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Archive for the ‘CANADA’ Category

AIR CANADA CUTS 375 JOBS

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 25, 2009

Sunday January 25, 2009

Associated Press

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE STAR’ (Malaysia)

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE STAR’ (Malaysia)

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Posted in AIR TRANSPORT INDUSTRY, CANADA, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, RECESSION, RESTRUCTURING OF PRIVATE COMPANIES, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE WORK MARKET, TOURISM INDUSTRIES, UNEMPLOYMENT | Leave a Comment »

CANADA’S NUCLEAR-INDUSTRY SEES DEALS WORTH BILLIONS WITH INDIA

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 24, 2009

24 Jan 2009, 1330 hrs IST

IANS

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE ECONOMIC TIMES’ (India)

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE ECONOMIC TIMES’ (India)

Posted in CANADA, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENERGY, ENERGY INDUSTRIES, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRIES, INDIA, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, NUCLEAR ENERGY, RECESSION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | 1 Comment »

HOME DEPOT PAYS $11.5M TO KILL QUEEN WEST STORE (Canada)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 23, 2009

January 22, 2009, 7:43 PM

by Rob Roberts

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE NATIONAL POST’ (Canada)

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE NATIONAL POST’ (Canada)

Posted in CANADA, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, INTERNATIONAL, RECESSION, RESTRUCTURING OF PRIVATE COMPANIES, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »

TORY STRATEGY IGNORES THE REAL $64B QUESTION – THE DEFICIT QUESTION HAS A $64-BILLION ANSWER

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 23, 2009

January 22, 2009, 8:13

by Don Martin

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE NATIONAL POST’ (Canada)

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE NATIONAL POST’ (Canada)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEMS, CANADA, CENTRAL BANKS, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »

SECURITIES WATCHDOG PURSUES RECORD FINE FOR RIM EXECS – REGULATOR SEEKS UP TO $100-MILLION IN STOCK OPTION CONTROVERSY (Canada)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 22, 2009

January 22, 2009 at 2:00 AM EST

by Jacquie Mcnish, Janet Mcfarland and Paul Waldie

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE GLOBE&MAIL’ (Canada)

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE GLOBE&MAIL’ (Canada)

Posted in CANADA, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRIES, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, RESTRUCTURING OF PRIVATE COMPANIES, STOCK MARKETS, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »

CANADA, INDIA PLAN TRADE AGREEMENT

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 22, 2009

January 20, 2009 at 7:22 AM EST

by Rajesh Kumar Singh and Rajkumar Ray – Reuters

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE GLOBE&MAIL’ (Canada)

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE GLOBE&MAIL’ (Canada)

Posted in CANADA, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FOREIGN POLICIES, INDIA, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, RECESSION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »

INVEST C$400,000 FOR 5 YEARS & BE A PERMANENT CANADIAN RESIDENT

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 22, 2009

21 Jan 2009, 2103 hrs IST

by Ishani Duttagupta – ET Bureau

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE ECONOMIC TIMES’ (India)

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE ECONOMIC TIMES’ (India)

Posted in CANADA, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, PUBLIC SECTOR AND STATE OWNED ENTERPRISES, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, RESTRUCTURING OF THE PUBLIC SECTOR, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »

ALBERTA ORDERS OIL SANDS FIRMS TO CUT WATER USE (Canada)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 21, 2009

January 20, 2009 at 6:21 PM EST

The Canadian Press

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE GLOBE AND MAIL’ (Canada)

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE GLOBE AND MAIL’ (Canada)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEMS, CANADA, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENERGY INDUSTRIES, ENVIRONMENT, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, GLOBAL WARMING, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INTERNATIONAL, NATURAL GAS, PETROL, POLLUTION, RECESSION, REFINERIES - PETROL/BIOFUELS, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, RESTRUCTURING OF PRIVATE COMPANIES, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, WATER | Leave a Comment »

GLOBAL MALAISE UNNERVES CANADA’S BANKS

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 21, 2009

January 20, 2009 at 8:15 PM EST

by Tara Perkins

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE GLOBE AND MAIL’ (Canada)

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE GLOBE AND MAIL’ (Canada)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEMS, CANADA, CENTRAL BANKS, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, MACROECONOMY, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, RESTRUCTURING OF PRIVATE COMPANIES, RESTRUCTURING OF THE PUBLIC SECTOR, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »

SUNCOR REPORTS 2008 EARNINGS OF $2.1 BILLION, SLASHES 2009 SPENDING (Canada)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 20, 2009

1/20/2009 2:40:00 AM

Canadian Press

PUBLISHED BY ‘STOCKHOUSE’

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘STOCKHOUSE’

Posted in CANADA, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENERGY INDUSTRIES, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, PETROL, RECESSION, REFINERIES - PETROL/BIOFUELS, STOCK MARKETS, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »

PENSIONS HIT BY NORTEL COLLAPSE (UK)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 18, 2009

January 18, 2009

by Ben Marlow and Iain Dey

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE TIMES’ (UK)

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE TIMES’ (UK)

