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Sunday, August 5, 2018

Canada trade surplus with U.S. rises; dips with the world

   Canada column for Sunday, Aug. 5/18

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Canada’s merchandise trade surplus with the United States rose in June to $4.1 billion with a record amount of goods shipped south.
   The U.S., which is Canada’s largest trading partner, received $37.1 billion in exports, an increase of 2.5 percent that was largely in cars and light trucks.
   At the same time, Canada’s imports from the U.S. rose 0.3 percent to $32.9 billion.
   Statistics Canada said the country’s merchandise trade deficit with the world dipped to $626 million, the smallest in 17 months.
   This improvement, up 4.1 percent in exports, to a record $50.7 billion was mainly because of higher exports of energy products and aircraft.
   Energy exports mostly in oil climbed 7.1 percent to $9.9 billion, the highest since October 2014.
   Overall, Canada’s imports were down 0.2 percent to $51.3 billion while transportation equipment and parts exports were 18.9 percent higher at a record $2.5 billion largely for business jets.


   The Canadian government is considering further changes to the carbon pricing system for heavy emitters.
   The action is over concerns of the impact on industries and competitiveness fears due to U.S. tax cuts, tariffs and environmental policy roll backs.
   Steps include helping some businesses avoid losing an edge due to the controversial carbon price plan.
   Another issue for Environment Canada is how to deal with new Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s Conservative government scrapping the carbon tax.
   He said the program was too costly for families and does nothing to help the environment.
  As a result, Ford said the government would cut gasoline prices by 10 cents a liter (38 cents a U.S. gallon).


   News in brief:
   - It has cost the Canadian government $270 million in the past 18 months to handle would-be immigrants who have entered Canada illegally. The Immigration and Refugee Board has processed 30,000 people during that time and expects the number to grow by another 20,000 next year. Provincial and city governments have requested more financial assistance from the federal government to deal with the influx.
   - Molson Coors Canada will enter a joint venture to develop non-alcoholic cannabis-infused products when the narcotic is legalized on Oct. 17. Drinks developed by the joint venture with Hydropothecary Corporation could include beer. The company is “excited” by the potential to offer Canadian consumers “new experiences,” said Molson Coors Canada head Frederic Landtmeters. There are no plans to sell beverages to U.S. states that have legalized marijuana.


   Facts and figures:
   Canada’s dollar is higher at 77.07 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar returns $1.297 in Canadian funds (plus bank exchange fees).
   The Bank of Canada’s key interest rate is steady at 1.5 percent while the prime-lending rate is 3.7 percent.
   Stock markets are mixed, with the Toronto exchange index up at 16,425 points while the TSX Venture index is lower at 701 points.
   The average price for gas in Canada is slightly lower at $1.324 a liter or $5.03 (Canadian) for a U.S. gallon.
   Lotto 6/49: (Aug. 1) 13, 19, 22, 29, 36 and 42; bonus 35. (July 28) 5, 11, 17, 20, 28 and 45; bonus 7. Lotto Max: (July 27) 8, 11, 14, 17, 26, 30 and 36; bonus 48.


   Regional briefs:
   - Ontario’s new Conservative government will cancel the basic income pilot project that paid 4,000 low-income people in Hamilton, Brantford, Thunder Bay and Lindsay in place of welfare. Single participants received up to $16,989 a year while couples got up to $24,027.  In its place, the government will make major reforms to overhaul a “disjointed patchwork system,” said Social Services Minister Lisa MacLeod.
   - The hot real estate market in Metro Vancouver has chilled as sales slumped to their lowest level in 18 years while prices remain steady. The Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board said 2,070 properties were sold last month, a 30-percent drop. The average price for all residential properties was about $1.1 million, similar to Toronto.


Jim Fox can be reached at canadareport@hotmail.com

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