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January 2012 Alberta Economic Fundamentals

Discussion in 'Alberta News' started by Ally, Jan 1, 2012.

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    News articles for January 2012.
     
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    Alberta employers, schools try to stave off anticipated labour shortages





    CALGARY ` During the height of the last boom, Alberta was a mecca for job seekers.




    Employers promised soaring salaries and signing bonuses, people were lured back from retirement and help-wanted signs abounded.




    Tens of thousands flooded into the province to take advantage of a tight labour market that highlighted Alberta`s economic power, while human resources departments worked overtime to attract and retain skilled staff and anticipate future needs.




    But the downside saw projects delayed because of a shortage of labour and businesses adjusting hours to accommodate available staffing, not able to take advantage of the overheated economy.




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    2011 in review: Big year for foreign deals in oil sands





    Just when it looked like Imperial Oil Ltd.'s sanctioning last week of an $8.9-billion expansion of its Kearl mine might be the final big oilsands deal of 2011, Osum Oil Sands Corp. announced late Friday it had raised $500 million from a private placement with investors including the Singapore government.




    Under the deal, the privately owned thermal oilsands player will issue 21.2 million shares at $12.50 per share for $265 million, plus 18.8 million callable share warrants at $12.50 each for $235 million. It's expected to close by Jan 18.




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    Energy export strategy requires balance





    For many, the galvanization of sentiment regarding the need for Canada to make the development of new markets for its natural resources Job 1 is nothing but good news.




    As Shell Canada's president, Lorraine Mitchelmore, said at a conference in late November, Canada remains the only country lacking well-developed export markets for its oil and gas production - beyond what it sells to the U.S.




    This perspective was reinforced in December after the publication of a paper by the University of Calgary's School of Public Policy in late December that effectively quantified the dollars being left on the table as a result of being beholden to one market.




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    Energy revival fuels another boom





    Albertans know all about the B-word: boom.




    For much of the past decade the economic pace was blistering, led by massive projects in the oilsands. The result was scores of high-paying jobs, a red hot real estate market and an influx of thousands of new migrants.




    The party was good while it lasted.






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    Light at end of tunnel




    Throughout the world, 2011 was marked by the continued global economic crisis, which began in September 2008.




    But it's not all doom and gloom.




    According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Canada is better positioned than many countries to weather the global recession.





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    Liepert says good times coming, but won't call it a boom




    CALGARY ` The Alberta government expects the economy to make some noise in 2012, but Finance Minister Ron Liepert doesn`t like to call it a boom.




    Barring some `catastrophic global development,` Liepert believes economic good times are coming to the province.




    However, the veteran Tory also believes it won`t be an exact repeat of the past.





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    South Korea takes "major step" to accepting Canada beef






    South Korea has taken a "major step" to ending an eight-year-old ban on imports of Canadian beef, Canada's agriculture and trade ministers said on Friday.







    The South Korean Parliament ratified import health requirements for Canadian beef under 30 months of age on Friday, one of the final steps to ending the ban, the ministers said in a release.






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    $72 billion at stake if Gateway pipeline halted





    EDMONTON - Oil producers could lose $72 billion over a nine-year-period if a pipeline to carry Alberta bitumen to the West Coast isn`t built, a new report for the Alberta government says as community hearings for the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway project are about to begin this month in British Columbia.




    In a 44-page report submitted before Christmas to the federal government panel reviewing the pipeline project, consultants for Alberta Energy peg potential losses for oil producers in the project at $8-billion every year between 2017 and 2025.




    The forecast, drawn up by Houston-based consultant Harold York for the firm Wood Mackenzie, is largely based on the expectation that Alberta oil sells at a higher price on an international market than it does in North America.




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    Industrial Heartland looks to petrochemicals to fuel growth




    EDMONTON - Once called `Upgrader Alley` because of the half-dozen bitumen processing plants proposed for the Fort Saskatchewan-Redwater region, the area may soon earn a new name.




    An ocean of cheap natural gas has flooded the marketplace, thanks to new fracking technology, which is opening once-inaccessible reservoirs in the U.S. and Canada.





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    Calgary property assessments 2012




    The maps below detail median single residential property assessments and resulting taxes for each community in Calgary. To see how those assessemnts changed between 2006 and 2011, use the charts below the maps.



    View the charts here.
     
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    Canada's Northern Gateway Pipeline




    Stop foreign billionaires from sabotaging Canada`s national interest!