Posted in CANADA, COMMODITIES MARKET, COMMUNICATION INDUSTRIES, DIGITAL INDUSTRIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ELECTRIC / ELECTRONIC INDUSTRIES, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRIES, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, PENSION FUNDS, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, RESTRUCTURING OF PRIVATE COMPANIES, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE WORK MARKET, UNITED KINGDOM | Leave a Comment »

ONTARIO ECONOMY BARELY KEEPING HEAD ABOVE WATER IN Q3, BUT RECESSION LOOMS (Canada)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 12, 2009

1/9/2009 9:47:00 PM

Canadian Press

PUBLISHED BY ‘STOCKHOUSE’

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘STOCKHOUSE’

Posted in CANADA, COMMERCE, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, RECESSION, STOCK MARKETS, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »

FORD TEAMS UP WITH MAGNA TO DEVELOP BATTERY-POWERED ELECTRIC CAR – AIMS TO SELL THEM BY 2011 (USA/Canada)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 11, 2009

Sunday, January 11, 2009

by Nicolas Van Praet – Financial Post

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE FINANCIAL POST’ (Canada)

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE FINANCIAL POST’ (Canada)

Posted in AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY, BANKING SYSTEM - USA, BANKING SYSTEMS, BANKRUPTCIES - USA, CANADA, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, ENVIRONMENT, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRIES, GLOBAL WARMING, HOUSING CRISIS - USA, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES - USA, INTERNATIONAL, POLLUTION, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, RESTRUCTURING OF PRIVATE COMPANIES, STOCK MARKETS, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009 | Leave a Comment »

TFSAs — MORE THAN SAVINGS ACCOUNTS – ACCOUNTS SHOULD BE USED AS INVESTMENT TOOLS (Canada)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 11, 2009

Friday, January 09, 2009

by Jonathan Chevreau – Financial Post

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE FINANCIAL POST’ (Canada)

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE FINANCIAL POST’ (Canada)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEMS, CANADA, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »

GLOBE AND MAIL LIKELY TO LAY OFF UNSPECIFIED NUMBER OF STAFF (Canada)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 11, 2009

Friday, January 09, 2009

byGrant Surridge – Financial Post

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE FINANCIAL POST’ (Canada)

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE FINANCIAL POST’ (Canada)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEMS, CANADA, COMMUNICATION INDUSTRIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRIES, FOREIGN WORK FORCE - LEGAL, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, NATIONAL WORK FORCES, RECESSION, RESTRUCTURING OF PRIVATE COMPANIES, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE MEDIA (US AND FOREIGN), THE WORK MARKET, THE WORKERS, THE WORKING ENVIRONMENT, UNEMPLOYMENT | Leave a Comment »

CANADA FIGHTS FOR SHARE OF CHINESE LUMBER DEMAND – RETURNING TO CHINA’S BUILDING ROOTS

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 11, 2009

Thursday, January 08, 2009

by Nathan VanderKlippe – Financial Post

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE FINANCIAL POST’ (Canada)

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE FINANCIAL POST’ (Canada)

Posted in CANADA, CHINA, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRIES, FOREIGN POLICIES, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, TIMBER | Leave a Comment »

TECK COMINCO CUTS 1,400 JOBS, 13 PER CENT OF WORKFORCE, TO DEAL WITH FALLING PRICES

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 9, 2009

1/8/2009 10:33:00

The Canadian Press

PUBLISHED BY ‘STOCKHOUSE’ (canada)

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘STOCKHOUSE’ (canada)

Posted in CANADA, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FOOD INDUSTRIES, FOREIGN WORK FORCE - LEGAL, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, METALS, METALS INDUSTRY, MINING INDUSTRIES, NATIONAL WORK FORCES, RECESSION, RESTRUCTURING OF PRIVATE COMPANIES, STOCK MARKETS, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE WORK MARKET, THE WORKERS, UNEMPLOYMENT | Leave a Comment »

‘IT IS BUSINESS AS USUAL’ FOR CANADIAN LENDING, BANK CEOS ASSERT

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 9, 2009

1/8/2009 9:37:00 AM

The Canadian Press

PUBLISHED BY ‘STOCKHOUSE’ (canada)

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘STOCKHOUSE’ (canada)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEMS, CANADA, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, RESTRUCTURING OF PRIVATE COMPANIES, STATE TARIFFS, STOCK MARKETS, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE WORK MARKET | Leave a Comment »

THE COSTLY COMPROMISES OF OIL FROM SAND

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 8, 2009

January 6, 2009

by Ian Austen

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE NEW YORK TIMES’ (USA)

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE NEW YORK TIMES’ (USA)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEM - USA, BANKRUPTCIES - USA, CANADA, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, ENERGY, ENERGY INDUSTRIES, ENVIRONMENT, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FOREIGN POLICIES, FOREIGN POLICIES - USA, GLOBAL WARMING, HOUSING CRISIS - USA, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES, INDUSTRIES - USA, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, PETROL, POLLUTION, RECESSION, REFINERIES - PETROL/BIOFUELS, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, USA | Leave a Comment »

