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by Stockwatch Business Reporter
West Texas Intermediate crude for April delivery edged up 23 cents to $31.73 on the New York Merc, while Brent for May added 63 cents to $33.85, with both benchmarks capping off their worst week since the 2008 financial crisis (all figures in this para U.S.). Western Canadian Select traded at a discount of $14.25 to WTI, down from a discount of $13.42. Natural gas for April added three cents to $1.87. The TSX energy index added 6.18 points to close at 64.51.
Buckling under the pressure of low oil prices and the COVID-19 outbreak, Canada's economy will enter a recession later this year, according to the big banks. Both RBC and CIBC are forecasting that the economy will suffer two consecutive contractions -- the definition of a recession -- in the second and third quarters of this year. Whether it can bounce back in the fourth quarter is anyone's guess. "Key to the near-term outlook and the pace of recovery will be the policy response by governments," said RBC. CIBC added that consumers "won't really be out shopping again, and business confidence won't roar back, until we have the virus under control, a better treatment or a vaccine." Oil prices will also play a role in the pace and scale of economic recovery. So far, the oil price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia is showing no signs of letting up, with Saudi Arabia currently flooding the market with oil at prices as low as $25 (U.S.) a barrel.
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