October 2015 Alberta Economic Fundamentals

Ally

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Calgarians resilient despite recent downturn. "not Their First Economic Rodeo"

Respondents to the Calgary Foundation’s ninth annual Vital Signs survey gave the city an overall B grade, meaning they are generally satisfied with life in Calgary but indicating there’s room for improvement.

Although the overall measure is unchanged, low oil prices and the resulting loss of thousands of jobs in the oilpatch and the industries that depend on it have created a some unease: 69 per cent of 1,819 Calgarians who responded to this year’s survey described themselves as happy — a decrease from 87 per cent of respondents last year.

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Federal parties promise Edmonton LRT funding

Mayor Don Iveson has high hopes for building more LRT sooner thanks to “large ongoing commitment from all three federal parties to transit funding.”

During their respective campaigns, the three major parties in the federal election have promised increases in transit investment for cities.


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Wait a minute, isn't refining what they campaigned on? AB NDP lukewarm on refinery expansions

Alberta’s NDP government is offering no guarantees that it will support expansions of an $8.5-billion taxpayer-supported bitumen refinery, even as it seeks to create jobs through oil-sands processing within the province.

The Sturgeon Refinery, led by privately held North West Upgrading, is under construction at Redwater, north of Edmonton, and the first phase, designed to process 80,000 barrels of diluted bitumen a day, is scheduled to be completed in late 2017. The design calls for up to two later expansions.

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Ally

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Calgary housing market weathering energy downturn: Royal LePage

The real estate company’s House Price Survey said the aggregate median price of a home in Calgary rose 0.8 per cent from a year ago to $465,374.

Its aggregate prices are calculated by a weighted average of the median values of homes in the regions surveyed.

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Pipelines and Politics: Where the parties stand on oil and gas issues

If elected, the Liberals will launch an immediate review of Canada’s regulatory process for oil and gas projects, the NDP will work with provinces to put a price on carbon, and the Green Party’s Carbon Fee and Dividend Plan will give every Canadian over age 18 an annual carbon dividend. The incumbent Conservatives oppose all these plans, as the Canadian political parties paint starkly different visions of the country’s oil and gas sector.

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Oil is in the most severe downturn in decades and the worst is not over, energy giant warns

Chief Executive Officer Paal Kibsgaard said in July that a recovery might begin by the end of the year. Now it looks like it will be 2017 before a recovery kicks in, Kibsgaard said in a conference call with analysts Friday after Schlumberger reported a 49 per cent drop in third-quarter profit.

“The market is underestimating how long this period is going to take,” Kibsgaard said on the call. “Just the fact that the industry is looking to again reduce investments when we have this significant pending supply impact coming, shows we have an increasing challenge.”

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Ally

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Alberta's energy sector: The upside to a downturn

Ditch the sticky notes. Bin the markers. Put that giant tablet of paper on a three-legged stand at the back of the storage closet.

Office brainstorming is going high tech and Alberta-based companyNureva is on the cutting edge.

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Manufacturing sales in Alberta continue to slide

Statistics Canada said the downward trend was driven by lower sales in the industries of machinery (-14.1 per cent), petroleum and coal products (-2.5 per cent) and fabricated metal products (-7.1 per cent. On a year-over-year basis, sales in the province were down 14 per cent.

Nick Ford, economist with ATB Financial, said Alberta’s manufacturing sector is waiting to register a comeback, with August’s reading two per cent lower than the year’s average for monthly shipments.

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Calgary home prices firm despite weak energy prices

October 21, Calgary: The effect of drop in oil prices on the real estate sector of Calgary is not as bleak as it seems. According to a report by Royal LePage survey, the diversifying economy of this city has helped in maintaining an assuring stability in the market. Thanks to this effect, the aggregate house prices have actually increased by 0.8 per cent from last year to $465,374.

Looking into the breakdown for median prices based on house types in Calgary, the price of single-family 2-storey homes increased by 1% on a year-over-year basis to $522,052 and condominiums saw a rise of 3% to $310,665. The report is part of a newly introduced Royal LePage National House Price Composite that considers house values in 53 of Canada's biggest real estate markets.

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Okotoks: Picture perfect town just outside Calgary has amazing property investment opportunities

“It was picture perfect; and the property investment opportunities were amazing.”

His commercial property investment has outperformed residential properties handsomely since. “Whatever money I invested in property has grown 100 per cent. It turned out to be the best investment I’ve made in Canada.”

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Trudeau victory means uncertain future for pipeline project

The Liberal victory in yesterday's federal election appears to be the nail in the coffin for one West Coast pipeline project, but the future of another remains unclear.

Incoming-prime minister Justin Trudeau is on record saying he would kill the Northern Gateway Pipeline proposal, which would carry crude oil from the Alberta oilsands to a tanker terminal on the North Coast of B.C. near Prince Rupert.

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Liberal win create uncertainty among Alberta business community

Alberta business owners and executives woke up to a looming unknown, this morning. For the past decade, there has been an Albertan in Ottawa: a man who encouraged the development of the oil sands, lowered taxes for corporations, travelled the world in an attempt to secure market access for Alberta’s valued commodities, and who proudly sported a cowboy hat at the Calgary Stampede each year. But last night, all that changed when Justin Trudeau surprised everyone (probably even himself) by securing a majority government — including four seats in Alberta. That has left Alberta business community wondering what this all means for them.

“There are still some unanswered questions in particular to our energy sector and the role that the federal government will play in helping increase our access to export markets while developing resources in an environmentally responsible way,” says Justin Smith, director of policy, research and government relations with the Calgary Chamber of Commerce.

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Ally

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Housing market in Fort McMurray area takes hard punch from depressed oil prices

According to data obtained from the Canadian Real Estate Association, MLS residential sales in the Fort McMurray area plunged in September to 80 transactions, down 39.8 per cent from a year ago. The average sale price was also off by 12.6 per cent to $536,741,

Those declines had a huge impact on the total dollar value of transactions in the Fort McMurray market in September which fell by 47.4 per cent to $42.9 million.

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Ally

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Unemployment up in the south, but still below average

Unemployment is up in the southern Alberta region that includes both Medicine Hat and Lethbridge, but continues to fall below the provincial average, according to Statistics Canada.

The latest numbers from Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey show the region’s unemployment rate has hit 5.2 per cent — the highest since June 2013 — but still remains well under the provincial average of 6.3 per cent.

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