MINING FIRM TO SECURE CANADA-COMPLIANT RESERVE ESTIMATE FOR LEYTE, KALINGA PROJECTS (Philippines)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 3, 2009

Saturday, January 3, 2009

by Nick Zieminski – Editing by Gunna Dickson – Reuters

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE MANILA BULLETIN’ (Philippines)

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE MANILA BULLETIN’ (Philippines)

Posted in CANADA, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, METALS, METALS INDUSTRY, MINING INDUSTRIES, PHILIPPINES, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, STOCK MARKETS, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »

ICICI BANK POSTS 50% GROWTH IN CANADA

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 2, 2009

1 Jan 2009, 1103 hrs IST

IANS

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE ECONOMIC TIMES’ (India)

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE ECONOMIC TIMES’ (India)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEMS, CANADA, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRIES, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, RECESSION, STOCK MARKETS, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »

WISDOM SERIES – KEEP IT SIMPLE, DON’T BE GREEDY: CLAUDE LAMOUREUX (Head of Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 2, 2009

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

by Barbara Shecter – Financial Post

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE FINANCIAL POST’ (Canada)

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE FINANCIAL POST’ (Canada)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEMS, CANADA, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRIES, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE WORK MARKET, THE WORKERS | Leave a Comment »

TSX LOSES 35% IN DISMAL YEAR FOR EQUITIES (Canada)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 2, 2009

December 31, 2008

by Jonathan Ratner – The Ottawa Citizen

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE OTTAWA CITIZEN’ (Canada)

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE OTTAWA CITIZEN’ (Canada)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEMS, CANADA, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRIES, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, RECESSION, STOCK MARKETS, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »

ANIMAL TRAPPERS CAN’T HIDE FROM GLOBAL DOWNTURN – AUCTIONEERS PREDICT AWFUL MARKET FOR PELTS AS LUXURY CLOTHING LANGUISHES AT RETAILERS

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 2, 2009

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

by Lee Greenberg – The Ottawa Citizen

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE OTTAWA CITIZEN’ (Canada)

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE OTTAWA CITIZEN’ (Canada)

Posted in CANADA, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENVIRONMENT, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, GARMENT INDUSTRIES, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, RECESSION, STOCK MARKETS, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | 1 Comment »

BEYOND BLEAK HOUSE (Canada)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 30, 2008

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

National Post

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE NATIONAL POST’ (Canada)

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE NATIONAL POST’ (Canada)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEM - USA, BANKRUPTCIES - USA, CANADA, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, COMMUNICATION INDUSTRIES, DIGITAL INDUSTRIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, ELECTRIC / ELECTRONIC INDUSTRIES, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES, INDUSTRIES - USA, INTERNATIONAL, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, USA | Leave a Comment »

U.S. REGULATORS APPROVE CN’S DEAL TO BUY EJ&E (Canada)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 25, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Reuters

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE FINANCIAL POST’ (Canada)

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE FINANCIAL POST’ (Canada)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEMS, CANADA, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FOREIGN POLICIES - USA, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, RAILWAY TRANSPORT, RECESSION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, TRANSPORT INDUSTRIES, USA | Leave a Comment »

CANADA SLIPPING INTO RECESSION, STATS SHOW

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 25, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Canwest News Service

PUBLISHED BY ‘CANADA.COM’

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘CANADA.COM’

Posted in CANADA, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, INTERNATIONAL, RECESSION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE WORK MARKET | Leave a Comment »

CANADA UNVEILS $25BN STIMULUS PLAN

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 20, 2008

Vol. XXXI – NO. 275 – Saturday 20th DECEMBER 2008

by OGJ Editors

PUBLISHED BY ‘GULF DAILY NEWS’ (BAHRAIN)

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘GULF DAILY NEWS’ (BAHRAIN)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEMS, CANADA, CENTRAL BANKS, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, INTERNATIONAL, RECESSION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »

GROUPS URGE BPA BAN IN ALL FOOD PACKAGING (Canada)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 17, 2008

December 16, 2008 at 3:49 AM EST

by Marti Mittelstaedt – Globe and Mail

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE GLOBE & MAIL’ (Canada)

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE GLOBE & MAIL’ (Canada)

Posted in CANADA, COMMERCE, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENVIRONMENT, FEMINISM AND WOMEN'S RIGHTS, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FOOD INDUSTRIES, FOOD PRODUCTION (human), HEALTH SAFETY, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY | Leave a Comment »

DOLLAR LOWER, GOLD FALLS IN EUROPEAN AFTERNOON TRADING

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 16, 2008

December 15, 2008 – 11:10 AM

Associated Press

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE STAR TRIBUNE’ (USA)

LONDON – The U.S. dollar was lower against other major currencies in European trading Monday afternoon. Gold fell.

The euro traded at $1.3650, up from $1.3371 late Friday in New York.

Other dollar rates:

_ 90.67 Japanese yen, down from 91.12

_ 1.1599 Swiss francs, down from 1.1767

_ 1.2341 Canadian dollars, down from 1.2432

The British pound was quoted at $1.5303, up from $1.4969.

