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Energy Summary for March 18, 2020

2020-03-18 19:20 ET - Market Summary

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by Stockwatch Business Reporter

West Texas Intermediate crude for April delivery lost $6.58 to $20.37 on the New York Merc, breaking beneath its 2016 nadir ($26.05) to hit its lowest ebb in over 20 years, while Brent for May lost $3.85 to $24.88 (all figures in this para U.S.). Here in Canada, the price of a barrel of oil sands crude reached all-new lows as Western Canadian Select traded at a discount of $14.50 to WTI, down from a discount of $14.15. (Put another way, a barrel of oil sands crude is now worth about as much as a typical fast-food combo meal.) Natural gas for April lost 13 cents to $1.60. The TSX energy index lost 5.98 points to close at 41.95.

The pain in Alberta's energy sector from the Saudi-Russian oil price war and the coronavirus pandemic has all of Canada on the "brink of recession," according to a new forecast from the Conference Board of Canada. The board released its spring outlook yesterday, predicting that Canada's economy will contract in the second quarter and possibly the third. Two consecutive quarters of contraction would be a recession. Some of Canada's largest banks (RBC and CIBC) have already said this is exactly what will happen this year. While the Conference Board of Canada stopped short of that prediction, its overall outlook was grim, particularly for Alberta. The board sees no chance of an economic turnaround in Alberta in 2020 and does not expect a provincial rebound until perhaps the fourth quarter of 2021.

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