“This recovery plan will create tens of thousands of jobs and make our economy more productive in the long run with the largest infrastructure build in Alberta history, with $10-billion in projects that will move people from unemployment to good jobs right now. Building roads, bridges, overpasses, water projects, pipelines, gas lines, schools, hospitals, long term care homes for seniors, drug treatment centres for those struggling with addiction, tourism infrastructure, and much more.”
Kenney says this investment is expected to lead to the creation of 50,000 jobs, and create a boost for surrounding businesses from restaurants to subcontractors to hotels. The investment represents about a 40 per cent increase over what had previously been budgeted in the capital plan for this fiscal year. Plans are also in the works to create 7,000 jobs for the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.
The Provincial Government is also accelerating the Job Creation Tax Cut, and reducing the general business tax rate from 10 to 8 per cent, effective July 1. Kenney says this will create an attractive environment for new business investments, and be amongst the lowest rates in all of North America.
“This will accelerate the creation of an estimated 55,000 jobs, new full-time private-sector jobs, and stimulate, we estimate, $13-billion in economic growth.”
Toews says reducing the tax rate will have between a $200-300,000,000 impact on provincial revenues, and a $100-200,000,000 impact on next year’s revenues, but will create a competitive business environment that he says will lead to increased investments. He also says that, due to the reduced economic activity, Alberta will be losing billions of dollars in revenue this year, and it’s crucial to make these investments that create jobs and attract businesses.
There are also plans to launch the Innovation Employment Grant to attract the technology and innovation sectors. Kenney adds that, in order to support this initiative, the province will put $175-million into the Alberta Enterprise Corporation, and expand access to venture capital for early-stage start-up companies.
Plans are also in the works to create Investment Alberta, a new provincial agency dedicated to leading a world-wide campaign to attract job-creating investments, growing the network of international offices, and providing assistance and incentives to prospective investors.
Kenney adds that they will also try to put Albertans first for available jobs, by asking the Federal Government to reduce the number of occupational categories under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program for Alberta. He says by exercising their power under the Temporary Foreign Worker Annex through the Alberta-Canada Agreement on Immigration Cooperation, they will identify certain occupational opportunities that should not be processed for temporary foreign workers.
“We’re asking Ottawa not to process applications for temporary foreign workers in a range of dozens of occupational categories, the vast majority of occupational categories. And the reason for this is because, as I’ve said, we’re facing a real unemployment rate of between 20 and 25 per cent across all ages and skill levels. And it is extremely difficult for me to justify employers looking outside of Alberta, to bring people into a labour market in the midst of an unprecedented crisis.
“So what we are doing is telling employers, in the vast majority of occupations, that they will not, for the time being, be able to access the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.”
He acknowledges that there will be some industries that are exempt from this suspension of the program, as they require workers with specific skills that are in short supply in this province. However, Kenney adds that plans are in the works to create targeted training programs that would allow Albertans to get a foot in the door of these industries.
Kenney says most of these initiatives are still being developed, and further details will be announced in the coming weeks as the plans are finalized.
A full update of the financial and employment impact the oil price war and COVID-19 pandemic has had on Alberta’s economy is expected to be announced sometime in the summer.
More China coal investments overseas cancelled than commissioned since 2017
More China-invested overseas coal-fired power capacity was cancelled than commissioned since 2017, research showed on Wednesday, highlighting the obstacles facing the industry as countries work to reduce carbon emissions.
The Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) said that the amount of capacity shelved or cancelled since 2017 was 4.5 times higher than the amount that went into construction over the period.
Coal-fired power is one of the biggest sources of climate-warming carbon dioxide emissions, and the wave of cancellations also reflects rising concerns about the sector’s long-term economic competitiveness.
Since 2016, the top 10 banks involved in global coal financing were all Chinese, and around 12% of all coal plants operating outside of China can be linked to Chinese banks, utilities, equipment manufacturers and construction firms, CREA said.
But although 80 gigawatts of China-backed capacity is still in the pipeline, many of the projects could face further setbacks as public opposition rises and financing becomes more difficult, it added.
