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CBC News: Cross-border shopping trips plummet, along with dollar

[EXCERPT]  Ken Peacock from the Business Council of B.C. says in 2012 cross-border shopping meant a loss of more than $1 billion to the province.

"I have heard anecdotes about Bellis Fair and other retailers down there being concerned and lamenting the drop in the currency."
    
"Winners will be some of the B.C. retailers in the Lower Mainland and those along the border."

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Vancouver Sun: Lower oil prices, dollar to fuel growth in BC, report says

British Columbia is poised to be a top economic performer in Canada, with lower oil prices working to the province's advantage, according to a report by the Business Council of B.C. Real GDP growth is expected to rise from 2.3 per cent in 2014 to 2.6 per cent in 2015 and 3.1 per cent in 2016. Unemployment is expected to drop from 6.1 per cent in 2014 to six per cent.

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CKNW: Plummeting oil prices bring increased fallout

As the Petroleum Services Association of Canada downgrades its drilling forecast for the year by almost 25%, and some oil companies begin to reduce their workforce, the BC Business Council projects more fall out from plummeting oil prices.

Chief economist Ken Peacock says up to 35,000 British Columbians work in Alberta.

He thinks Premier Christy Clark’s plan to advertise in Fort McMurray for workers to come home could be a success.

“British Columbia can attract some workers back for large projects, potentially LNG projects, bee it Site C or other major investments here in British Columbia, that would be a benefit.”

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Journal of Commerce: VIDEO - Economist Jock Finlayson at the January ACEC BC Economic Forecase

Economist and Business Council of British Columbia executive vice president Jock Finlayson was the speaker at the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies (B.C.) January Economic Forecast session held in downtown Vancouver.
 

Finlayson explained how the current decline in oil prices may actually be beneficial to British Columbia's economy, since the province produces very little oil. He also cautioned that if oil prices continue to decline or plateau, ambitious liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects would likely fall by the wayside.

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Vancouver Sun: BC income growth worst in Canada: analysis

[EXCERPT] But Jock Finlayson said the StatsCan data dug up by the Broadbent Institute offers an important new perspective, particularly since it provides regional comparisons and looks at median — the midway point of all incomes — rather than average employment incomes, which are skewed upwards due to a small number of high earners.

“I think it is newsworthy,” said Finlayson, executive vice-president and chief policy officer at the Business Council of B.C.

Finlayson also said the release is timely because policy analysts have struggled to get a handle on incomes due to the government’s controversial switch from the mandatory long-form census to the voluntary National Household Survey in 2011.

The income figures produced by StatsCan exclude earnings from pensions, investments and government social programs.

Finlayson cited several reasons to explain why B.C. and Ontario were weak performers over the six years:

  • Neither are major oil producers and therefore missed out on the oil-related boom.
  • Both lost many jobs in key sectors, B.C. in forestry and Ontario in manufacturing.
  • Both provinces take more immigrants than other provinces, and immigrants — particularly those who arrive during a recession — tend to make less money.

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Journal of Commerce: US recovery to boost BC and Canada

British Columbia's economy is going to grow, but slowly and cautiously.

That was the message from Jock Finlayson, chief policy officer at the Business Council of British Columbia.

He presented the council's economic forecast for 2015 and 2016 to the Associated Consulting Engineers of B.C. (ACEC-BC) last week.

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Vancouver Sun Editorial: Slumping oil prices mostly good news for BC

[EXCERPT] Overall, B.C. is poised to be a net beneficiary of declining crude prices. As Business Council of B.C. chief economist Ken Peacock noted last week: “This is a positive macro economic benefit that will help lift B.C.’s. economy in 2015.”

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Business in Vancouver: Bank of Canada responds to plunge in oil prices by cutting overnight rate

[EXCERPT] Business Council of BC economist Jock Finlayson said while this move is not positive for Canada as a whole, there is a “slight net positive” for British Columbia.

“That will be good news for a lot of people in B.C. because of the high levels of household debt and the large mortgages that people carry on their balance sheets – unless you are a saver,” Finlayson said.

“If you are living off your savings, it’s a different picture.”

He cautions that even though this is good news for the province, he was quick to point out that the rate cut was based on bad news. 
 

“The decision has been taken because the global economic outlook has softened and the Canadian economic outlook has deteriorated, so one has to be careful using the term ‘good news,’” he said. “Having said that, the impact of the decision itself, in isolation, will be slightly positive from a B.C. macroeconomic point of view.

“But it’s not transformational. It’s a small measure.”

Overall, Finlayson said he isn’t surprised by the Bank of Canada’s move, given the global economic situation, but he acknowledged that the announcement took the markets by surprise.

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Business in Vancouver: How low can oil go and who gets hurt?

[EXCERPT] "The whole thing about this is, ‘How low for how long?’” said Ken Peacock, chief economist and vice-president of the Business Council of British Columbia.

“It’s generally good for B.C., but there is this new little wrinkle in the B.C. context, and that’s if it results in [LNG] projects being delayed or maybe even not going ahead.

“If oil prices hit $50, and then turn around and start to climb and this is a short-term thing, that’s a very, very different world than if oil prices stay low for two years.”

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Business in Vancouver: Falling oil prices could put $1.5 billion in BC pockets

[EXCERPT] "For B.C., it’s a net positive,” said Ken Peacock, chief economist for the Business Council of British Columbia. “When gas prices drop like they have, it’s a direct savings for families and households, and that gives them more money to spend, and that boosts the economy.”

