February 2015 Alberta Economic Fundamentals

Ally

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RBC predicts oil price rebound
in mid-year AND will help Alberta avoid recession in 2015. hmmm


An RBC Economics report suggests a rebound in oil prices, starting by the middle of this year, will help Alberta avoid a recession.

The report, by senior economist Robert Hogue, said an uptick in prices will “help rebuild confidence in the province and prevent activity from entering a full-blown contractionary spiral.”

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Workers still finding jobs in Alberta, labour force numbers show



Workers are finding jobs in Alberta but the oil and gas industry is taking a hit, January employment numbers show.

Alberta added 13,700 jobs in January, most of them full-time, bringing gains over the past 12 months to 67,000 or 3.0 per cent.

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Demand for Calgary retail space remains high despite slumping economy

Uncertainty related to declining oil prices isn’t affecting the appetite of retailers wanting to set up shop or expand in Calgary.

A report by Barclay Street Real Estate indicates that in the last six months of 2014, retail vacancy rates in the city dropped from 2.7 per cent to 2.2 per cent and nearly 14 million square feet of new retail development is either being proposed or currently under construction.

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Secondary suite reform in
central #Calgary wards headed to council this spring


When council considers a mass rezoning for homes in more than one-quarter of Calgary for secondary suites this spring, it will be in the areas that could bring the biggest boost to post-secondary students.

The next big debate on secondary suite reform will be a proposal to erase zoning restrictions for basement dwellings in Wards 7, 8, 9 and 11 — the most central wards, and the ones whose councillors are most firmly in favour of allowing suites throughout Calgary.

Those wards are also home to SAIT Polytechnic, Bow Valley College and both city universities.

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Housing market downturn has a ripple effect in Calgary economy

The ripple effect of a slumping real estate industry, combined with plunging oil prices, is already starting to be felt by businesses throughout Calgary.

“We’ve definitely seen an impact,” said Dell Lloyd, owner of Omega 2000 Cribbing Inc., in Calgary, which does foundation work for several large home builders. “I’m guessing this year our starts will be down probably about 15 per cent.

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Don’t Panic: Why Alberta
will be fine, despite oil prices


Like throwing a rock into a pond, a decline in the price of oil sends ripples off in every direction, moving in unpredictable ways. While low prices are tough on producers and a nightmare for the Alberta government, they also have unexpected upsides. “One of the real benefits of a slowdown is that it recalibrates cost,” says Todd Hirsch, chief economist at ATB Financial. “Everything returns to something closer to a healthier balance.”

Six months ago, the big issue for oil producers in Alberta was cost of labour and materials, making a lot of projects that may have once been economical at $70-a-barrel for oil uneconomical at $90. “We are going to see an unravelling of cost,” Hirsch says.

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Mood in High River a study in contrasts



Gary Parker’s two-storey home boasts gleaming hardwood floors, a gourmet kitchen and sweeping views of the Rockies. The only glitch is how he managed to get such a coveted view.

“They tore down our next-door neighbour’s house three months ago,” says the father of six. “We were sad to see them go … now we can see the mountains.”

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Ally

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The best oil traders in the
business say this price drop is not over


The slump in oil prices may not be over, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

The decline in the number of U.S. drilling rigs that’s helped crude futures in New York rebound 14% from this year’s low isn’t enough to reduce an oversupply, the U.S. bank said in a note dated Feb. 10. Lower prices are needed for American output to slow sufficiently to rebalance global markets, it said.

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Edmonton's fast population growth to slow in 2015, city economist says

Edmonton has emerged from the latest Statistics Canada population snapshot as the second-fastest-growing city in Canada, behind only Calgary.

But the downturn in the economy means the rapid growth won’t continue into 2015, the city’s chief economist warns.

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And the politics continue:
#Keystone bill signed by House Speaker in U.S.


WASHINGTON - The Republican leadership in the United States Congress has made it official, formally enrolling legislation to build the privately funded Canadian Keystone XL pipeline and urging President Barack Obama to sign it.

In a ceremony on Friday, the Republican leader of the House of Representatives, Speaker John Boehner, put his signature on the bill and called on Obama to "do the right thing" and add his name.

