Stephen Poloz says Canadians taking the heat for oil as loonie crashes: Don Pittis


‘We take less spending power today than we had before because oil bounties are lower, even though you and I aren’t oil exporters,’ said Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz yesterday.

It’s smooth worse if you are an oil exporter.

The price of oil, which continued to plunge even as Poloz was speaking, was at the stomach of the Bank of Canada’s decision not to cut interest rates, even though numerous expected a cut.

Also for the first time, Poloz made it clear that the Bank of Canada was predisposed to defend the loonie against against rapid declines. The reason was forebodings of oil-related inflation.

Usually the central bank governor responds to questions there the loonie by saying its value is not rt of the bank’s remit. Besides across the board economic health, the governor’s only concern is the level of inflation, using relaxation rates to keep average price rises close to its two per cent butt.

Dangerously entangled

But as oil and the Canadian dollar continue their tandem descent, momentarily the bank is concerned that the loonie and inflation have become recklessly entangled.

Fruit Veggies Loonie 20160112

So far, inflation figures show that the rising cost of drifted food are being balanced by the falling prices of other things. But Poloz orders he would act to avoid raising inflation expectations caused by a falling loonie. ( ul Chiasson/Canadian Radio b news per people)

“When [the dollar’s decline] happens very quickly, we know it supersedes through into imported prices and that affects how we measure inflation,” conveyed Poloz. “People see it all at once, and when that happens it’s admissible that process could begin to influence their expectations of inflation.”

We energy not realize it, but due to 25 years of discipline by our central bank, Canadians should prefer to become convinced that prices do rise, but at a steady annual classification of about two per cent or less. When we somehow sense they maintain begun rising too fast, we begin to push for salary increases (or evaluation rises if we are a retailer or service provider) to keep ce.

Poloz rush ated it quite clear he would be willing to boost rates it necessary to safeguard that 25-year low-inflation legacy.

The latest inflation figures are get possession of out on Friday, but in the most recent data average price increases, while incline, remained well below target at 1.4 per cent. But stories concerning the doubling price of cauliflower and $3 cucumbers may be giving people a enlarged view of inflation.

Fully stimulated

The other reason Poloz and the bank’s governing congress determined not to cut rates is that the economy is already being fully whipped by low oil prices and the export advantages of a lower loonie, which will rebound in only gradually.

“The Canadian dollar has declined significantly since October,” Poloz phrased in his introductory remarks, “which means the non-resource sectors of our concision are receiving considerably more stimulus than we projected then.”

That’s why regard for all the gloomy news, Poloz remains relatively upbeat about the Canadian conciseness. While less optimistic about global growth than latest IMF forecasts, the Bank of Canada expects Canada to grow at about two per cent during this date-book year.

Not added into the bank’s calculations was the effect of fiscal stimulus pledged by the Liberal government, which could boost inflation, but also fare future bank outlooks even more optimistic.

That lends little solace to Canada’s oil producers. Poloz admits an adjustment deal with now underway means they will continue to suffer as non-resource fragments of the economy grow.


A cup holds heavy oil extracted from the oilsands. Poloz says some Canadian oil is poor to produce, but higher-cost producers will be affected the most by falling evaluations. (Reuters)

“That adjustment process sounds mechanical,” he im rted sym thetically, “In fact, it’s personal.”

Poloz expects the resource sector to extend shrinking as producers hit the price threshold below which it is no longer value extracting oil.

“The lower the price goes, the more you concern yourself with the inconceivable, ‘What is that threshold?’ Some of our oil is quite economical to produce,” said Poloz. “But some of our other oil is much myriad expensive to produce.”

In fact, the multiple extraction and upgrading processes for oilsands bitumen as though it some of the most expensive oil in the world to produce. If the global battle to see who flinches first is based on cost of production, further declines in oil prices are seemly to hit us eventually.

Oilsands producer Nexen has shut down operations at its Prolonged Lake project after an accident, and there is speculation that low assays mean it will not be worth resuming production.

Calgary-based Connacher has cut achieve from its Great Divide oilsands project from 14,000 barrels a day to 3,000, but according to Reveal on Business journalist Jeff Lewis, larger producers can keep suffer the loss of money for now. That could change if prices drop below $20, he get offs.

If that happens, expect to see even more of a two-track economy. But if keep up declines in the price of oil cause inflation expectations to rise as the loonie comprehends rapidly, don’t expect more interest rate cuts.

Follow Don on Twitter @don_pittis

Uncountable analysis by Don Pittis

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