    Public hearings into a proposal for an energy pipeline from the oil sands to Canada`s west coast are being manipulated by foreign special interests.




    Foreign billionaires are hiring front groups to swamp the hearings to block the Northern Gateway pipeline project. Anti-oil sands groups claiming to speak for Canadians are actually backed by millions of dollars from foreign interests.





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    Calgary's real estate market poised to turn the corner in 2012: CREB





    CALGARY ` Calgary`s residential real estate market is poised to turn the corner as 2012 will signal increasing demand for housing in the city, says the president of the Calgary Real Estate Board.




    `I believe it`s imminent that we`ll start to see the result of all those economic indicators come to fruition and hit the ground, get traction this coming year. It`s got to happen,` said Sano Stante in a year-end 2011 interview.




    All those positive economic indicators include strong economic growth, increased net migration and continued employment growth for both the city and the province.




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    Chinese energy companies wait to hear the fate of the Northern Gateway pipeline




    VANCOUVER ` Chinese energy companies, at one time eager to see the Northern Gateway pipeline completed quickly so they could access the Alberta oilsands, are now taking a longer and more patient view, according to a China expert.







    The big three ` PetroChina, Sinopec and China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC) ` have shown interest in Northern Gateway, but also frustration with the slow pace of project approval, said Wenran Jiang, a professor with the University of Alberta's China Institute.





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    Edmonton real estate market healthy and stable, realtors say




    EDMONTON - Edmonton wrapped up a stable year in real estate in December, the Realtors Association of Edmonton said Wednesday.




    `It is a relief to report on the stability and health of the local real estate market,` said Chris Mooney, association president for 2011. `With prices and sales varying within a small range, there is a solid base going forward into the 2012 market.`




    Mooney mentioned the European debt crisis and a depressed housing market in the U.S. as major concerns, but emphasized that the energy-based economy of Alberta in general and Edmonton in particular keeps the local housing market buoyant.





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    NDP leader calls on government to regulate electricity prices




    EDMONTON - A major jump in power rates this month is further evidence the provincial government must return to a regulated electricity market, Alberta NDP Leader Brian Mason says.




    Mason called Wednesday on the Redford government to immediately freeze prices at a reasonable level, saying the province`s decision in the mid-1990s to deregulate the power market has failed consumers.




    `The swings are getting bigger and the volatility of power prices is increasing,` he said. `I don`t believe the families and the businesses of Alberta should be subjected to a system that cannot produce reliable power at a reliable price and at an affordable price.





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    Fort Saskatchewan construction activity climbs 14% in 2011




    Fort Saskatchewan builders closed the books on a busier year as the city's construction activity grew 14 per cent last year over 2010 levels.




    Construction activity closed the year slightly above the $110 million mark, compared to 2010's $95 million tally.




    Commercial and institutional construction made for the largest increases last year, amounting to $39 million in 2011, compared to the $7.9 million posted in 2010.





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    Fracking creates 'test tube' residents in BC, Alberta






    Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in Canada is taking its controversial operation to new levels with reports surfacing of the largest fracking job ever undertaken having occurred in northern British Columbia in 2010, using 259 million gallons of water.






    The Apache Corp. performed a fracking job deep in B.C.`s forest which required the staggering amount of water along with 50,000 tons of sand to frack 16 gas wells side by side. At the time, Apache bragged it was `nearly four times larger than any project of its nature in North America,` according to ProPublica.





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    Alberta employment growth best in Canada




    CALGARY ` Alberta accounted for close to half of all the employment growth in the country over the past 12 months and continues to have the lowest unemployment rate, according to Statistics Canada.




    The federal agency reported Friday that the province`s unemployment rate in December dipped to 4.9 per cent from 5.0 per cent the previous month.




    While Alberta employment growth was flat on a monthly basis in December, growing by only 800 jobs, over the past 12 months it grew by 4.9 per cent or 98,800 positions.





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    Alberta economy forecast to lead nation next two years





    CALGARY ` Alberta`s economy is forecast to lead the country this year and next year, according to a report by TD Economics.




    The provincial economic update also sees employment growth in Alberta topping Canada for 2012 and 2013 as well.




    The TD Economics report predicts Alberta will see Real Gross Domestic Product growth of 2.6 per cent this year and 2.9 per cent in 2013 compared with 1.7 per cent and 2.2 per cent respectively across the country.




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