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Keystone XL Pipeline Moves Forward; Canadian Wholesale Numbers Disappoint

Published November 21, 2017
  • Oil prices are up slightly ahead of a weekly report from the American Petroleum Institute on US oil stockpiles; the proposed Keystone XL pipeline (an oil route between Alberta oil sands and US refineries) came closer to reality yesterday after regulators in the state of Nebraska approved construction.
  • Nebraska was the only state that had not yet approved the Keystone XL project, as Alberta, Montana and South Dakota were already on board, locally. The Keystone XL Pipeline offers Alberta’s oil producers a significant opportunity to bring its product more quickly to the oil market.
  • Canadian wholesale numbers showed a month-on-month contraction of -1.2% versus expectations of 0.6% growth; declines in personal and household goods, food, beverage and tobacco sectors led the declines for the Canadian economy.
  • Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen officially gave notice of her intent to leave the Fed once Jerome Powell is sworn by US President Donald Trump next year. Yellen noted that she was “gratified” by the US financial system showing greater strength, with a better ability to endure economic hardships. She is scheduled to speak today at 6:00 PM EST at the New York University Stern School of Business.
  • There is a near 100% expectation that Yellen and the Fed will raise interest rates during the December 12-13 FOMC meeting.
  • NAFTA talks continue for the seventh day in Mexico City today. Participants hope for greater momentum as the talks have continued with little announcement of progress. Commentators noted a less negative and confrontational tone by participants as the US government has opted to focus more closely on tax reform during this round of talks.
  • The euro continues to steady this morning after its biggest fall in nearly a month in yesterday’s session; investors are shrugging off most concerns regarding Angela Merkel and German political risk.
  • The Great British Pound is up against the euro this morning due to greater optimism around UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit bill. Speculation suggests that May is set to offer more in concessions to the EU than she had previously committed to.