Gold traded in London at $826.00 per troy ounce, down from $826.50 late Friday.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE STAR TRIBUNE’ (USA)

Posted in CANADA, DOLLAR (USA), ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, EURO, EUROPE, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, GOLD, INTERNATIONAL, POUND (Britain), RECESSION, SWITZERLAND, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, UNITED KINGDOM, USA | Leave a Comment »

GM CUTTING NEARLY ONE-THIRD OF PRODUCTION

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 16, 2008

Monday, December 15, 2008 – 10:20 AM EST

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE DAYTON BUSINESS JOURNAL’ (USA)

General Motors Corp. today announced it will cut North American production volume by about 250,000 units, or 30 percent, during the first quarter of 2009.

The cuts will affect 14 U.S. plants, including the Bowling Green, Ky. plant, which makes the Chevrolet Corvette and Cadillac XLR. It also will affect three Canadian plants and three plants in Mexico.

General Motors (NYSE: GM) attributed the cuts to “the ongoing and severe drop in industry sales.”

GM’s November sales were down 36 percent from a year ago. Sales for the first 11 months were down 41 percent versus the same period in 2007, the company said in a news release.

“The speed and severity of the U.S. auto market’s decline has been unprecedented in recent weeks as consumers reel from the collapse of the financial markets and the resulting lack of credit for vehicle financing,” the company said in the release.

GM will close its truck and SUV assembly plant in Moraine later this month and also employs about 100 at a parts and service center in West Chester.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE DAYTON BUSINESS JOURNAL’ (USA)

Posted in AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY, BANKING SYSTEM - USA, CANADA, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, DEPRESSION, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES - USA, INTERNATIONAL, METALS, NATIONAL WORK FORCES, RECESSION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, THE WORK MARKET, THE WORKERS, USA | Leave a Comment »

INDONESIA’S PERTAMINA EYES VERENEX LIBYA OIL FIND

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 13, 2008

11/12/2008 15:33:00

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE TRIPOLI POST’ (Lybia)

Indonesia’s state oil firm, Pertamina, would like to participate in the Libyan oil area of Canadian energy company Verenex , a senior company executive said on Monday.

Pertamina has said it wants to expand its upstream activities and to participate in several potential oil and gas projects both at home and abroad to boost its reserves.

“We are interested in buying a stake in Verenex area 47 in Libya. We plan to see the data of the area,” Karen Agustiawan, Pertamina’s upstream director, told Reuters by telephone.

Verenex and partner PT Medco Energi Internasional have a 13.7 percent interest in a production sharing agreement with Libya’s National Oil Corporation, which holds the remaining share.

In October, Verenex made a new oil discovery in Libya in wildcat exploration well C1-47/02a, 180 km southwest of the capital Tripoli, NOC said in a statement on its website.

The flow was through a choke size of 32/64ths of an inch, with oil flowing at 1,739 barrels per day from a depth of 8,312 feet.

Pertamina already has two areas in Libya, 17 and 123 in Sirte, which are still at the exploration stage.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE TRIPOLI POST’ (Lybia)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEMS, CANADA, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENERGY, ENERGY INDUSTRIES, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FOREIGN POLICIES, INDONESIA, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, LYBIA, PETROL, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »

GLOBAL FORECAST BECOMES BLEAKER AS CANADA ENTERS RECESSION

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 12, 2008

Thursday, December 11, 2008

AFP

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE MANILA TIMES’ (Philippines)

WASHINGTON, D.C.: The World Bank offered a grim 2009 outlook Tuesday of just 0.9 percent growth for the global economy, while a recession was declared in Canada and a rescue for US automakers hung in the balance.

In its “Global Economic Prospects” report, the World Bank sharply cut its growth forecast and predicted world trade volume would fall 2.1 percent as a worldwide credit crisis hits rich and poor nations alike.

Developing countries’ economies would likely expand at a reduced annual pace of 4.5 percent while wealthier, developed economies are expected to contract 0.1 percent, the multilateral development lender said.

“The global economy is at a crossroads, transitioning from a sustained period of very strong developing country-led growth to one of substantial uncertainty as a financial crisis rooted in high-income countries has shaken financial markets worldwide,” said World Bank chief economist Justin Lin.

In Canada, the central bank lowered its key interest rate Tuesday by 0.75 point to 1.50 percent and said the Canadian economy had slid into a recession amid the global financial crisis.

“The outlook for the world economy has deteriorated significantly and the global recession will be broader and deeper than previously anticipated,” the bank said in a statement.

In Washington, the White House demanded that Detroit automakers prove their “long-term viability” in return for a $15-billion rescue bailout but said a deal with Congress was in sight.

President George W. Bush’s administration is making “good progress” in its talks with congressional leaders over legislation to shore up General Motors, Ford and Chrysler, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino told reporters.

“We are still working through a number of issues, some of them just small and technical, and other ones a little bit more meaty in scope, but, all in all, making sure we’re headed in the right direction,” she said.

In Geneva, the International Air Transport Association forecast that airlines would likely lose $2.5 billion (1.9 billion euros) in 2009 due to the economic crisis.

“The outlook is bleak,” said Giovanni Bisignani, the association’s director general and chief executive.

