose 1.7%.The average of Canada’s three measures for core inflation, which are considered better gauges of underlying price pressures and closely tracked by the Bank of Canada, was 1.83% in March compared with 1.97% for February. People examining economic statistic Financial examiner Vector illustration. simmmax/123RF The annual pace of inflation in Canada posted its biggest one-month decline in more than a decade, dropping below 1% in March as the price of oil collapsed and the economy was first gripped by the Covid-19 pandemic.Statistics Canada said Wednesday the consumer price index for March was up 0.9% compared with a year ago, the smallest year-over-year increase since May 2015 — also a period of low oil prices. Digital shift cushioned blow to post-pandemic growth outlook, BoC deputy says Craig WongCanadian Press Keywords Coronavirus,  Economy,  Inflation Covid vaccine-sharing discussions to dominate G7 summit talks Share this article and your comments with peers on social media Facebook LinkedIn Twitterlast_img read more

Aquaculture Development Plan to be Implemented

first_imgFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail An Aquaculture Development Plan is to be implemented this year, with assistance from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Roger Clarke, says some $22 million will be allocated from the Fisheries Management Development Fund (FMDF), to carry out the exercise. The Minister was addressing an African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Fish II Programme validation workshop, organised by the Ministry and the Belize-based ACP Regional Co-ordinating Unit, at the Farmers’ Training Centre, Twickenham Park, St. Catherine, on October 3. Mr. Clarke also informed that an additional $17 million has also been earmarked to undertake rehabilitation of the hatchery/nursery facility at the aquaculture branch of the Centre, to provide quality seed stock for the industry. The Minister said the aquaculture development plan is aimed at contributing to Jamaica’s goals of ensuring food security; employment creation; import substitution; and foreign exchange savings. These, he explained, will be achieved through a “complete revolution” of the aquaculture sub-sector, to include, among other things: the adoption of strategies incorporating the organisation of fish farmers using clustering and other approaches; development and implementation of effective marketing and promotion strategies; ensuring the continuous development of fish farmers and reshaping of farming practices through training programmes; and introducing appropriate technology and fish varieties for production. Mr. Clarke said these are expected to significantly complement other activities that the Ministry has been engaged in, since 2007, to facilitate resuscitation of the aquaculture sub-sector. These include the provision of extension services for specific aquaculture production areas; facilitation of tilapia production for the local market; and continued discussions with processing establishments to absorb some of the production from tilapia producers. Other strategies, which he advised are being considered, include: establishment of an industry development plan to improve farmers’ efficiencies to produce fish fillet locally, thereby gradually reducing imports of these; developing local value-added capacity; and exploring export market prospects for whole tilapia, “since Jamaica has proximity to market advantages.” Mr. Clarke said the Ministry’s thrust is in recognition of the importance of the fisheries sector’s role in Jamaica’s food and nutrition security, economic development, and employment facilitation, particularly in rural communities. Additionally, the administration’s cognizance of the challenges experienced by local fish farmers, particularly since 2007, resulting from factors such as the global economic recession, and  escalation in fuel and commodity prices, and their impact on production costs. “These challenges have led to a significant reduction in the production of aquaculture products, which fell from an estimated all time high of 8,019 metric tonnes in 2006, to an estimated 1,149 metric tonnes in 2011, a significant drop. The decline in production has been across all aquaculture products and has been the direct result of farmers’ response to the global economic pressures by reducing production or exiting the sector altogether,” noted. Mr. assured that “we (Government) are committed to ensuring the revitalisation of the aquaculture sub-sector.” “We will be creating the space for our aquaculture industry by ensuring that only wholesome fish products are imported into this country. These strategies (outlined) are intended to boost the acceptance and increased presence of aquaculture products on the local market,” he added. The ACP Fish II Project, entitled: ‘Strengthening Fisheries Management in ACP Countries’, is a €30 million European Union funded four and a half year-demand driven programme, which focuses on ensuring sustainable and equitable fisheries management in 78 ACP nations. Jamaica is one of 15 Caribbean states currently benefitting under the programme, slated to conclude in November 2013. The workshop brought together various private and public sector stakeholders in the fisheries sub-sector for presentations and discussions, aimed at developing a Land and Water Use Development Plan and Blue Print for an Aquaculture Action Plan for Jamaica, which will serve as a guide to enhance the country’s fisheries development and outputs. Aquaculture Development Plan to be Implemented AgricultureOctober 4, 2012 RelatedAquaculture Development Plan to be Implemented RelatedAquaculture Development Plan to be Implementedcenter_img RelatedAquaculture Development Plan to be Implemented Advertisementslast_img read more

Street fighting

first_imgTo continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN Subscribe now for unlimited access Stay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to building.co.ukBreaking industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletters Get your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAY Subscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our communitylast_img read more