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  • 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
  • The energy industry’s insatiable thirst for water threatens First Nations’ treaty-protected rights June 21, 2017
    Our latest report looks at the growing concerns that First Nations in British Columbia have with the fossil fuel industry’s increasing need for large volumes of water for natural gas fracking operations. Titled Fracking, First Nations and Water: Respecting Indigenous rights and better protecting our shared resources, it describes what steps should be taken to […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Betting on Bitumen: Alberta's energy policies from Lougheed to Klein June 8, 2017
    The role of government in Alberta, both involvement and funding, has been critical in ensuring that more than narrow corporate interests were served in the development of the province’s bitumen resources.  A new report contrasts the approaches taken by two former premiers during the industry’s early development and rapid expansion periods.  The Lougheed government invested […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Canada-China FTA will leave workers worse off June 2, 2017
    Global Affairs Canada is currently consulting Canadians on a possible Canada-China free trade agreement. In CCPA’s submission to this process, CCPA senior researcher Scott Sinclair argues that an FTA based on Canada’s standard template would almost certainly reinforce rather than improve upon Canada’s imbalanced and deleterious trade with China. It can also be expected to […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Faulty assumptions about pipelines and tidewater access May 30, 2017
    The federal and Alberta governments and the oil industry argue that pipelines to tidewater will unlock new markets where Canadian oil can command a better price than in the US, where the majority of Canadian oil is currently exported. Both governments have approved Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain Expansion Project, but a new report finds that […]
    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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