“We face the worst revenue environment in 50 years.”

In Britain meanwhile, data showed manufacturing output sank 1.4 percent in October from September, the eighth monthly drop in a row, and was down 4.9 percent on a 12-month basis, the Office for National Statistics said.

The monthly fall was the largest decline since March 2005 and marks the country’s longest consecutive contraction in manufacturing output since 1980.

In Japan, Sony said it would cut investment in its electronics business by 30 percent, cut 10 percent of its manufacturing sites and exit unprofitable businesses to cope with the downturn.

The announcement came just hours after Tokyo said the Japanese economy shrank 0.5 percent in the third quarter—1.8 percent on an annualized basis—even worse than initially estimated.

“The data suggests that the economy is contracting faster than previously thought, and the depth of the recession will be more severe,” said Glenn Maguire, chief Asia economist at Societe Generale in Hong Kong.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE MANILA TIMES’ (Philippines)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEMS, CANADA, CENTRAL BANKS, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, HOUSING CRISIS - USA, INTERNATIONAL, JAPAN, NATIONAL WORK FORCES, RECESSION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, THE WORK MARKET, THE WORKERS, USA, WORLD BANK | Leave a Comment »

BRAZIL GOV’T IN TALKS ON SUBSALT OIL INVESTMENTS

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 11, 2008

Monday, December 08, 2008

by Jeff Fick – Dow Jones Newswires

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE RIGZONE’

RIO DE JANEIRO – Brazil’s government is in talks with a variety of potential investors – besides China – to finance investments in the Mines and Energy Minister Edison Lobaocountry’s promising subsalt oil deposits, the country’s mines and energy minister said Monday.

Mines and Energy Minister Edison Lobao told the local Estado news agency that “it’s not only China. There are a range of opportunities that Petrobras has.”

Lobao confirmed press reports Monday that the Chinese government had offered Brazilian state-run energy giant Petroleo Brasileiro $10 billion to fund subsalt oil development – and that was just to start.

According to Lobao, other possible funding could come from the United Arab Emirates, Japanese groups and Canadian banks. In addition, financing could be arranged with oil-exploration equipment suppliers that have their own sources of financing, Lobao said.

“Petrobras is a solid company. It has a prestigious history abroad. There is no safer investment than in Petrobras,” Lobao said.

“Petrobras will not have any problems. The financing sources will be generous, whether they are domestic or foreign,” the minister added.

The Brazilian government would also consider using its $200 billion in foreign reserves to help finance Petrobras’ investments, Lobao BRAZIL'S SUBSALT BASINSsaid.

“It’s a possibility. It’s a decision that will be made by the government. If Petrobras one day needs it, we could help with these reserves. They’re just sitting there,” Lobao said.

Such financing could help Petrobras overcome a tight credit market and falling international oil prices, which experts and analysts have speculated could slow down development of the subsalt reserves. Full development of the region has been estimated to cost as much as $600 billion.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE RIGZONE’

Posted in A QUESTÃO ENERGÉTICA, BRASIL, CANADA, CHINA, CIDADES, COMBATE À DESIGUALDADE E À EXCLUSÃO - BRASIL, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIA - BRASIL, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENERGY INDUSTRIES, EXPANSÃO ECONÔMICA, EXPANSÃO INDUSTRIAL, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FLUXO DE CAPITAIS, FOREIGN POLICIES, GÁS NATURAL, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, MINISTÉRIO DAS MINAS E ENERGIA, NATURAL GAS, O PODER EXECUTIVO FEDERAL, PETRÓLEO, PETROL, POLÍTICA EXTERNA - BRASIL, PROGRAMA DE ACELERAÇÃO DO CRESCIMENTO (PAC), RECESSION, RELAÇÕES COMERCIAIS INTERNACIONAIS - BRASIL, RELAÇÕES DIPLOMÁTICAS - BRASIL, RELAÇÕES INTERNACIONAIS - BRASIL, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »

FRENCH ECONOMY SURPASSING U.K., REPORT FINDS

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 11, 2008

December 8, 2008

Bloomberg News

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE’ (USA)

PARIS: The financial crisis is recasting the league table of economies, with Britain sliding behind its European neighbors and China gaining on its richer rivals, the Center for Economics and Business Research said in a study released Monday.

A recession and a decline in the pound’s value pushed Britain’s gross domestic product below France’s this year and it will be passed by Italy in 2009, the CEBR said in the report. China has overtaken Germany and will top Japan in 2010 to become the world’s second-largest economy behind the United States, it said.

“The recession associated with the credit crunch will change the position of many countries in the world’s GDP league table,” the London-based CEBR said in the report.

The study shows how countries that ran up debts during expansion, like Britain, will now suffer, while emerging-market economies will wield increasingly more power in the global economy as they develop. Governments from the Group of 7 nations are under pressure to broaden their membership to reflect the changing shape of the world economy.

Brazil will rise to eighth-biggest economy from 10th by 2010 and India to 10th from 12th, the CEBR said. Canada will drop to 13th from ninth in the same period as its currency falls, it said.

