Optimism among oil traders is rising despite mixed signals from the world’s top oil consumers, largely thanks to signs that pressure is easing between Washington and Beijing and the latter’s record-breaking oil imports.
Brent crude and West Texas Intermediate have both been on a more or less steady rise for about four weeks now. During that period, OPEC+ agreed to deepen its production cuts by half a million bpd, China continued importing crude at record-breaking rates, and U.S. industrial production rebounded in November.
While not everyone was convinced that the deeper cuts will make much of a difference if not everyone in OPEC and outside it complies with their new quotas, the fact of the announcement of additional cuts must have made the right impression. That’s despite a warning from the International Energy Agency that next year the global oil market could swing into oversupply.
Meanwhile, China reported yet another record-breaking month of oil imports: the average daily for November was 11.18 million bpd, which, according to Bloomberg, was unprecedented. This was largely thanks to the ramp-up of two new refineries with a combined capacity of almost 900,000 bpd, but also because of signs of thawing between the U.S. and China.
The two have been cautiously getting closer to a preliminary deal despite setbacks. The latest from President Trump on the topic was that the parties are almost done with the so-called “phase-one” deal, and all that remains is for it to be translated. Related: Texas Driller Goes All-In On This New Oil Frontier
“I said make sure you have the right translators because you can lose a lot with bad translation. So we’re working on getting that done,” Trump said, as quoted by CNN.
While translators are working on the document, the U.S. administration is focusing on the economy. As Reuters’ John Kemp pointed out in his latest column on prices, this year the Fed cut interest rates by as much as 75 basis points to sustain growth and spur it on. The latest data in jobs and industrial production is encouraging for oil demand.
Payrolls in November shot up by 266,000, beating analyst expectations of 187,000 new additions, and industrial activity inched up by 1.1 percent last month after a fall of 0.7 percent in October. However, it bears noting here that the expectation-beating November figure was the result mainly of a pick-up in the carmaking industry after the six-week strike of UAW workers for GM.
Industrial activity data from China added to the optimism about the immediate future of oil demand. Like the U.S. November figures, those for China exceeded expectations. The combined positive effect of U.S. and China data offset bad economic news from India, where industrial activity shrunk by 3.8 percent in November. Eurozone industrial activity also fell, but that region is not among the top oil consumers, and economic updates are not high on the watch-out-for agenda of oil traders. Related: The 5 Biggest Threats To Oil & Gas In 2020
In further good news for oil bulls, as Reuters’ Kemp noted in his column, the governments of China and India have set up economic stimulus packages, whose effect on oil demand will be certainly positive. Even the German government is considering economic stimulus after a contraction earlier this year.
No wonder, then, that hedge fund managers are increasing their bullish bets on oil—to almost 320 million barrels since mid-October, according to Kemp—and that investment banks are raising their price forecasts.
Goldman Sachs said last week it now expected Brent crude to average $63 per barrel in 2020, with West Texas Intermediate seen at $58.50 per barrel. The so-called long-term anchor price for Brent was set at $55 per barrel, with WTI pegged at $50 per barrel.
Then yesterday JP Morgan followed suit, raising its Brent crude forecast to $64.50 a barrel, up from $59 per barrel, and its WTI forecast to $60 per barrel. The bank even expects the oil market to swing into a deficit of some 200,000 bpd.
The thing to bear in mind, however, is that this optimism is fragile. Any piece of bad news regarding oil consumption in any of the top consumers and importers will pressure prices. So would any bad news about supply, as the latest API weekly inventory report proved yet again yesterday.
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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