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Travel bans cause oil prices to drop again as stocks hammered

Canadian-based oil company stocks have fallen over 50 per cent in the last six days.

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Oil prices were down again Thursday as stocks made historic plummet after American president Donald Trump announced late Wednesday that the U.S. was banning flights from Europe.

The economic impacts of the global pandemic COVID-19 are beginning to surface and new announcements on travel bans have caused another drop in oil prices Thursday.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) dropped another 5 per cent to US$31.59 and Brent saw a 6.5 per cent drop to US$33.47.

“After consulting with our top government health professionals, I have decided to take several strong but necessary actions to protect the health and well-being of all Americans.” Trump said in a national address.

” To keep new cases from entering our shores, we will be suspending all travel from Europe to the United States for the next 30 days. The new rules will go into effect Friday (March 13) at midnight.”

“These prohibitions will not only apply to the tremendous amount of trade and cargo but various other things as we get approval. Anything coming from Europe to the United States is what we are discussing. These restrictions will also not apply to the United Kingdom.”

The White House has said Trump misspoke and the restrictions only apply to human travel but the announcement caused markets to drop in Asia at the time.

As fears of infection grow and travel is being restricted or, in Canada’s case, not recommended, the oil industry is taking the brunt of a decreased demand for jet fuel.

Oil and gas companies are taking a further hit to their personal stock prices.

Canadian-based oil company stocks fell over 50 per cent this week with Cenovus moving from Friday’s CAD$7.90 close to CAD$3.55 Thursday. CNRL stock dropped from CAD$30.26 on Friday to CAD$18.88 Thursday.

Cenovus responded to the sudden drop with an announcement to cut back on capital expenditures by 32 per cent.

“We have top-tier assets, one of the lowest cost structures in our industry and we’ve made significant progress in deleveraging over the past few years,” said Alex Pourbaix, Cenovus President & Chief Executive Officer in a company new release.

“Consistent with our commitment to balance sheet strength, we’re exercising our flexibility to reduce discretionary capital while maintaining our base business and delivering safe and reliable operations.”

Ovintiv (formerly Encana) also announced today that it would scale back its planned investment by $300 million in reaction to the oil price drop.

“We are moving quickly and decisively in response to these volatile and challenging times. It is imperative to take immediate action and we are dropping roughly two-thirds of our operated rigs and reducing our cash costs by $100 million,” said CEO Doug Suttles in a press release.

“Market conditions are changing rapidly, and we have full operational flexibility to further adjust activity to maintain our balance sheet strength.”

Carnival’s Princess Cruises announced it would suspend global operations for a two-month period – from March 12 to May 13 – over COVID-19 spread causing its share prices to drop sharply.

The cruise line saw more than 700 infections in a quarantined ship that was docked near Japan in early February and its Mexico cruise which ended February 21 saw infections follow in the public afterward. A third cruise, headed for Hawaii, was quarantined off San Francisco early in March and eventually cancelled.

Stock prices were down to historically important lows with TSX down 1,761 points (12 per cent) and in New York, the Dow lost 2,350 points (10 per cent) with the NASDAQ and S&P 500 following closely behind. It was the biggest loss ever in one day for the Dow as it sunk to its lowest point since 1987.

Deirdre Mitchell-MacLean is a Senior Reporter with Western Standard
dmaclean@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter @Mitchell_AB

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UCP MLA calls Alberta CERB recipients lazy ‘Cheezie-eaters’

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The NDP is calling for an apology from Premier Jason Kenney after one of his MLAs called Albertans lazy “Cheezie-eating” people who used CERB money for drugs.

Lac Ste. Anne-Parkland MLA Shane Getson also called the federal emergency COVID-19 cash “funny money” at a recent townhall meeting.

He noted some companies are having trouble hiring workers because people make more on CERB and those Alberta recipients are “eating Cheezies watching cartoons.”

Getson said a friend in B.C. had noted drug abusers there had suddenly gone from earning $700 a month to $2,000 on CERB, a problem he has also noticed in Alberta.

“Now all of a sudden we have addiction problems going through the roof…then what, the funny money runs out.”

It’s unclear in the clip whether at the start Getson was referring to all Albertans or just those on drugs.

Getson video

“It is absolutely vile that a UCP MLA would make such a baseless and harmful statement about the hardworking people of Alberta who were forced to access emergency support during a global pandemic,” said Christina Gray, NDP Labour Critic. 

“People accessed these funds because their workplaces shut down or because they or their families were forced to isolate. The UCP defends their own use of emergency support for their debt ridden political party, while their MLA attacks struggling Albertans who needed support. Premier Kenney and Shane Getson owe all Albertans an apology for these thoughtless and hurtful comments.” 

Statistics Canada said 1,062,640 Albertans applied for the CERB.

