November 2010 Prairie Economic Fundamentals

  • Ally

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    News articles for November 2010.
    Allyssa Fischer
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  • Ally

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    Investment Canada has not blessed Potash deal, Clement says

    OTTAWA—Industry Minister Tony Clement is denying reports that Investment Canada has made any recommendation so far on whether the government should approve the takeover of PotashCorp (TSX: POT) by BHP Billiton (NYSE: BHP).

    Several reports indicated that Investment Canada has reached a decision that the controversial $40-billion deal will be a net benefit to Canada.

    But Clement issued a statement saying the agency has not made any recommendation as yet on the matter.

    He says that he will make the decision as industry minister, and it won't come from Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

    "As of yet no decision has been made, and no decision or recommendation has been communicated to the investor," the minister said in a statement.

    BHP declined to comment Tuesday.

    Clement has said he'll make a decision on the US$38.6-billion hostile takeover by Wednesday.

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    Allyssa Fischer
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  • Ally

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    Ottawa rejects Potash takeover, but gives BHP 30 days to revise offer

    OTTAWA — The Harper government has rejected the takeover of Saskatchewan-based Potash Corp. by Australian mining giant BHP Billiton, sending a message to foreign companies that Canada plans to closely guard its natural resources.

    Industry Minister Tony Clement announced Wednesday that, after reviewing the proposed $38.6 US billion deal, he concluded it likely doesn't represent a "net benefit" to Canada, a standard that must be met under federal rules on foreign takeovers. Under the law, BHP now has 30 days to tweak its offer to satisfy Ottawa.

    "The federal government understands the intrinsic value of the potash industry to the country and to the people of Canada," Clement told reporters in the foyer of the House of Commons.

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    Allyssa Fischer
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  • Ally

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    Province blocks homeowner trying to sell house on the cheap

    A St. James man is angry provincial officials are blocking his attempts to sell his home on the national Multiple Listing Service using a cut-rate real estate agent based in Ottawa.

    Stephan Carson hired Ottawa realtor Joe William, who posted Carson's Collegiate Street home on the national Multiple Listing Service (mls.ca) for 10 days. But then William got an email from the Manitoba Securities Commission instructing him to remove the listing on the grounds he was violating provincial law because he's not licensed to sell homes in Manitoba.

    "We believe we've been bullied out of listing our home on mls.ca," Carson said.

    Carson said he hired William because of a recent change in Canadian Real Estate Association policy allowing sellers to list their homes on the national MLS by hiring an agent for a flat fee instead of the traditional commission.

    Carson said he couldn't find an agent in Manitoba willing to list his home for a fee, but did find four others, all based in Ontario.

    "If we could have found one in the province, we would have used him," Carson said. "But we went with Joe (William) because he was inexpensive and he had a reputation."

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    Allyssa Fischer
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  • Ally

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    Manitoba posts lowest unemployment rate in country

    OTTAWA — There were 3,000 additional people employed across the country in October, Statistics Canada reported Friday, but the gain was well below what most analysts had expected for the month.

    Still, the unemployment rate edged down to 7.9 per cent from eight per cent in September.

    Economists were expecting job gains of 15,000 and the jobless rate to stay at eight per cent, coming off a loss of 6,600 jobs in September.

    With changes of less than 10,000 positions, Statistics Canada considered the overall employment figures "virtually unchanged" for the second month in a row.

    On October's monthly fluctuations, Douglas Porter, deputy chief economist with BMO Capital Markets, said that "while the headline was sluggish, almost all of the details were upbeat."

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    Allyssa Fischer
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  • Ally

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    Ag Minister sees China market reopening to Canadian beef soon

    CALGARY - Chinese inspectors will be visiting Canadian meat plants soon, an important requirement preceding the country reopening its borders to our beef.

    Federal agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said Friday that he expects shipments to resume "very quickly" after the delegation finishes its work.

    In June, China promised to ease barriers to Canadian beef put in place seven years ago when BSE was found in some Alberta cattle.

    Dennis Laycraft, executive vice-president of the Canadian Cattlemen's Association, said every country that reopens its markets goes through the inspection process.

    "Once they do that we're very confident we'll see some access," he said, adding it allows countries to confirm for themselves Canada's safety procedures.

    China has the potential for $100 million a year in sales of beef and tallow, he pointed out.

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    Allyssa Fischer
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    Saskatchewan wages rank No. 3 in Canada

    Average weekly wages in Sask-atchewan are up compared to a year ago, but down in the shorter term.

    Data released by Statistics Canada Thursday indicated the average weekly wage in Saskatchewan was $841.74 in September.

    That weekly wage was up 4.0 per cent compared to September of last year, but was down by a seasonally adjusted 1.1 per cent in a one-month comparison between August and September of this year.

    Doug Elliott, publisher of the Sask Trends Monitor newsletter, said the latest numbers represent a continuation of a recent trend, which has seen the pace of wage increases in the province decline from five and six per cent increases during the peak of Saskatchewan's economic boom.

    "The economy has returned to normal," Elliott said Thursday.

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    Allyssa Fischer
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  • Ally

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    Saskatchewan finances on the rise





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    Allyssa Fischer
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  • Ally

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    Saskatchewan finances on the rise

    Provincial finances are back in calmer waters after hitting the rocks a year ago, with the mid-year 2010-11 budget update revealing the government no longer plans to spend more than it will take in.

    Finance Minister Ken Krawetz said stronger than anticipated revenue from corporate income tax is one of the factors that will help the province finish the year with a $137-million surplus in the general revenue fund.

    Half of that, or $68.5 million, will automatically go into the province's growth and financial security fund -- commonly referred to as a rainy day fund -- leaving it with a projected year-end balance of about $1 billion.

    The government previously anticipated it would need to dip into its rainy day fund in order to balance spending.

    Read the full article here.

    Allyssa Fischer
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  • Ally

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    Saskatchewan net farm income shows decrease in '09

    Realized net farm income in Canada dropped by 11.2 per cent last year, says a Statistics Canada report released Wednesday.

    That drop in income levels -- after operating expenses and depreciation is subtracted from gross revenues -- was the first decrease since 2006, Statistics Canada reported.

    Various factors related to revenues, programs and depreciation levels were mentioned as factors in the drop.

    A second Statistics Canada report released Wednesday said lower prices for crops resulted in lower farm cash receipts (total revenues before expense are deducted) in Saskatchewan and nationally.

    In Saskatchewan, farm receipts were down by two per cent in the January-to-September period this year compared to the same time last year.

    Read the full article here.

    Allyssa Fischer
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