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  • Ontario's middle and working class families are losing ground August 15, 2017
    Ontario is becoming more polarized as middle and working class families see their share of the income pie shrinking while upper middle and rich families take home even more. New research from CCPA-Ontario Senior Economist Sheila Block reveals a staggering divide between two labour markets in the province: the top half of families continue to pile […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Join us in October for the CCPA-BC fundraising gala, featuring Senator Murray Sinclair August 14, 2017
    We are incredibly honoured to announce that Senator Murray Sinclair will address our 2017 Annual Gala as keynote speaker, on Thursday, October 19 in Vancouver. Tickets are now on sale. Will you join us? Senator Sinclair has served as chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), was the first Indigenous judge appointed in Manitoba, […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • How to make NAFTA sustainable, equitable July 19, 2017
    Global Affairs Canada is consulting Canadians on their priorities for, and concerns about, the planned renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). In CCPA’s submission to this process, Scott Sinclair, Stuart Trew and Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood point out how NAFTA has failed to live up to its promise with respect to job and productivity […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • What’s next for BC? July 4, 2017
    Five weeks ago the CCPA-BC began a letter to our supporters with this statement: “What an interesting and exciting moment in BC politics! For a bunch of policy nerds like us at the CCPA, it doesn’t get much better than this.” At the time, we were writing about the just-announced agreement between the BC NDP […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Could skyrocketing private sector debt spell economic crisis? June 21, 2017
    Our latest report finds that Canada is racking up private sector debt faster than any other advanced economy in the world, putting the country at risk of serious economic consequences. The report, Addicted to Debt, reveals that Canada has added $1 trillion in private sector debt over the past five years, with the corporate sector […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
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Saskatchewan Budget Saved by Falling Loonie

Following last week’s troubling news about potash, the Saskatchewan government released its first-quarter financial report today. The headline seems to be “Oil Keeps Budget in Black”, with a forecast increase in oil revenue more than offsetting a forecast decline in potash and other revenues.

But the forecast West Texas Intermediate price is only up by a couple of dollars since the provincial budget. A larger difference is that the forecast exchange rate has fallen from 99 to 96 US cents.

As shown at the bottom of page 4 (3 of 5 in the PDF), the forecast US-dollar price of oil is up by 2.4% from the budget estimate (i.e. $95.03/$92.84). But the Canadian-dollar price of oil is up by 6.3% (i.e. $80.01/$75.29). This comparison also includes changes in transport costs and/or grade differentials since the Canadian-dollar value is an average wellhead price.

However, the exchange rate’s effect is not limited to oil. The lower loonie has the same positive effect on the Canadian-dollar value of all commodities priced in US dollars.

The forecast-US dollar potash price is down by 5.8% (i.e. 1 – ($372/$395)). But the Canadian-dollar potash price is down by only 2.8% (i.e. 1 – ($636/$654)).

Indeed, the potash comparison purely reflects the three-point shift in the exchange rate. Both prices are mine netbacks, so there is no difference in transport costs. (Although the US price is per KCl tonne and the Canadian price is per K2O tonne, the physical ratio of KCl to K2O has not changed since the budget!)

While Premier Wall blasted federal NDP leader Tom Mulcair for questioning the overvalued loonie, Wall is now reaping the fiscal benefits of a slightly more moderate exchange rate.

I am not holding my breath for Wall to acknowledge that Mulcair had a point, although I note that he has come around to the NDP’s position on the Senate.

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