The CEBR also said the British and Italian economies would suffer the deepest downturns with 18 quarters of GDP below its previous peaks. Spain’s slump will last 16 quarters and Japan’s 11 quarters. The United States will rebound after nine quarters. China will not suffer a single quarter of contracting growth, the report said.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE’ (USA)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEMS, BRASIL, CANADA, CHINA, COMMERCE, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, ENGLAND, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, GERMANY, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, ITALY, JAPAN, MACROECONOMY, RECESSION, SPAIN, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, UNITED KINGDOM, USA | Leave a Comment »

LOBSTER FISHERS GROW DESPERATE – PRICES PLUNGE (Canada)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 10, 2008

Published: Tuesday, December 09, 2008

by Janet Whitman – Financial Post

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE FINANCIAL POST’ (Canada)

NEW YORK – Add the lobster industry to the list of those bashed and battered by the global economic meltdown.

The price fishermen are fetching for a fresh catch has tanked to a nearly two-decade low as consumers lose their appetite for extravagance.

Wholesalers here have knocked about US$3 a pound off their prices, but fancy restaurants and high-end hotels around the city aren’t biting.

“There’s something about the psyche of consumers that says it’s a luxury item,” said Ian MacGregor, a New York wholesaler who typically sells a million pounds of lobster a year to New York’s top restaurants and hotels. “We’re selling one-claw lobster for as little as US$4.50-a-pound.

“We haven’t seen prices that low forever,” said Mr. MacGregor. “But the restaurant industry doesn’t seem to be reacting.”

The situation is becoming desperate for Maine and Nova Scotia fishermen, who are barely breaking even after paying for diesel and bait.

At the season’s open last week on Nova Scotia’s South Shore, fishermen staged a spontaneous two-day strike, putting up a road blockade and refusing to pull traps, to protest the weak prices. They soon voted to go back to work, however, after agreeing that a little money was better than none at all.

With the global economy crumbling, the “shore” price fishermen are getting for a pound of lobster has fallen to $3.25, down from $5 a year ago and $7 before Christmas last year. Fisherman are worried the price might dip below $3 a pound, nearing the low of $2 in 1990 that led to strikes.

“I would say this is the most difficult situation I’ve seen, no question about it,” said Ashton Spinney, a fisherman in Argyle, N. S., who bought his first licence to fish lobster in 1957. “The lobster fishery is the economic engine that drives the economy here in south western Nova Scotia. None of these difficulties are of its own doing. It’s going to need serious help.”

One big reason fishermen are finding themselves in much deeper water this time around is because the business is a lot more expensive than it was a couple of decades ago.

As lobster prices soared over the past decade, many fishermen in Maine and Nova Scotia upgraded their boats, with some spending $450,000 or more on new vessels.

With the price of acquiring a lobster licence costing around as much in recent years, some fishermen could be in danger of bankruptcy.

To cope with the downturn, Nova Scotia fishermen are pushing for politicians to extend employment insurance benefits and to force banks to come up with longer payback periods for boat loans.

“No bank is interested in owning a bunch of lobster boats,” said Denny Morrow, executive director of the Nova Scotia Fish Packers Association on Yarmouth, N. S.

“Everybody in the industry is hunkering down. It’s going to be a tough time for a year or two. [But] we’ve gone through business cycles before and there’s always a brighter day ahead.”

As the economy is struggling, demand — and prices -are likely to remain weak, he added.

“Lobster is a special-occasion food. It’s not something people eat on Wednesdays or twice a week.”

One positive to come out of the lower prices is that some consumers who might not have thought of purchasing lobster in the past are considering it now.

Dan Zawacki, who started a mail-order lobster business 21 years ago in Chicago, believes his sales are holding up because customers who might be reluctant to spend hundreds on an expensive meal out with wine feel they can afford the luxury of a less expensive lobster dinner delivered direct.

He introduced a half-price “Lobster Bailout” promotion to stimulate demand last month after the U. S. government approved a US$700-billion bailout for Wall Street.

“I had a customer call me the other day and say it’s one of those affordable luxuries,” said Mr. Zawacki.

“He told me he might not go out and spend $3,000 on a flat-screen TV, but he does like to have a nice dinner around the holidays.”

In New York, Mr. MacGregor has seen a similar jump in consumer demand from customers at his retail location, the Lobster Place, in Manhattan’s Chelsea Market, as prices come down. “But the vast majority of lobster we sell is still to restaurants and hotels,” he added.

That means that until the economy starts to turn around and customers at restaurants, hotels and cruise ships start demanding lobster again, the price is likely to remain cheap.

BY THE NUMBERS

The sinking tale of a marine crustacean’s prices:

– $3.25 per pound, the current price of off-the-boat lobster in Nova Scotia.

– $5 per pound, the price this time last year.

– $7 per pound, the price by last Christmas.

– $4-$5 the price many Nova Scotia lobstermen need to break even.

