Futures rise on higher oil prices, trade fears limit gains

Sept 17 (Reuters) - Stock futures for Canada’s main index rose on Monday as energy shares gained on the back of rising oil prices, but the rise was capped by lingering U.S.-China trade war fears.

Oil rose as investors focused on the impact of U.S. sanctions on Iran despite assurances by Washington that Saudi Arabia, Russia and the United States could together raise output fast enough to offset falling supplies.

Brent crude oil was up 50 cents a barrel at $78.59 by 1055 GMT. U.S. light crude was up 50 cents at $69.49.

China will not be content to only play defence in an escalating trade war with the United States, a widely read Chinese tabloid warned, as U.S. President Donald Trump was expected to announce new tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods as early as Monday.

Data on foreign investment in Canadian securities and Canadian investment in foreign securities are due at 08:30 a.m. ET

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX closed 0.07 percent higher, at 16,013.49 on Friday.

Dow Jones Industrial Average e-mini futures were down 0.07 percent at 7:15 a.m. ET, while S&P 500 e-mini futures were down 0.11 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures were down 0.16 percent.


Canadian miner RNC Minerals recovered a 43-kg specimen stone containing an estimated 1,100 ounces of gold and a second 7-kg specimen containing 190 ounces from Beta Hunt Mine in Australia.

USD Partners LP has begun expansion work at one of Canada’s largest crude by rail loading terminals, which will boost capacity at the facility by 50 percent and be completed by year end, the head of the company’s Canada unit told Reuters.


Nighthawk Gold Corp: Canaccord Genuity raises rating to speculative buy from hold; raises price target to C$0.60 from C$0.55

Alaris Royalty Corp: CIBC raises price target to C$19 from C$18


Gold futures: $1201; fell 0.01 percent

US crude: $69.53; rose 0.78 percent

Brent crude: $78.72; rose 0.81 percent

LME 3-month copper: $5885.5; fell 1.46 percent

Reporting By Sourav Bose in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur



Canadian dollar steadies ahead of trade news as investors bet on volatility

TORONTO (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar was little changed against its U.S. counterpart on Monday as investors sat tight ahead of potential news on trade after buying option structures in recent days that could profit from increased volatility in the currency.

U.S. President Donald Trump said he would announce his latest plan on China tariffs after the markets close, with expectations he would level them on about $200 billion of Chinese imports.

Canada runs a current account deficit, so its economy could be hurt if the global flow of trade or capital slows.

The country has its own trade feud with the United States and is also in talks to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement.

“There are quite a few names that are sitting on long butterfly positions, so they’ll make money if it (the Canadian dollar) moves up or down,” said Simon Côté, managing director, risk management solutions, National Bank Financial. “We just need a decent move either way before they take profit or restructure what they have.”

At 3:27 p.m. (1927 GMT), the Canadian dollar CAD=D4 was trading nearly unchanged at 1.3029 to the greenback, or 76.75 U.S. cents. The currency, which rose nearly 1 percent last week, traded in a range of 1.3002 to 1.3048.

The price of oil, one of Canada’s major exports, dipped as the market weighed deepening trade tension that is expected to dent global crude demand and potential supply tightening due to Iran sanctions. U.S. crude oil futures CLc1 settled 0.1 percent lower at $69.91 a barrel.

The U.S. dollar .DXY retreated as sterling and the euro were boosted by optimism that Britain would reach a deal with the European Union on the terms of its departure from the bloc.

Foreign investors bought a net C$12.65 billion in Canadian securities following a revised C$10.30 billion total purchase in June, while Canadian investment in foreign securities also climbed, data from Statistics Canada showed.

In separate data, resales of Canadian homes rose 0.9 percent in August from July, notching the fourth straight monthly rise but remaining below the highs seen in recent years, the Canadian Real Estate Association said.

Canadian government bond prices edged higher across the yield curve, with the 10-year CA10YT=RR rising 3 Canadian cents to yield 2.342 percent. Still, the 10-year yield held near its highest level in nearly six weeks.

Canada’s inflation report for August and July retail sales data are due on Friday.

Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Paul Simao and Alistair Bell


USD Partners moving ahead with Canada crude by rail expansion

(Reuters) - USD Partners LP has begun expansion work at one of Canada’s largest crude by rail loading terminals, which will boost capacity at the facility by 50 percent and be completed by year end, the head of the company’s Canada unit told Reuters.

The expansion at Hardisty, Alberta, will increase loading capacity to three 120-car unit trains per day, or roughly 225,000 barrels, to meet strong demand from both producers and refinery customers amid pipeline bottlenecks, said Jim Albertson, senior vice president, Canadian Business Unit, for parent USD Group.

The group operates a network of oil and fuel loading, unloading and storage terminals across North America.

