The year that is drawing to a close has not been good for oil. Despite production caps across OPEC and beyond, and despite the extra-large number and size of production outages, benchmark prices have stubbornly stayed range-bound below what oil-reliant OPEC economies consider a good price for their product. How did this happen?
First and foremost, it happened because of the U.S. shale boom, as Bloomberg’s Grant Smith wrote in a recent overview of oil in 2019. The consensus on the role of U.S. shale oil production growth seems to be unchallengeable. All oil price forecasts, including OPEC’s own, now regularly include U.S. oil production growth as the main reason for growth in non-OPEC supply that acts as counterweight to OPEC’s production curb efforts.
It was U.S. shale oil production—which hit a record-high this year turning the country into the world’s top oil producer—that caused what can only be called a growing apathy among traders. When OPEC is not the single large source of oil for energy-hungry nations, when there is another country pumping more than 11 million bpd with no risk of disruptions, the mood on the market is very different, and we saw this in 2019 more clearly than ever before.
The production outages at Libyan fields moved prices, but only for a few days. Even the biggest production outage in recent history, the drone and missile attacks on Saudi oil infrastructure, could not keep Brent at $70 for more than a few days. Of course, as usual, there was the hypothesizing that it could have spiked to $300 a barrel had the attacks led to an open war in the Middle East, but hypothesizing is part of the oil price game that has little bearing on actual prices. Related: From Boom To Bust: Permian Shale Towns Face Exodus
In further evidence that U.S. oil has become a force to be reckoned with, OPEC’s latest agreement to implement deeper production cuts failed to impress a market that was expecting the deepening and knew that this cannot stop U.S. production from growing. Oil prices habitually rise after an OPEC meeting or an update from inside the cartel—or from a Russian official now that the two have partnered on production—but this year the price rises have been short-lived.
Fundamentals forecasts have not helped. The International Energy Agency said in its latest Oil Market Report that the global oil market will likely be 700,000 bpd in excess of demand in early 2020. That’s despite the efforts of OPEC+ and, yes, thanks to growth in U.S. production. That production, the IEA said, would drive a 2.3-million-bpd growth in non-OPEC supply while growth in the demand for oil will continue to slow. Related: Iraq’s 550,000 Bpd Oil Deal Is In Jeopardy
Yet there is still hope for oil bulls. Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan recently revised their oil price forecasts for 2020 and they revised them upward. Goldman upped its outlook for both Brent and WTI, citing its expectations that OPEC+ will successfully cut more barrels from their daily production, shrinking any oversupply. JP Morgan seems to share the sentiment. It also cited OPEC+’s deeper cuts as reason for its price-forecast revision.
Trusting oil price forecasts from even the most reputable investment bank is something one does at their own risk, but there have been signs that prices could climb higher, even in the new apathetic market environment. Among the signs are the improving relations between the U.S. and China and, most recently, a WSJ report that banks are growing cold towards shale drillers. There is a very good chance that news like this could pull the market out of its apathy.
If shale drillers lose their easy access to cash, the fact could even erase the apathy entirely. For now, however, the overwhelming sentiment on oil markets is indifferent-for-longer.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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RBC warns house price correction could be deepest in decades | CTV News – CTV News Toronto
A housing correction, which has already led to four consecutive months of price declines in the previously overheated Greater Toronto Area market, could end up becoming “one of the deepest of the past half a century,” a new report from RBC warns.
New data released by the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) last week revealed that the average benchmark price for a home in the GTA fell six per cent month-over-month in July to $1,074,754.
Sales were also down a staggering 47 per cent from July, 2021.
In a report published on Aug. 4, RBC Senior Economist Robert Hogue said recent data from real estate boards underlines that higher interest rates are beginning to take a “huge toll” on the market.
Hogue said that with further hikes to come, prices will likely continue to slide in the coming months.
That prediction, it should be noted, goes against a report from Royal LePage last month which painted a rosier forecast for sellers in which values would more or less holding for the rest of the year following some declines in the second quarter.
“Our expectations for further hikes by the Bank of Canada—another 75 basis points to go in the overnight rate by the fall— will keep chilling the market in the months ahead,” Hogue said. “We expect the downturn to intensify and spread further as buyers take a wait-and-see approach while ascertaining the impact of higher lending rates. Canada’s least affordable markets Vancouver and Toronto, and their surrounding regions, are most at risk in light of their excessively stretched affordability and outsized price gains during the pandemic.”
The Bank of Canada has hiked the overnight lending rate by 225 basis points since March and has warned that further hikes will be necessary given that inflation remains at a near 40-year high.
In his report, Hogue pointed out that the housing correction “now runs far and wide across Canada” but he said that it is particularly pronounced in the costlier markets of Toronto and Vancouver.
In fact, Hogue said that housing resale activity in Toronto is at its slowest pace in 13 years, outside of the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The stockpile of available homes is also up 58 per cent from a year ago, he noted.
“With more options to choose from and higher interest rates shrinking their purchasing budgets, buyers are able to extract meaningful price concessions from sellers,” he said, pointing out that the average price of a home in the GTA is down 13 per cent from March. “We expect buyers to remain on the defensive in the months ahead as they deal with rising interest rates and poor affordability.”
While Hogue did say that condos in the City of Toronto are likely to remain “relatively more resilient” he said that prices elsewhere will continue to fall for the time being, especially in the 905 belt “where property values soared during the pandemic.”
The July data from TRREB suggested that the average price of a home in the GTA was still up one per cent from July, 2021.
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Canada Revenue Agency plans email blitz to get Canadians to cash outstanding cheques worth $1.4-billion – The Globe and Mail
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is planning a massive e-mail notification campaign to reach Canadians across the country who have uncashed cheques worth a net $1.4-billion.
The e-mail notifications will target recipients of the Canada child benefit and related provincial and territorial programs, as well as recipients of the GST/HST credits and the Alberta Energy Tax Refund.
The CRA said it plans to send approximately 25,000 e-mails in August, another 25,000 in November and a further 25,000 e-mails by May, 2023.
However, even without receiving an e-mail notification, the agency said a taxpayer can check if they have a cheque by logging into My Account, a secure portal on its website to check if they have an uncashed cheque over a period of six months. It added that representatives can also view uncashed cheques of their clients.
Each year, the CRA said it issues millions of payments to Canadian taxpayers in the form of refund benefits. These payments are issued by either direct deposit or by cheque.
“Over time, payments can remain uncashed for various reasons, such as the taxpayer misplacing the cheque or even a change of address which did not allow for delivery,” the agency said in a statement.
The CRA said since the e-mail notification initiative was first launched in February, 2020, about two million uncashed cheques valued at $802-million were redeemed by May 31, 2022.
The average amount per uncashed cheque is $158 with some of them dating as far back as 1998, the agency said.
As of May, 2022, there were an estimated 8.9 million uncashed cheques with the CRA. In May, 2019, about five million Canadians had an estimated 7.6 million uncashed cheques.
“As government cheques never expire or stale date, the CRA cannot void the original cheque and re-issue a new one unless requested by the taxpayer,” the statement read. “These upcoming e-notifications are to encourage taxpayers to cash any cheques they have in their possession.”
The agency said taxpayers can register for the direct deposit option on its website to receive payments directly into their bank accounts.
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