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by Stockwatch Business Reporter
West Texas Intermediate crude for May delivery added 48 cents to $24.49 on the New York Merc, as the U.S. State Department publicly urged Saudi Arabia to "rise to the occasion" and end its price war with Russia in order to calm global markets, while Brent for May added 24 cents to $27.39 (all figures in this para U.S.). Western Canadian Select traded at a discount of $15.65 to WTI, down from a discount of $15.00. Natural gas for April added one cent to $1.66. The TSX energy index added 3.88 points to close at 52.25.
The federal government announced today its emergency response benefit for workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, promising them $2,000 a month for the next four months to help them with rent and groceries. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said this benefit will be just one part of the government's overall economic response plan to support workers and stabilize the economy. The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) used its Twitter page to spread awareness of the government's stimulus efforts, noting that a total of $82-billion is now earmarked to help Canadians weather the pandemic ($27-billion in direct aid and $55-billion in deferred tax payments). Yet CAPP added that there are still "hundreds laid off, thousands of jobs delayed" in the oil sands. The federal government is reportedly working on a multibillion-dollar aid package for the energy sector -- possibly involving funds to clean up inactive wells, thereby putting workers back in the field while simultaneously reducing corporate abandonment liabilities -- but details could still be at least a week away.
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