“We have started the process of expanding the (Hardisty) terminal by the equivalent of one train a day. That is planned to be, by the year end, in commission,” he said in an interview on Friday, declining to say how much the expansion would cost.

The terminal currently has loading capacity for two 120-car unit trains per day.

The expansion comes at time when new pipeline projects are facing long delays and the discount on Canadian oil has widened to its biggest spread in nearly five years.

Canada’s crude by rail exports hit a record of nearly 205,000 barrels per day (bpd) in June as rising oil production in Western Canada has outstripped pipeline capacity. Exports are expected to top 300,000 bpd by year-end and continue rising in 2019 as producers and railways sign transport deals.

Houston-based USD’s plan will add a second set of loading arms and a new inside loop, allowing trains to be loaded from both sides of the existing rack at once, Albertson said.

Loading terminals are needed to get the oil onto the trains.

USD Partners said last month that it was “evaluating a potential expansion” at Hardisty, a major Canadian oil hub northeast of Calgary, due to strong customer demand, but it has not previously confirmed the project was moving ahead.

Albertson said that partner Gibson Energy Inc will be ready to flow higher volumes of oil to the facility by year-end and that railway operator Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd is also on board, though the shift to three trains per day will not be immediate.

“The ramp-up will be very gradual in the first quarter (of 2019), which will allow us to make sure that everything is seamless on the loading and outbound operations,” said Albertson.

A spokesman for Gibson declined to comment on the project status but said the company would be ready to supply increased volumes of crude as soon as needed.

A spokesman for CP said the railway is committed to ensuring that any new volume tendered for shipment on the railway, whether oil or other commodities, are supported through close alignment with its operations and network capacity.

Reuters reported this month that major oil producer Cenovus Energy Inc had signed a deal with Canadian National Railway Co to move more crude by rail.

USD canceled a previous planned expansion at Hardisty in 2016, which would have doubled capacity to four unit trains per day. That expansion would have required major new infrastructure and a federal environmental review.

($1 = 1.3034 Canadian dollars)


Reporting by Julie Gordon in Vancouver; editing by Jonathan Oatis


Duncan Comments on Crescent Point Announcement

Crescent Point Energy announced Wednesday they would be reducing their workforce by 17 percent and making other changes as part of their new strategic plan.

Weyburn-Big Muddy MLA and Environment Minister Dustin Duncan said his thoughts are with the families affected by the layoffs, during an interview with Discover Weyburn News. Although he is not aware of anyone in the southeast directly affected by the layoffs at this time, he said he believes... READ MORE

TSX futures lower as oil slips; NAFTA talks in focus

Sept 5 (Reuters) - Futures pointed to a lower opening for Canada’s main stock index on Wednesday as oil prices fell after a tropical storm hitting the U.S. Gulf coast weakened, and ahead of a fresh round of North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations.

Canada heads into talks in Washington to renew NAFTA determined not to back down on key issues despite threats from U.S. President Donald Trump to retaliate against the Canadian economy unless Ottawa gives ground quickly.

The reduced impact of Storm Gordon, which deviated away from oil-producing areas, helped offset support from forecasts of lower U.S. inventories and sanctions against Iran.

September futures on the S&P/TSX index were down 0.25 percent at 7:05 a.m. ET.

The Bank of Canada announces its interest rate decision at 10:00 am ET, while trade balance numbers are due at 08:30 a.m. ET.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX fell 101.58 points, or 0.62 percent, to 16,161.30 on Tuesday.

Dow Jones Industrial Average e-mini futures were down 0.3 percent at 7:10 a.m. ET, while S&P 500 e-mini futures were down 0.21 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures were down 0.25 percent.


Canada’s auto sales fell for the sixth straight month in August, as rising interest rates put a damper on demand for new cars.

Crescent Point Energy Corp named Craig Bryksa its new chief executive officer and said it would immediately reduce 17 percent of its workforce as the Canadian energy producer looks to turn around its business.

China’s Zijin Mining Group Co will buy Canadian gold and copper miner Nevsun Resources Ltd for about C$1.86 billion the companies said on Wednesday, after Nevsun rejected multiple bids from rival Lundin Mining Corp.


CRH Medical Corp : RBC raises target price to C$5.5 from C$5


Gold futures: $1,194.8; rose 0.07 pct GOL/

US crude: $68.99; down 1.26 pct O/R

Brent crude: $77.40; down 0.99 percent O/R


0830 International trade for July: Expected -$50.3 bln; Prior -$46.3 bln

0830 Goods trade balance (R) for July: Prior -72.20 bln

0945 ISM-New York Index for Aug: Prior 797.5

0945 ISM New York Business Conditions for Aug: Prior 75.0

(Reporting by Debanjan Bose in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)


Suncor holding off on crude expansion amid Canadian pipeline confusion

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - Suncor Energy Inc (SU.TO), one of Canada’s biggest oil producers, will not sanction further expansions of crude production until it becomes clearer when new pipelines will be ready, Chief Executive Steve Williams said on Wednesday.

