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by Stockwatch Business Reporter
West Texas Intermediate crude for May delivery lost 24 cents to $19.87 on the New York Merc, its first time closing below $20 in about 20 years, while Brent for June lost $1.91 to $27.69 (all figures in this para U.S.). Western Canadian Select traded at a discount of $17.00 to WTI, unchanged. Natural gas for May lost five cents to $1.60. The TSX energy index lost 3.43 points to close at 60.76.
Three weeks have passed since Finance Minister Bill Morneau said a relief package for the energy sector could be announced in "hours, potentially days." Patience is wearing thin. Especially in the last week, the grumbling has become increasingly pointed, with comments such as "It's taken too long" (Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage), "It's embarrassing" (chief investment officer Greg Taylor of Purpose Investments) and "What's the holdup?" (Senator Doug Black from Alberta). Now Canada's largest business association is wading in as well. "The Canadian Chamber of Commerce urges the federal government to launch the long-promised support package for Canada's oil and gas sector," said president and chief executive officer Perrin Beatty in a public statement this morning. He called on Ottawa to "lighten the dark days ahead by sending a clear signal that Canadian oil and gas will play a vital role in our economic future."
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