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Panic-buying in Winnipeg brings out re-sellers and claims of price gouging

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If you’ve been inside a large Winnipeg grocery store recently, you’ve likely been confronted with a concerning lack of cleaning supplies.

Toilet paper is especially hard to come by in larger stores, as all three Costco locations in Winnipeg said they were sold out Friday as shoppers lined up around the stores before it even opened.


Shoppers lined up at Costco on McGillivray Boulevard Friday morning.


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Over at online marketplaces, people are starting to sell supplies like toilet paper and disinfecting wipes at marked up prices.

 

Rolls of toilet paper were for sale at noon on Friday, ranging from $4-$10 for a single roll, up to $1,000 for a 12-pack.

“There’s no paper products left, the checkout line it’s twenty five minutes to stand in line and get through the checkout,” says Kim Lay, who shopped at the Costco on McGillivray
Boulevard Friday morning.

Red River Co-Op is rolling out restrictions when it comes to buying paper products. Customers are now limited to only 3 boxes each of: Kleenex, paper towel and toilet paper.

When it comes to toilet paper and now paper towel, you’d be hard pressed finding any at Superstore and Walmart locations as well.

Empty shelves at Kenaston WalMart on Friday.

Empty shelves at Kenaston WalMart on Friday.

Tiny bottles of hand sanitizer were going for $5-$10, larger bottles commanding $30 or more, while some sellers wanted $12 for a bucket of disinfecting wipes.

Ads were being removed as fast as they were being reported.

One reader tells Global News that some stores are beginning to charge more for staples like rice.

Andy, a longtime Coscto member restocked on toilet paper, but not because he doesnt have any at home.

“If something happened, it may happen and you have to stay home you better be prepared. Even if you don’t need it, it’s always good to have it just in case,” he said.

He’s just one of hundreds of Winnipeggers seen at Costco today with paper towel in their carts.

Some carts at Kenaston Costco in Winnipeg on Friday morning.

Some carts at Kenaston Costco in Winnipeg on Friday morning.


Marek Tkach / Global News

“There’s two scenarios, maybe need it and that’s fine. Maybe don’t need it and that’s fine also, I’ll have to come to Costco and buy it,” Andy concluded.

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Oil prices climb before OPEC+ talks, Asian shares falter – Aljazeera.com

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Oil prices climbed on Thursday, hours before the world’s largest oil producers are scheduled to meet to discuss output cuts as the coronavirus pandemic ravages demand.

Brent crude futures rose 2.5 percent or 81 cents to $33.65 as of 00:34 GMT after touching a high of $33.90, adding to gains in the previous session.

More:

United States crude futures were up 4.3 percent, or $1.08, at $26.17, having climbed as much as 6 percent the day before.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies including Russia, a group known as OPEC+, are set to convene a video conference meeting on Thursday.

The meeting is expected to be more successful than their gathering in March, where they failed to agree to extend supply cuts and triggered a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia.

Hopes of an agreement to cut between 10 million and 15 million barrels per day (bpd) rose after media reports suggested Russia was ready to reduce its output by 1.6 million bpd and Algeria’s energy minister said he expected a “fruitful” meeting.

“I think there’ll be a deal, which will bring a bit of cheer in the short run. Then everyone’s attention will refocus on the fundamentals. The fundamentals are appalling,” Lachlan Shaw, head of commodity research at National Australia Bank told Reuters news agency.

Global demand for oil has shrunk significantly as the coronavirus outbreak triggered travel restrictions and temporary business closures. In India, the world’s third-biggest consumer, oil demand has collapsed as much as 70 percent, according to officials at the country’s refiners.

In contrast to oil prices, Asian shares were mixed on Thursday after a three-day rally, with investors mulling the spread of the coronavirus and when economies will be able to ramp up again.

Shares in Tokyo dipped with the Nikkei declining 0.23 percent in early trade, but were higher in Sydney and Seoul. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was up 1.51 percent and South Korea’s Kospi gained 1.3 percent.

In China, blue chips declined 0.47 percent while the broader Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.19 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was also in the red, down 1.17 percent. 