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Vancouver Sun, Pete McMartin: Lessons for BC from Alberta

[EXCERPT] “If LNG comes to fruition in a significant way,” wrote B.C. Business Council executive director Jock Finlayson in an email to me, “let’s not repeat Alberta’s mistake by ‘spending/consuming’ virtually all of the economic rents associated with producing LNG. A substantial portion of such rents should be saved and invested for future generations.”
....

“It is tempting at times,” wrote Finlayson, “to envy a jurisdiction like Alberta that is endowed with vast resource wealth, the exploitation of which has made them the richest province in the country. But because Alberta’s economic success is so inextricably tied to a single economic sector, it is in some respects in a very fragile and vulnerable position. The multi-decade oil and gas boom, interrupted at times by periods of falling prices, has made Alberta wealthy, but a case can be made that it also gave birth to a somewhat distorted economy in which labour costs, other business costs, and even public sector costs have been driven up across the board by high levels of activity and outsized paycheques in the energy patch.”

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CBC Television: Ken Peacock on oil prices

BCBC Chief Economist Ken Peacock discusses declining oil prices with Andrew Chang on the CBC Vancouver evening newscast.

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Times Colonist: Collapsing oil prices hit BC residents working in Alberta

[EXCERPT] B.C. Business Council chief economist Ken Peacock said the slowdown in Alberta from collapsing oil prices does have negative implications for other provinces.

But Peacock noted that not all of the British Columbians commuting to Alberta for work will be laid off or have their hours cut, so it is only a portion of the 1 to 1.5 per cent of the B.C. labour force that would be affected.

“But if people who are making good incomes who are commuting to Alberta get laid off, it will impact their households,” said Peacock.

He noted there are B.C. companies that do business in Alberta that will also be affected by the slumping oil-based economy.

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Vancouver Sun: Falling diesel prices won't affect bottom line for trucking companies

[EXCERPT] Business Council of B.C. executive vice-president Jock Finlayson said falling fuel prices may give trucking companies a short-term increase in profit margins, but doubts those higher profits will last.

“Truckers will obviously be happy to see lower diesel prices because they are a huge part of their overall cost structure,” he said. “But if these low prices are sustained over time, you will see downward pressure on (freight rates) because it’s a highly competitive industry. None of this happens instantly, and it could take months to play out.”

Finlayson said consumers will be the ultimate beneficiaries of falling petroleum product prices.

“If the price of food fell by 30 or 40 per cent, the primary beneficiaries wouldn’t be any of the suppliers or the intermediaries in the food value chain,” he said. “It would be the consumers of food products, and that’s what I see happening (in the trucking industry).”

Finlayson said no one could have predicted six months ago that global oil prices would plunge by 50 per cent, and he doubts that current low prices will last long-term, unless the global economy goes into a tailspin.

“But I think it’s true that the outlook for oil prices over the next couple of years is dramatically lower than people thought six months ago,” he said.

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Vancouver Sun: Collapsing oil prices hit BC residents working in Alberta

[EXCERPT] B.C. Business Council chief economist Ken Peacock said the slowdown in Alberta from collapsing oil prices does have negative implications for other provinces.

But Peacock noted that not all of the British Columbians commuting to Alberta for work will be laid off or have their hours cut, so it is only a portion of the 1 to 1.5 per cent of the B.C. labour force that would be affected.

“But if people who are making good incomes who are commuting to Alberta get laid off, it will impact their households,” said Peacock.

He noted there are B.C. companies that do business in Alberta that will also be affected by the slumping oil-based economy.

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Vancouver Sun: Economic Uncertainty clouds Premier's Natural Resource Forum

The provincial government’s 12th annual Premier’s Natural Resources Forum will convene next week in Prince George with a cloud shading some of the sunny optimism that has shone on British Columbia’s resource industries in recent years.

“The big story is the overall global setting and global backdrop, and for commodities, that’s relatively weak,” said Ken Peacock, vice-president and chief economist for the Business Council of B.C.

Peacock added that it is not all gloom though.

While slower growth in Asia has curbed prices for commodities such as steelmaking coal and copper — dulling the prospects for B.C. mining — forestry is experiencing more of a rebound due to recovery of the American economy.

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Vancouver Sun, Editorial: B.C. poised for strong economic growth in 2015

[EXCERPT] To some extent, B.C. and Ontario will be doing well by default, the result of the declining fortunes of the oil-producing provinces, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador.

But 2.6- or 2.7-per-cent growth for B.C. — projected respectively the Business Council of B.C. and the Conference Board of Canada — is nothing to complain about, and better than the 2.3-per-cent GDP growth of 2014.

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Globe & Mail, Gary Mason: Impact of plunging crude prices varies across the Western provinces

[EXCERPT]   "Among other things, plummeting global prices [for oil] will deliver a blow to Canada's terms of trade, which translates into slower growth in nominal incomes and GDP," says leading economist Jock Finlayson, chief policy officer with the Business Council of B.C.

"It is also pushing down the exchange value of the Canadian dollar, which means a dollar of Canadian income buys less in global markets – that is, we have become poorer in a global sense. Because the oil, gas and pipeline sector has, in recent years, accounted for one-third or more of non-residential business investment, the fall in oil prices also has negative implications for the level of business capital spending in Canada, which will further dampen economic growth."

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iPolitics: The Drilldown: KXL showdown in D.C. leaves Prentice undeterred

[EXCERPT] A recent report by the B.C. Business Council is putting a damper on the size of megaproject investments like those in the LNG industry, notes the Vancouver Sun‘s Vaughn Palmer.

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Vancouver Sun, Vaughn Palmer: B.C.’s ‘whopping’ capital project list is a bit of a whopper

Inventory of projects inflated by LNG and others that likely won’t proceed, business council warns

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