May 15, 2020

COVID-19 – SOME CONSTRUCTIVE DEVELOPMENTS

  • Alberta entered Stage 1 of the relaunch on May 14, with some exceptions for Calgary and Brooks:

    Conditions for relaunch:

        • Continue physical distancing, enhancing testing, launching contact tracing, use of masks in public, rapid response to outbreaks

    Stage 1 (began May 14):

        • Retail business, hair salons, barber shops, museums, and art galleries can open
        • More scheduled surgeries and dental procedures
        • Daycares and summer camps with limits on occupancy
        • Dine in restaurants, cafes, lounges, and bars at 50% capacity

    Stage 2 (No earlier than June 19th):

        • Personal services like esthetics, body treatments, manicures, pedicures, massage
        • Movie theatres and theatres open with restrictions

    Stage 3 (if cases remain low, date to be determined):

        • Full reopening of all businesses and services with limited restrictions
        • Permitting larger gatherings
  • Health Canada has authorized at least 1,000,000 serological (blood) tests for Covid-19 antibodies over the next 2 years.
  • National Research Council of Canada is working with a Chinese company, CanSino Biologics, to try to develop a potential Covid-19 vaccine. CanSino is already conducting human trials.
  • Canada is fast-tracking work permit applications for foreign essential workers that are already in Canada. The wait time is expected to be reduced to less than 10 days from the current 10 weeks.
  • 2 US studies have revealed that infected people harbor T cells that target Covid-19 and help them recover. Although encouraging, this does not clarify whether they have future immunity.
  • Sanofi’s CEO Paul Hudson suggestion that the US may get the French drug maker’s Covid-19 vaccine first has sparked outrage in France; President Macron plans to meet company officials next week.
  • Preliminary results from a nationwide Spanish antibody study suggest that 5% of the population was affected by coronavirus – about 10x more than the tally of diagnosed cases suggests.
  • With 36 million Americans out of work, US food banks are distributing 112 million meals a week, up 32% Y/Y. The number of people showing up for free food surged 59%, 38% of whom had never used the system before.

ENERGY UPDATE

  • IEA says that oil demand is a little stronger than expected (up 3.2 million b/d to 79.3 million b/d Q2) and production fell 12 million b/d because of the low price.
  • Over 30 tankers filled with oil from Saudi Arabia are set to arrive on the US Gulf and West Coast during May and June bringing more than 50 million barrels of crude oil.
  • 4 tankers carrying a total 2.4 million barrels of American oil have sailed to Ireland to obtain storage.
  • French electricity demand jumped to a 6-week high on May 12th. Power use in Italy and Germany also increased.
  • TransMountain Pipeline is expected to begin construction in BC after spring break-up.
  • US shale drillers are beginning to reopen wells that were shut-in. Drillers have said they need oil in the $30 range to revive idle wells.

TIDBITS

  • National Bank Financial has named Jonathan Durocher as the new President of Wealth Management. Jonathan began his career at National Bank Financial in 2004 and most recently was President, National Bank Investments.
  • Alberta, BC, Quebec and Ontario Universities are preparing for primarily online classes this fall.