A court overturned last week the Canadian government’s approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. That decision added to “troubling” pipeline delays, Williams said at a Barclay’s investor conference in New York.

“There is clearly a question of confidence in Canada,” Williams said.

“You will not see us approve those projects until we have more clarity on pipelines,” he said. “I would want to see actual, physical progress on the ground before I would commit.”

Canadian heavy oil production in Western Canada is expanding but construction of new pipelines has not kept pace, stranding supplies in the landlocked province and deepening a price discount to North American futures.

Oil producers have eagerly awaited the expansion of Trans Mountain, owned by the Canadian government, which would move Alberta crude to a British Columbia port. TransCanada Corp’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline may be delayed by a U.S. State Department environmental review, while Enbridge Inc’s (ENB.TO) Line 3 replacement has cleared key regulatory hurdles.

Suncor has sufficient committed pipeline space for its production, including Fort Hills, Williams said, and its own refineries shield it from exposure to the price discount on Canadian heavy oil.

Reporting by Rod Nickel; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Paul Simao


Trans Mountain pipeline ruling strikes 'devastating' blow to Canada's global reputation, energy sector warns

'This makes world investors continue to look at Canada as a place that can’t get its act together'

CAPP president Tim McMillan says the Federal Court of Appeal ruling that nullifies Ottawa's approvals for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project is very frustrating. (CBC)

A Federal Appeal Court ruling that halts construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is a serious blow to the energy industry that will further deter international investment in Canada, business leaders warn.

On Thursday, the Federal Court of Appeal quashed the approval of the contentious, $7.4-billion project that would nearly triple the flow of oil from Alberta's oilsands to the West Coast. The court ruled that Canada's efforts to meaningfully consult with Indigenous people, as required by law, fell short.

It also ruled that the National Energy Board regulator wrongly narrowed its review of the project not to include tanker traffic related to the project. 

The decision means the NEB will now have to redo its review of the pipeline. The federal government could appeal the decision to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Industry reaction was swift.

"The Explorers and Producers Association of Canada (EPAC) expresses its deep dismay at this devastating decision that further damages what's left of Canada's reputation as a country that can actually develop major projects in the resource sector," the association said in a statement.

The association said Canada's approval process for major resource projects is "close to collapse under the weight of too many conflicting interests."

"It's hard to conceive of a project that could have had more layers of review, consultation and approvals at the NEB and the federal cabinet," EPAC said.

"To have a court panel review all that work and conclude years later that it wasn't enough will give any project proponent a reason to doubt the wisdom of investing in Canada."

Canadian Chamber of Commerce president Perrin Beatty said the ruling "sends a profoundly negative message to investors both here at home and around the world about Canada's regulatory system and our ability to get things done even after the federal government has declared them to be in the national interest."

The president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) agreed that the court ruling would add to Canada's growing reputation as a country where it's hard to do business.

Steel pipe to be used in the oil pipeline construction of Kinder Morgan Canada's Trans Mountain Expansion project sit on rail cars at a stockpile site in Kamloops, B.C. (Dennis Owen/Reuters)

"I think the global view of Canada today is very negative," said Tim McMillan.  

"An outcome of this court case like this makes world investors continue to look at Canada as a place that can't get its act together."

McMillan said Canada's lack of energy exporting infrastructure already costs the national economy about $15 billion per year and that the latest hurdle for the Trans Mountain expansion will make matters worse.

The Trans Mountain pipeline would allow Canada to diversify oil markets and vastly increase exports to Asia, where it could command a higher price. Canada has the world's third largest oil reserves, but 99 percent of its exports now go to refiners in the U.S., where limits on pipeline and refinery capacity mean Canadian oil sells at a discount. 

Analysts have said China is eager to get access to Canada's oil, but largely gave up hope that a pipeline to the Pacific Coast would be built. 

"It means we continue to miss out on the jobs, the opportunity to be global supplier," McMillan said.

"And those global markets are China, India, places that Canada could be the supplier of choice. But we continue to not get the infrastructure in the ground that allows us to do that."

Company 'committed' to building project

Shortly after the Appeal Court's ruling came on Thursday, Kinder Morgan Canada shareholders at a special meeting in Calgary voted overwhelmingly to approve the sale of the pipeline and expansion project to the Canadian government for $4.5 billion.

Kinder Morgan Canada president Ian Anderson said the company will work with Ottawa in determining what their next steps should be.

"We remain committed to building this project in consideration of communities and the environment, with meaningful consultation with Indigenous Peoples and for the benefit of Canadians," he said.

"Trans Mountain is currently taking measures to suspend construction-related activities on the project in a safe and orderly manner. The court decision was not a condition of the transaction between KML and the federal government."

