Canada Reveals Finance Package to Contend with Low Oil Prices

Canada’s government is trying to minimize the economic and political fallout from depressed western Canadian crude oil prices, and its latest bid is a financial package for the country’s struggling energy sector, the Wall Street Journal reported. A package of financing and incentives totaling 1.6 billion Canadian dollars ($1.20 billion) emerges at a time of deep discontent in western Canada, from political leaders and residents, over the federal government’s failure to get new pipeline infrastructure built. The lack of pipeline capacity to carry landlocked crude from the province of Alberta to refineries and new markets means the price for Canadian oil has traded at historical discounts versus global benchmarks. Trepidation is building about the Canadian economy: The Bank of Canada and private-sector economists have moved to downgrade forecasts because of the hit on national income from lower energy prices and lackluster household spending. The pace at which Canadians are taking out loans is now at its lowest level since 1990, Bank of Canada data indicate. Read more. (Subscription required.)