China is currently drawing up policies that it says will allow it to bring greenhouse gas emissions to a peak by 2030 and to become carbon-neutral by 2060.
But it was responsible for more than half the world’s coal-fired power generation last year, and it will not start to cut coal consumption until 2026, President Xi Jinping said in April.
Environmental groups have called on China to stop financing coal-fired power entirely and to use the funds to invest in cleaner forms of energy, and there are already signs that it is cutting back on coal investments both at home and abroad.
Following rule changes implemented by the central bank earlier this year, “clean coal” is no longer eligible for green financing.
Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the world’s biggest bank by assets and a major source of global coal financing, is also drawing up a “road map” to pull out of the sector, its chief economist Zhou Yueqiu said at the end of May.
(Reporting by David Stanway; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)
Bank of Montreal CEO sees growth in U.S. share of earnings
Bank of Montreal expects its earnings contribution from the U.S. to keep growing, even without any mergers and acquisitions, driven by a much smaller market share than at home and nearly C$1 trillion ($823.38 billion) of assets, Chief Executive Officer Darryl White said on Monday.
“We do think we have plenty of scale,” and the ability to compete with both banks of similar as well as smaller size, White said at a Morgan Stanley conference, adding that the bank’s U.S. market share is between 1% and 5% based on the business line, versus 10% to 35% in Canada. “And we do it off the scale of our global balance sheet of C$950 billion.”
($1 = 1.2145 Canadian dollars)
(Reporting by Nichola Saminather; Editing by Leslie Adler)
GameStop falls 27% on potential share sale
Shares of GameStop Corp lost more than a quarter of their value on Thursday and other so-called meme stocks also declined in a sell-off that hit a broad range of names favored by retail investors.
The video game retailer’s shares closed down 27.16% at $220.39, their biggest one-day percentage loss in 11 weeks. The drop came a day after GameStop said in a quarterly report that it may sell up to 5 million new shares, sparking concerns of potential dilution for existing shareholders.
“The threat of dilution from the five million-share sale is the dagger in the hearts of GameStop shareholders,” said Jake Dollarhide, chief executive officer of Longbow Asset Management. “The meme trade is not working today, so logic for at least one day has returned.”
Soaring rallies in the shares of GameStop and AMC Entertainment Holdings over the past month have helped reinvigorate the meme stock frenzy that began earlier this year and fueled big moves in a fresh crop of names popular with investors on forums such as Reddit’s WallStreetBets.
Many of those names traded lower on Thursday, with shares of Clover Health Investments Corp down 15.2%, burger chain Wendy’s falling 3.1% and prison operator Geo Group Inc, one of the more recently minted meme stocks, down nearly 20% after surging more than 38% on Wednesday. AMC shares were off more than 13%.
Worries that other companies could leverage recent stock price gains by announcing share sales may be rippling out to the broader meme stock universe, said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at Cresset Capital.
AMC last week took advantage of a 400% surge in its share price since mid-May to announce a pair of stock offerings.
“It appears that other companies, like GameStop, are hoping to follow AMC’s lead by issuing shares and otherwise profit from the meme stocks run-up,” Ablin said. “Investors are taking a dim view of that strategy.”
Wedbush Securities on Thursday raised its price target on GameStop to $50, from $39. GameStop will likely sell all 5 million new shares but that amount only represents a “modest” dilution of 7%, Wedbush analysts wrote.
GameStop on Wednesday reported stronger-than-expected earnings, and named the former head of Amazon.com Inc’s Australian business as its chief executive officer.
GameStop’s shares rallied more than 1,600% in January when a surge of buying forced bearish investors to unwind their bets in a phenomenon known as a short squeeze.
The company on Wednesday said the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission had requested documents and information related to an investigation into that trading.
In the past two weeks, the so-called “meme stocks” have received $1.27 billion of retail inflows, Vanda Research said on Wednesday, matching their January peak.
(Reporting by Aaron Saldanha and Sagarika Jaisinghani in Bengaluru and Sinead Carew in New York; Additional reporting by Ira Iosebashvili; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila, Shounak Dasgupta, Jonathan Oatis and Nick Zieminski)
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