Aug. 28, 2020

ALBERTA FISCAL UPDATE – AUGUST 2020

  • Budget deficit forecast at $24.7 billion vs $7.3 billion in February.
  • 70% of the deficit is due to a weaker revenue picture, revenue is down 23% vs February.
    • Non-renewable resource revenue fell to $1.2 billion lowest since the 1970’s from expected $5.1 billion; 3% of full year revenue the lowest in 5 decades
    • Many oilsands projects are generating minimum or no positive returns which significantly reduces royalty payments to the Province
    • WTI now forecast at $35.60 USD for this fiscal year vs February $59 USD/bbl
  • Revenues from fuel taxes, tobacco, tourism, gaming are all down.
  • Total federal transfer support will be approximately $10 billion (about 25% of revenue this year).
  • Health and relief/stimulus measures increased spending by 9% or $5.3 billion.
  • Alberta’s total taxpayer-supported debt is almost $100 billion up $25.4 billion Y/Y.
    • 3 debt rating agencies (S&P, Fitch, DBRS) have assigned a negative trend to Alberta
    • 2020/2021 long term gross borrowing requirement is $29.9 billion vs $17.1 billion in February

CANADA

  • Fitch Rating Agency issued a second warning that Canadian federal debt may become more difficult to tackle once the pandemic passes. They lowered the credit rating in June to AA+ from AAA.
  • Canadian banks all experienced a large decline in the balance of loans deferring payments.
    •  For example, National Bank’s deferral balance dropped 40% in Q3.
  • Canadian Chamber of Commerce says 60% of restaurants could close permanently in the next 3 months.
  • Immigration to Alberta fell 65% (8,130) in Q2 vs 2019.
    • Average quarterly immigration was 20,000
  • Alberta has signed a pact looking to build a 1,000 km/h link between Edmonton and Calgary to take riders and cargo between the 2 cities in 30 minutes.
  • Crude-by-rail shipments dropped to an 8-year low in June (42,000 bpd) vs February’s peak 412,000 bpd.
  • Canadian National Railway is spending $1 billion over the next 2 years to acquired 1,500 ‘new generation’ grain hopper cars manufactured in Ontario.

TIDBITS

  • President Trump said during his speech accepting the Republican nomination that the US will produce a vaccine before the end of year or maybe sooner.
    • FDA’s vaccine advisory group is set to meet October 22nd.
  • Federal Reserve said they are OK with inflation running hotter to make up for periods when it runs cooler, effectively using an average inflation rate target of 2%. The goal is that supporting inflation will create jobs.
  • COVID-19 is causing an increase in anxiety and depression, especially among Gen Z (born 1996 – 2015) and Millennials (born 1981-1996).
    • US rate of anxiety tripled in Q2 2020 vs 2019; Britain doubled
  • Amazon bought 1,800 electric vans in Europe, expected to be in service by the end of the year.
    • Also planning to buy 100,000 electric vans for US
  • Westjet says they will remove unmasked passengers from flights and ban them for a year.