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Gas prices to spike to seven-year high this week – Toronto Sun

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Analyst Dan McTeague says GTA gas prices to top June 2014’s high of $143.9 … and could crack $1.50 by November

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And so begins the winter of our discontent.

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That’s what’s in analyst Dan McTeague’s crystal ball as gas prices soar to their highest point  since 2014 — with 142.9 cents per litre expected at the pumps by Wednesday.

“It’s that old proverbial ‘perfect storm,’ but much of it is deliberate,” he said.

“There’s nothing stopping these prices from pushing to $1.50 per litre in the next few weeks.”

Tuesday proved a volatile day for the energy markets with natural gas prices spiking nearly 15% in anticipation of the winter heating season, McTeague said.

The last time gas prices were this high, McTeague said, was on June 21, 2014 when a litre of regular unleaded sold for 143.9.

“At that time, oil was trading for $109 per barrel,” he said, referring to West Texas Intermediate (WTI) — the benchmark used to establish Canadian gas prices.

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“It’s now, it’s just $79.80, so the question is how come?”

That, he said, is largely due to taxes, not to mention the weak Canadian dollar.

“It’s only 125 pennies to buy a U.S. dollar,” he said. “When we last saw these prices, the Canadian dollar was more like $1.10.

“We’re not selling enough oil, and the oil that we are selling is shut in, thanks to pipeline blockages.”

These factors will mean gas prices are headed in an uncomfortably upward trajectory.

And with portents on energy futures eyeing WTI’s return to $100 per barrel, prices could be on the rise well into 2022.

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But what does $100-per-barrel oil mean for Canadian gas prices?

“Given the weakness of the Canadian dollar, and because we block pipelines in this country as policy, that would add almost immediately 22 to 23 cents per litre,” McTeague said.

That doesn’t just translate to bigger pain at the pumps, but also higher transportation costs across all sectors passed on to consumers.

“You can fool around with gasoline and say ‘hey, it’s for big fat cats that want to drive around in their vehicles,’ but what do you about with diesel for transit, or natural gas to keep the economy humming along?” he said.

bpassifiume@postmedia.com
On Twitter: @bryanpassifiume

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How many lives have coronavirus vaccines saved? Our new analysis finds out – AlterNet

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by Sumedha Gupta, IUPUI

More than 200 million U.S. residents have gotten at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine with the expectation that the vaccines slow virus transmission and save lives.

Researchers know the efficacy of the vaccines from large-scale clinical trials, the gold standard for medical research. The studies found the vaccines to be very effective at preventing severe COVID–19 and especially good at preventing death. But it’s important to track any new treatment in the real world as the population-level benefits of vaccines could differ from the efficacy found in clinical trials.

For instance, some people in the U.S. have only been getting the first shot of a two-shot vaccine and are therefore less protected than a fully vaccinated person. Alternatively, vaccinated people are much less likely to transmit COVID-19 to others, including those who are not vaccinated. This could make vaccines more effective at a population level than in the clinical trials.

I am a health economist, and my team and I have been studying the effects of public policy interventions like vaccination have had on the pandemic. We wanted to know how many lives vaccines may have saved due to the states’ COVID-19 vaccination campaigns in the U.S.

Building an accurate model

In March 2021, when weekly data on state COVID-19 vaccinations started to become reliably available from state agencies, my team began to analyze the association between state vaccination rates and the subsequent COVID-19 cases and deaths in each state. Our goal was to build a model that was accurate enough to measure the effect of vaccination within the complicated web of factors that influence COVID–19 deaths.

To do this, our model compares COVID-19 incidence in states with high vaccination rates against states with low vaccination rates. As part of the analysis, we controlled for things that influence the spread of the coronavirus, like state–by–state differences in weather and population density, seasonally driven changes in social behavior and non-pharmaceutical interventions like stay-at-home orders, mask mandates and overnight business closures. We also accounted for the fact that there is a delay between when a person is first vaccinated and when their immune system has built up protection.

Vaccines saved lives

To check the strength of our model before playing with variables, we first compared reported deaths with an estimate that our model produced.

When we fed it all of the information available – including vaccination rates – the model calculated that by May 9, 2021, there should have been 569,193 COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. The reported death count by that date was 578,862, less than a 2% difference from our model’s prediction.

Equipped with our well-working statistical model, we were then able to “turn off” the vaccination effect and see how much of a difference vaccines made.

Using near real-time data of state vaccination rates, coronavirus cases and deaths in our model, we found that in the absence of vaccines, 708,586 people would have died by May 9, 2021. We then compared that to our model estimate of deaths with vaccines: 569,193. The difference between those two numbers is just under 140,000. Our model suggests that vaccines saved 140,000 lives by May 9, 2021.

Our study only looked at the few months just after vaccination began. Even in that short time frame, COVID-19 vaccinations saved many thousands of lives despite vaccination rates still being fairly low in several states by the end of our study period. I can say with certainty that vaccines have since then saved many more lives – and will continue to do so as long as the coronavirus is still around.The Conversation

Sumedha Gupta, Associate Professor of Economics, IUPUI

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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Coronavirus in Quebec: 679 more cases, three new deaths, eight more hospitalizations – CTV News Montreal

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MONTREAL —
Quebec COVID-19 cases increased on Saturday with 679 new cases, including 460 people who were not fully vaccinated.

The province’s health ministry said 435 of those who newly tested positive were unvaccinated, 25 received one dose of vaccine more than two weeks ago, and 219 were double-vaxxed more than a week ago.

The province also added three new deaths due to the disease, bringing that total to 11,440.

The health ministry said that 36 patients checked into a Quebec hospital for COVID-19 treatment and 28 were discharged, raising the hospitalization total to 309. Of the new patients, 19 were unvaccinated, two received one jab more than 14 days ago, and 15 were double-vaxxed more than 14 days ago.

Intensive care ward numbers dropped by one for a total of 78.

The vaccination rate for those eligible to receive a vaccine is now 86 per cent for two doses, and 90 per cent for one.

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SocGen CEO expects earnings growth in 2022 to be more moderate

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French bank Societe Generale SA in 2022 should record a “more moderate” growth in its results than in the current year, Chief Executive Frederic Oudea said on Sunday.

In an interview with weekly Journal du Dimanche, Oudea called 2021 an atypical year, citing a very low cost of risk, which reflects provisions against bad loans, a strong post-pandemic economic rebound, and a flow of savings towards more dynamic investments.

“Next year will undoubtedly be a year of more moderate growth,” Oudea said.

SocGen, France’s third-biggest listed lender, said this week it would cut 3,700 jobs between 2023 and 2025 as it merges its retail network with that of its Credit du Nord unit, but added there would be no forced redundancies.

To strengthen its profitability and financial solvency, the bank has restructured its operations in recent years, notably with the sale of businesses in Central and Eastern Europe and by refocusing its corporate and investment banking.

 

(Reporting by Sybille de La Hamaide and Matthieu Protard; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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