– $2 per pound, the price 18 years ago, which led to a strike by Nova Scotia lobstermen.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE FINANCIAL POST’ (Canada)

Posted in CANADA, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, CONSUMERS AND PSYCHOLOGICAL FACTORS, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENVIRONMENT, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FISHERIES, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, NATIONAL WORK FORCES, RECESSION, THE WORK MARKET, THE WORKERS | 1 Comment »

CUBAN TOURISM SURGES AS REST OF CARIBBEAN STALLS – Tourism In Cuba Up Nearly 11 Percent Despite 3 Hurricanes

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 10, 2008

HAVANA, Dec. 8, 2008

The Associated Press

PUBLISHED BY ‘CBS NEWS’ (USA)

(AP) Cuba’s vacation industry has remained as hot as the tropical sun here, even as the world economic crisis sparks cancellations and layoffs elsewhere in the Caribbean.

The communist country says it’s booked solid through December and expects a record 2.34 million visitors this year _ largely because global financial woes have so far been softer on Canada, its top source of visitors.

Luck also played a role: While the island suffered three devastating hurricanes, its key tourist sites were largely spared. And where beachfront resorts did get hit, the tourist-hungry government has made sure to repair hotels _ in some cases even before damaged homes and infrastructure. Tourism is Cuba’s second-largest source of foreign income, behind nickel production.

So while other islands in the region are laying off hotel workers and suspending construction of new property, Cuban resorts are gearing up for a strong season.

“We’ve had a few cancellations, but overall our numbers are still strong,” said David Gregori of WowCuba, a travel agency in Charlottetown, Canada, that specializes in bicycle trips and other Cuba tours. “People still like to get away. They might try to save some money while doing it, but they’re still traveling.”

The number of foreign visitors has swelled nearly 11 percent this year, making up for 4 and 3 percent declines in 2006 and 2007, government figures show.

Officials offer no explanation for those slower years. But tour operators blame the island’s low returning-visitor rates: Some tourists complain of poor service, crumbling infrastructure and lousy food, indicative of a communist system where shortages are common and state employees are unaccustomed to putting customer service first.

Still, the island is often cheaper than its subtropical neighbors, because many foreigners buy all-inclusive packages offering dozens of direct flights from Europe and Canada to airports all over Cuba, as well deep discounts on hotels, food and booze.

Others are enticed by the prospect of seeing one of only five communist countries left on the planet.

“A lot of people who are going for simple fly-and-flop holiday, and there are others who are going for history and culture, dancing, music,” said Julia Hendry, marketing director for Europe and the United Kingdom of the Bahamas-based Caribbean Trade Organization. Cuba has both, she said, “whether it’s swimming and beach or the excitement of Old Havana and Cuban history.”

About 35 percent of this year’s tourists have been Canadian, with 635,000 visiting through September, one-fifth more than in the same period last year. Canada’s economy has not suffered the same losses now sapping the savings of homeowners in the U.S.

Russian tourists rose 40 percent to top 28,000 thru September, and Cuban Tourism Minister Manuel Marrero traveled to Moscow last month to further promote his country.

Visitors from Britain, Italy, Spain and Germany, the top suppliers of tourists after Canada, declined between 3 and 5 percent respectively, however.

Washington’s trade embargo prohibits Americans from visiting, though island immigration records show about 41,000 came last year, many presumably without permission. But not relying on U.S. tourists may now be a blessing.

“Canadians are going to keep coming, especially with snow at home,” said Helen Lueke of Sherwood Park, Canada, who has vacationed in Havana about once a year for decades.

Alexis Trujillo, Cuba’s deputy secretary of tourism, predicted full bookings at least through next summer.

“There’s no doubt tourism is always sensitive to everything,” he said of global economic turmoil. “But we don’t think that for Cuba that will mean an important decrease.”

Tourism generated $2.2 billion for Cuba in 2007. The government has announced no plans to delay a $185 million plan to upgrade more than 200 resorts and build 50 boutique hotels by 2010 _ nt even after Hurricanes Gustav, Ike and Paloma hit within two months, causing more than $10 billion in damages and crippling farms and infrastructure across the countryside.

Construction crews assigned to vacation properties in Havana and elsewhere have largely continued working as normal since the storms.

In the eastern province of Holguin, the island’s No. 3 tourist destination after Havana and the beach resort of Varadero, officials prioritized hotel repairs, trucking in workers to rebuild beachfront resorts. Holguin expects about 270,000 foreigners this year, about the same as 2007, despite scores of hurricane-related cancellations.

Havana’s decaying yet picturesque historic district saw little damage, as did Varadero, 90 miles (140 kilometers) to the east, where white sand and warm, see-through surf has enticed everyone from Fidel Castro to Al Capone. A record million visitors are expected to stay in the town’s 7,000 hotel rooms, which range in price from about $120 to $350 per night, with meals and open bar included.

Though European tour operators say sales have slowed since the financial crisis deepened in October, they expect trips to Cuba and some other Caribbean destinations to stay strong through the winter. Europeans are putting off short, side trips closer to home, but many families are still willing to splurge on once-a-year trips to the tropics, Hendry said.

“We have noticed that all-inclusive markets, where travelers can budget in advance, seem to be doing relative well. Cuba is quite well-populated with that sort of property,” she said.