US S&P 500 Index futures edged up after the gauge jumped 3.4 percent on Wednesday as Joe Biden emerged as the Democratic frontrunner in the US presidential race, bringing its rise from the March low to more than 20 percent.

But investors are still looking at numbers of new coronavirus cases and deaths for clues on where the global economy is headed.

“It’s all a question of when the economy reopens and how quickly that happens,” Nancy Davis, a chief investment officer with Quadratic Capital Management LLC told Bloomberg. “We aren’t out of the woods.”

While the White House’s top health advisers are developing medical criteria for safely reopening the US economy in coming weeks should these trends hold steady, the coronavirus killed a record number of victims in the United Kingdom and Belgium, as well as in the hard-hit states of New York and New Jersey. The number of new cases in Italy and Spain crept up after several days of declines.

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WestJet to rehire nearly 6,400 workers with help of federal wage subsidy – CBC.ca

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WestJet says 6,400 workers will be brought back onto its payroll once the federal government has approved an emergency wage subsidy program.

In a statement Wednesday night, WestJet CEO Ed Sims cautioned that there might not be enough work for the rehired employees, but noted “it does help them make ends meet.

“We will be communicating with those WestJetters who are affected by this decision as soon as we can,” said Sims.

Last month, WestJet announced it was cutting roughly half of its 14,000 employees with the elimination of 6,900 positions.

Canada’s airline industry has seen a dramatic reduction in demand due to lockdowns to control the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. 

The Calgary-based airline’s move to rehire its employees follows a similar move by Air Canada, which announced Wednesday that it would rehire 16,500 laid-off workers with assistance from the same federal wage subsidy program. 

The federal government’s emergency wage subsidy — originally targeted only at small- and medium-sized businesses — was expanded earlier in April to cover a 75-per-cent wage subsidy for Canadian companies that had lost 30 per cent of revenue due to the pandemic.

WestJet said it can’t guarantee that all employees will be coming back to work in the short-term, but the new subsidy will help out.

After announcing layoffs in late March, WestJet executives took a 50-per-cent pay cut and vice-presidents and directors took a 25-per-cent cut.

The airline also said it would reduce the number of flights offered in Canada by about half due to a reduced demand for travel.

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Oil Prices Surge with Production Cut Anticipation By – Investing.com

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© Reuters.

By Gina Lee

Investing.com – Oil prices built on the momentum from the previous session as the price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia seems to be nearing a truce.

Russia said overnight that it was willing to reduce output by around 1.6 barrels daily, or 15%.  The announcement saw WTI futures surging to almost 12% as the session closed.

International  rose 2.62% to $33.7 by 10:1PM ET (3:19 AM GMT) and U.S.  jumped 3.71% to $26.02.

As the oil industry continues to grapple with a supply glut, with the COVID-19 pandemic shrinking demand, Russia’s declaration comes at an opportune time. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) said overnight that the U.S. crude oil inventory increased by 15.2 million barrels for the week ending April 3, against analyst expectations of a 9.37-million-barrel build.

The American Petroleum Institute (API) also estimated a build of 11.9 million barrels yesterday.

Investors are waiting to see if Russia will hold to its word at OPEC+’s virtual meeting later in the day.

“The coming extraordinary producing-countries meeting is the only hope in the horizon for the market that could prevent a total price collapse and production shut-ins,” Rystad Energy’s head of oil markets Bjornar Tonhaugen told CNBC.

“At the moment, prices are so volatile that any news or leaks about the direction of the negotiations could move them [prices] either way. As you have seen in recent days, price swings from gains to losses and back are not unusual in such times,” he added.

But some investors took a more skeptical view.

“OPEC+ is trying mightily to cobble together a sizable production cut, and they are in full spin mode to try and rally prices,” Again Capital’s John Kilduff told CNBC.

[OPEC’s meeting] will be a make-or-break moment for the oil market. The math on a 10 million barrel per day cutback, which is the minimum necessary to stabilize the situation, is almost impossible to compute. I expect a bad day for OPEC+ tomorrow,” he added.

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