You can now add coronavirus to the list
February 20, 2020
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Protesters, Bills C-48 and C-69, the carbon tax… you can now add coronavirus to the list of things the energy sector has to contend with.
The spreading coronavirus outbreak will hit the Canadian economy, in particular the tourism sector, supply chains and the struggling oil industry, Finance Minister Bill Morneau said.
Morneau told a business audience in Calgary that prices for crude – one of Canada’s major exports – had dipped by 15 per cent on lower demand since the outbreak started in China. Calgary, the energy capital of Canada, has been hard hit by low prices and limited pipeline capacity.
According to Reuters, total cases in the capital of the coronavirus – known as COVID-19 – were at 396 with four deaths, out of an official mainland toll of 75,400 cases and 2,236 deaths.. The virus has spread to at least 27 countries and territories, including Canada.
“Certainly we are paying very close attention in Ottawa… we know the impact is real and it’s going to be felt across the country, but perhaps even more so here in the oil and gas sector,” Morneau said in comments that were webcast.
He also cited impacts on tourism and the supply chains of any business that was integrated with Chinese producers or consumers. Airlines have sharply cut back flights to and from China.
The Canadian economy remained strong, Morneau said, citing significant job growth since 2015 and low debt levels.
Last week the Bank of Canada said the outbreak could hurt the domestic economy by disrupting supply chains and depressing oil prices.
The impact on the global economy could be significant, Morneau said, adding that the outbreak would be a central topic at a meeting of finance ministers and central bankers from the Group of 20 leading and emerging economies in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.