Aug. 31, 2018

NAFTA

  • Canada-US NAFTA negotiations have broken off without agreement, talks will resume Wednesday, September 5th.
  • Example of pricing differences for items that fall under the Canadian supply management umbrella compared to US prices. Prices are as of this week’s flyers for Superstore in Edmonton and Fred Meyer in Boise, Idaho. Prices are in CAD (adjusted USD by 1.32).
    • 4L 2% milk is $1.12/liter in Edmonton vs $0.62/liter in Boise.
    • Dozen eggs is $3.54 in Edmonton vs $2.09 in Boise.
    • Whole chicken $7.26/kg in Edmonton vs $4.60 in Boise.
  • Former Mexican President Vincente Fox says cannabis should be added to the NAFTA just like any other form of produce.

Alberta Q1 Economy Update

  • Deficit $7.8 billion forecast for fiscal 2018 / 2019; $1 billion lower due to higher oil prices and a lower Canadian dollar.
  • Oil revenues up $908 million and $200 million in unallocated disaster assistance.
  • Expenses up $146 million to $56.3 billion.
  • Carbon levy 2017-18 $1.046 billion; 2018-19 estimated $1.356 billion.
  • Total capital plan spending unchanged at $6.5 billion vs $9 billion Y/Y.

Canada

  • Q2 2018, Canada’s GDP expanded at an annualized pace of 2.9% vs 2.8% expected by BoC. Nominal GDP 5.1% annualized.
  • Average weekly earnings for Alberta employees $1,145 in June, no change M/M. Adjusted seasonally and includes overtime pay.
    • Alberta wages are only 0.7% higher Y/Y.
    • Alberta jobs net loss in June is around 4,000.

Energy

  • Alberta will pull out of the federal climate change plan until the construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion resumes, and will not increase provincial carbon tax from $30/ton.
  • The state of New Jersey will raise its per-gallon gasoline and diesel tax by 20% starting October 1st to offset the $2 billion/year the state needs for transportation projects.
  • California lawmakers approved a measure mandating that all electricity must come from wind, solar and other clean-energy sources by 2045. The state currently gets about 44% of its power from renewables and hydropower.

US Persons (FATCA – Foreign Tax Compliance Act, Source: Dawn Hawley, CFP NBF)

  • FATCA is a US federal law requiring all non-US financial institutions to identify US persons.
  • More than 110 countries and 300,000 non-US financial institutions have agreed to report to the IRS in accordance with FATCA.
  • US persons are required to self-report their non-US financial assets annually to the Internal Revenue (IRS).
  • US passports are tied to their holder’s US Social Security Number (SSN).
  • July 2018 the IRS turned over 350,000 names to Border Security so they can identify US persons and enforce their compliance.