Finance Minister Bill Morneau said the federal government is carefully reviewing the decision but is determined to proceed with the project, that he said, is in the best national interest and "critically important" for the economy.

'Optics are horrible'

David Baskin, president of Baskin Wealth Management in Toronto, said he was shocked the federal government didn't make its purchase of the project conditional.

"I can't possibly know what was in the mind of the federal government … maybe they could have put their purchase as being conditional on the position of the Court of Appeal, that might have been sensible," said Baskin. "The optics are horrible."

Baskin said he believes the federal government could use the country's principle of parliamentary supremacy — which means legislation enacted by parliament could supercede an order of the courts — to push the pipeline through, but whether they will or not is another story.

"Whether the Trudeau government would have the strength of its conviction to bring that legislation before parliament is the most interesting question," he said.  

Canadian stocks were dragged lower on Thursday as energy investors reacted to the ruling.

"I think there are going to be significant consequences for investors …and ultimately I think we will all suffer," said Joseph Doucet, dean of the business faculty at the University of Alberta.

Doucet said he wouldn't hazard a guess at what the likelihood of the pipeline being constructed is, but said the delay will certainly be costly and create significant uncertainty.

Baskin said he feels the ruling is a "bad decision" in terms of its impact to the economy as a whole, but there's one industry that's likely pleased: rail.

"The only thing that this does if it's not overturned is it means a lot more oil is going to go by rail than by pipeline. It's not like they're going to shut down the oilsands because of this decision," he said.

"If one were truly concerned about the long-term possible threats to the environment, shipping a lot more oil by rail doesn't really help."

Unresolved issues

The ruling highlights that the notion of what constitutes adequate consultation of Indigenous communities has been evolving in the courts, said Richard Masson, an executive fellow of the University of Calgary's School of Public Policy and former CEO of the Alberta Petroleum Marketing Commission.

"So it's not a big surprise, because that has been one of the issues that's tripped up projects along the way over the past number of years," he said.

He, too, said the ruling will contribute to a growing sense among world investors that Canada's rules are too inconsistent and unclear to be navigated.

"And so that's going to be very negative for investment for our country, which means fewer jobs and less economic development," he said.

Masson said Canada has a long way to go to resolve outstanding legal issues around Indigenous land rights.

"That sets up a confrontational environment that these companies have to try to navigate as they work to develop these projects," he said.

"So, fundamentally as a country, we need to do a much better job about resolving these issues so everybody is pulling in the same direction as we develop our resources."


U.S. judge orders review of TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline route

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A federal judge in Montana has ordered the U.S. State Department to do a full environmental review of a revised route for the Keystone XL oil pipeline, possibly delaying its construction and dealing another setback to TransCanada Corp (TRP.TO).

For more than a decade, environmentalists, tribal groups, and ranchers have fought the $8-billion, 1,180-mile (1,900-km) pipeline that will carry heavy crude to Steele City, Nebraska, from Canada’s oilsands in Alberta.

U.S. District Court Judge Brian Morris ruled late on Wednesday for the Indigenous Environmental Network and other plaintiffs, ordering the review of a revised pipeline route through Nebraska to supplement one the State Department did on the original path in 2014.

The State Department was obligated to “analyze new information relevant to the environmental impacts of its decision” to issue a permit for the pipeline last year, Morris said in his ruling.

Supporting the project are Canadian oil producers, who face price discounts over transport bottlenecks, and U.S. refineries and pipeline builders.

TransCanada is reviewing the decision, company spokesman Matthew John said. It hopes to start preliminary work in Montana in the coming months and to begin construction in the second quarter of 2019.

The company said this month it expects to make a final investment decision late this year or in early 2019.

The ruling is negative for TransCanada, since it adds uncertainty to timing, said RBC analyst Robert Kwan, and it was important that the pipeline be constructed during the current U.S. presidential cycle.

President Donald Trump is keen to see the building of the pipeline, which was axed by former President Barack Obama in 2015 on environmental concerns relating to emissions that cause climate change.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment. The State Department is reviewing the court’s order, a spokesman said.

The ruling was “a rejection of the Trump administration’s attempt to ... force Keystone XL on the American people,” said Jackie Prange, a lawyer for the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group.

Trump pushed to approve the pipeline soon after he took office, and a State Department official signed a so-called presidential permit in 2017 allowing it to move forward.

However, Morris declined the plaintiff’s request to void that permit, which was based on the 2014 review.

Last year, Nebraska regulators approved an alternative route for the pipeline, which will cost TransCanada millions of dollars more than the original path.

In a draft environmental assessment last month, the State Department said Keystone XL would not harm water supplies or wildlife. That review is less wide-ranging than the full environmental impact statement Morris ordered.

Reporting by Timothy Gardner; additional reporting by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, Manitoba; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Paul Simao


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