“These comments are heartless and appalling,” said Heather Sweet, NDP Critic for Addictions and Mental Health. 

Notley tweet

“We learned just days ago about the tragic deaths of 301 Albertans to opioid overdoses. For an MLA to essentially joke about addictions at this time is beyond the pale. It speaks to the lack of compassion this government repeatedly shows when it comes to addressing mental health and addictions in this province Getson needs to immediately apologize for his ignorant and hurtful comments.”

Getson issued a statement later Tuesday.

Today, the NDP has politicized some remarks I made at a recent town hall by taking them out of context for political gain. The context was that a local business owner had raised concerns about not being able to hire workers despite being able to operate.

Clearly, the vast majority of recipients of government support truly need it. At the same time, some legitimate concerns have been raised about these programs that cannot be ignored. 

According to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, CERB was the number one reason cited by small business owners for their inability to recall workers. And according to Ottawa Inner City Health, CERB is fueling overdoses in Canada’s capital city.

These are important issues that deserve our attention as they are happening everywhere. I recently spoke about these issues at a town hall in my community. Unsurprisingly, the NDP is now attacking me instead of focusing on how we keep our people safe.

It is important that we look at the evidence objectively. This will help protect our families and businesses in these difficult times.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Moe promises balanced budget in Saskatchewan in four years

“I believe in Saskatchewan. But Scott Moe’s old ideas aren’t working,” said NDP leader Ryan Meili

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Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe kicked off the province’s election campaign with a vow to balance the books by 2024.

The province ran a $2.4-billion deficit for the 2020-21, a figure largely blamed on falling oil prices and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Moe, during a campaign kick-off in Regina, said his Saskatchewan Party has a “plan for a strong economic recovery with a balanced budget by 2024.”

He said Saskatchewan now, despite a “challenging economy”, has the lowest unemployment rate in the country and urged voters not to go back to the policies of the NDP.

“They closed hospitals, we are building hospitals,” said Moe, whose party is well ahead in the polls.

“This election is about ‘who do you trust.'”

NDP leader Ryan Meili was itching to get on the campaign trail.

“New Democrats are ready to run a great campaign against this government that is old and out of ideas. Let’s go!” he tweeted.

Ryan Meili
Courtesy Twitter

“I believe in Saskatchewan. But Scott Moe’s old ideas aren’t working. We need to invest in healthcare, in our kids’ schools, in getting people back on their feet. Let’s build a better future that puts people first.”

The election will be held Oct. 26, two days after the vote in B.C.

When the legislature was dissolved, Moe’s Saskatchewan Party held a 46-13 lead over the NDP.

Moe was sworn in as premier in 2018.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Report: Trudeau’s second carbon tax would devastate Canada

“It will sacrifice the Canadian standard of living that has made our country a desirable place to live for so long. Trudeau will make it even harder to live in Canada.”

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The second Liberal carbon tax will have a crushing effect on the Canadian economy, a new study shows.

The Clean Fuel Standard will increase the cost of home heating by 60 per cent, drive up the price of gas another 13 cents a litre, cost 30,000 jobs, put at risk $22 billion in foreign capital in Canada and cost every worker an additional $440 yearly, says the group Canadian for Affordable Energy.

Their report claims “the additional emission regulation undermines the efficiency of any existing carbon tax in reducing GHG emissions; that despite its cost the CFS will accomplish very little – especially in a growing economy; and that, depending on compliance options, the CFS may end up creating environmental challenges, not opportunities.

Study of second carbon tax on Alberta

“The problems of the Clean Fuel Standard (CFS) are truly represented in its name, which misleadingly suggests that the policy will deliver clean air. But Canada already has remarkably high clean air standards which are rarely violated,” said the report, written by former Liberal MP Dan McTeague.

“If the (Prime Minister Justin) Trudeau government is to pursue the lofty goal of zero emissions above all else, it will sacrifice the Canadian standard of living that has made our country a desirable place to live for so long. Trudeau will make it even harder to live in Canada.”

Study of second carbon tax on B.C.

The second carbon tax is part of Canada’s plan within the Paris Accord to reduce emissions 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.

The Liberals have been planning the CFS since they came to power but the COVID-19 pandemic delayed their plans until now.

Federal environment minister Jonathan Wilkinson said the CFS will diversify the economy and promote investment in clean solutions.

“It will create opportunities for farmers and companies producing renewable fuels, will encourage investments in energy efficiency to help Canadians save money and will promote faster development of zero emissions vehicles,” he said in a statement.

“The cost implications for households and industry are unclear but a study by the Canadian Energy Research Institute in May 2019 estimated the impact of a 20 per cent reduction in carbon intensity. CERI suggested a total fuel decarbonisation cost of $15.3 billion a year, adding $84 or four per cent to household fuel bills; $62 or 2.8 per cent to the cost of gas; and 13 per cent to fuel costs for industry.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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