Toronto stock market down along with lower oil prices

Posted Dec 14, 2018 by Karen Graham
Stock futures pointed to a lower opening for Canada’s main stock index on Thursday, as oil prices fell after China reported slower economic growth, pointing to lower fuel demand in the world’s biggest oil importer.
File photo: People walk by a sign displaying TSX information in Toronto
File photo: People walk by a sign displaying TSX information in Toronto
Mark Blinch / Reuters
The S&P Toronto Stock Exchange composite was down 66.85 points at 14,683.50 this morning in early trading, while in New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 307.61 points at 24,289.77. The S&P 500 index was down 24.95 points at 2,625.59, and the Nasdaq composite was down 58.31 points at 7,012.02, according to Reuters.
This time, analysts are blaming reports of China's slowing economic growth - specifically, lower fuel demand in the world's biggest fuel importer. Of course, this all falls back on the trade war between China and the U.S. However, it was announced on CNN about an hour ago that China will be dropping a number of tariffs imposed on U.S. vehicles and some auto parts beginning January 1, 2019. So even this could change the outlook of crude oil prices.
Putting a ceiling on Western Canadian crude
CBC Canada is reporting that an expert group of analysts say it is unlikely any dramatic improvement in western Canadian oil prices will be seen anytime soon since Alberta put through cuts in production nearly two weeks ago.
The differential between Western Canadian Select bitumen-blend heavy oil and New York-traded West Texas Intermediate oil prices has widened by as much as $52 US a barrel in October to about $25.50 US on December 3, the day Premier Rachel Notley made the announcement on curtailing production.
"I expect there's going to be a lot of variance in the short-term over the next couple of months where the price bumps around trying to seek what its natural level should be," said Kent Fellows, research associate in energy and environmental policy at the University of Calgary's School of Public Policy, after a panel discussion on the topic in downtown Calgary.
Even this issue is questionable, with many believing it is all due to the federal government's Bill C-69 to revamp the National Energy Board - with claims it will make it impossible to build new pipelines. Gordon Tulk argued that Alberta has surrendered to pipeline opponents by reducing production and will be forced to extend cuts beyond the program's end date.
"We are surrendering to the federal government and the powers that are pushing the federal government politically," he said later, adding the curtailments amount to the province "kneecapping" its own industry. "We've now put a ceiling on our production," he said.
Of Course, everyone is still betting on the opening of Enbridge's Line 3 project that is expected to start up in 2019. even though the two other pipelines, the Trans Mountain expansion, and the Keystone XL project, are both in limbo after being stalled by court decisions in Canada and the U.S.