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Ally

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House building downturn has
ripple effect in #Calgary economy. April will be keep month


The ripple effect of a slumping real estate industry, combined with plunging oil prices, is already starting to be felt by businesses throughout Calgary.

“We’ve definitely seen an impact,” said Dell Lloyd, owner of Omega 2000 Cribbing Inc., in Calgary, which does foundation work for several large home builders. “I’m guessing this year our starts will be down probably about 15 per cent.

Read the full article here.
 

Ally

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In a smart move by @chba
Builders #Calgary area housing starts plunge in January


A dramatic plunge in new home construction in the Calgary region could be a prelude of what’s in store for the city’s economy this year as the impact of the precipitous decline in oil prices takes hold.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. reported Monday that total starts in the Calgary census metropolitan area dropped by 43.8 per cent to 747 units in January from 1,328 units in January 2014. The multi-family sector saw a drop of 50.7 per cent to 430 units from 877 while the single-detached market experienced a 29.7 per cent decline to 317 units from 451.

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Canada’s Oliver Sees
Temporary Oil Hit as U.S. Rallies (Bloomberg)


Bloomberg) -- The combination of a weaker Canadian dollar, rising demand in the U.S. and lower borrowing costs means Canada’s economy will weather the impact of falling oil prices, Finance Minister Joe Oliver said.

Oliver said he agrees with the Bank of Canada’s recent assessment that falling oil prices will be a temporary drag, and exporters will soon regain their footing as the main drivers of growth.

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Gulf Coast crude import
opportunities grow for Canadian energy producers


CALGARY – With light oil imports falling to their lowest levels to date and heavy oil imports declining in North America’s largest refining market, analysts say there’s a growing opportunity for Canadian energy companies to ship more of their product to the U.S. Gulf Coast.

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Ally

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CIBC predicts mild recession for Alberta this year

Alberta appears headed for a mild and temporary recession this year, says a new report from CIBC World Markets.

The report, released Monday, forecasts the province’s annual economic growth will go from Canada’s best in 2014 (4.1 per cent) to the second worst in the nation this year, at negative-0.3 per cent. Newfoundland’s forecast is the worst, with real GDP expected to drop 1.3 per cent this year.

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Ally

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Alberta leads Canada's monthly drop in home sales



Given the ongoing effects of the lower oil prices, the Canadian Real Estate Association's latest report shows a drop in Canada's national home sales falling from December to January by 3.1%, particularly in Alberta and Saskatchewan. And while Calgary's year-over-year home prices are higher, they have been losing steam as well. Gregory Klump, the Chief Economist at Canadian Real Estate Association walks us through the numbers to better gauge the health of the real estate market in Alberta as well as well Canada's other markets

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Edmonton second-fastest growing city in Canada

Edmonton is the second fastest-growing city in the country, according to new numbers from Statistics Canada.

Edmonton’s metropolitan area population grew by 3.3 per cent from July 2013 to July 2014 – slightly lower than its growth of 3.5 per cent the previous year – and was eclipsed only by Calgary at 3.6 per cent.

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Ally

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Calgary's 'shovel ready' projects identified by city committee

Calgary wants to be ready in case the federal and provincial governments approve economic stimulus programs to help Alberta through a downturn.

A city council committee approved Tuesday what it calls a unified list of unfunded capital projects so it knows what's ready to build if stimulus programs are launched soon.

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Ally

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How is the drop in oil prices going to impact the Edmonton housing market?

Over the past six months, the price of gas has decreased significantly in the United States and Canada. In part, this decrease is due to increased fracking in North America. When the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Companies (OPEC) realized the impact of fracking, they collectively decided to reduce the price of exported oil to the United States and Canada.

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Ally

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Suncor to push ahead with $1.3 billion Fort Hills project

Suncor Energy Inc., Canada’s largest oil company, will push ahead with its planned Fort Hills oil sands project even as the price of oil hovers around $50 a barrel.

Suncor will spend C$1.6 billion ($1.3 billion) this year as it advances construction of the project, the Calgary-based company said in a statement Wednesday. The operation will begin producing oil at the end of 2017, the company added.

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