The industry could get another boast if President-elect Barack Obama keeps campaign promises to ease restrictions on Cuban Americans who want to visit their relatives on the island. Currently, those with family here can only come once every three years.

Nelson Gonzalez, a 56-year-old physical therapist, said his mechanic brother in Miami last came to visit in 2007. But his brother called the morning after the U.S. election to say he was reserving a seat on one of the many special charters that fly from the U.S. to Havana for the last week in January _ confident Obama will ease family travel rules immediately after his Jan. 20 inauguration.

“When your family members reach a certain age, you don’t know if in three more years everyone will still be here,” said Gonzalez, who lives with his 80-year-old parents.

Though visiting family members spend less than tourists, Gregori said many Cuban Americans use his company to book rental cars in advance of visiting relatives.

But “if you want to rent a car in Havana in December, I don’t have any,” he said. “They’ve been sold out for months, and every year they get sold out earlier and earlier.”

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PUBLISHED BY ‘CBS NEWS’ (USA)

Posted in BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA -(DEC. 2008/JAN. 2009), CANADA, COMMERCE, CUBA, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, EUROPE, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FOREIGN POLICIES, FOREIGN POLICIES - USA, GERMANY, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, ITALY, NATIONAL WORK FORCES, RECESSION, RUSSIA, SPAIN, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, THE WORK MARKET, THE WORKERS, TOURISM INDUSTRIES, UNITED KINGDOM, USA | Leave a Comment »

INDIGENOUS RIGHTS ROW THREATENS RAINFOREST PROTECTION PLAN – Green groups accuse US, Australia, New Zealand and Canada of deleting lines on indigenous peoples’ rights in draft agreement in Poznan on climate change and deforestation

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 9, 2008

Tuesday December 9 2008 – 18.06 GMT

by David Adam – guardian.co.uk

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE GUARDIAN’ (UK)

Talks aimed at finding ways to protect tropical forests in a new global deal on global warming hit problems today after a row over the rights of indigenous people.

Green groups accused the US, Australia, New Zealand and Canada of deleting a line about indigenous peoples’ rights from a draft agreement due to have been published tonight, as part of UN talks on climate change.

The original confidential draft, seen by the Guardian, talked of “noting the rights and importance of engaging indigenous peoples and other local communities”.

The amended version mentions only “recognising the need to promote the full and effective participation of indigenous and local communities”. The change sparked protests at the Poznan meeting by delegates representing indigenous groups from Panama and the US.

Campaigners said the suggested change would leave indigenous people across the world vulnerable to exploitation under proposals to pay tropical nations not to cut down forests.

A joint statement from groups including Friends of the Earth and the Rainforest Foundation condemned the change as “totally unacceptable”. It said: “The forests being targetted… are those which indigenous peoples have sustained and protected for thousands of years. The rights of forest peoples to continue playing this role, and being rewarded for doing so, has to be recognised.”

Talks continue, but the row threatens to derail attempts to agree a rulebook for forest-protection schemes, which was supposed to have paved the way to include them in a new global climate deal to succeed the Kyoto protocol. Deforestation causes almost a fifth of greenhouse gas emissions.

Negotiators had said such an agreement on forests was one of the few breakthroughs expected at the Poznan talks, which are largely a preparatory meeting for more serious negotiations next year.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE GUARDIAN’ (UK)

Posted in AUSTRALIA, CANADA, ECONOMY, ENVIRONMENT, INTERNATIONAL, NATIVE PEOPLES, NEW ZEALAND, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, USA | Leave a Comment »

CANADA HAULS US TO WTO OVER COUNTRY-OF-ORIGIN LABELING FOR BEEF, PORK

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 3, 2008

Last update: December 2, 2008 – 5:58 AM

by Bradley S. Klapper – Associated Press

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE STAR TRIBUNE’ (USA)

GENEVA – Canada filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization on Tuesday over a new U.S. law that requires retailers to provide country-of-origin labeling for fresh beef and pork, officials said.

The Canadian government said it was concerned the U.S. rules were discriminating against Canadian agricultural exporters, who have lobbied hard for a legal challenge at the WTO.

“We believe that the country-of-origin legislation is creating undue trade restrictions to the detriment of Canadian exporters,” Canadian Trade Minister Stockwell Day said in a statement.

The WTO confirmed receipt of Canada’s complaint.

Canadian farm groups say a growing number of meat plants in the U.S. are refusing to accept Canadian cattle and hogs for processing since the Country Of Origin Labeling (COOL) law went into effect on Oct. 1.

Under country of origin labeling, Canadian cattle and pigs must be segregated in U.S. feedlots and packing plants, prompting some firms to only deal with American livestock. Canadian animals are also required to have more documentation about where they come from and, in the case of cattle, must have tags that indicate they are free of mad cow disease.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative in Washington could not immediately comment.

Ottawa’s filing at the Geneva-based trade referee initiates a two-month consultation period between the North American neighbors. If they fail to reach a settlement, Canada can ask the WTO for a formal investigation. Such trade disputes can result in punitive sanctions, but usually after years of litigation.

Canada and the U.S. are the world’s biggest commercial partners, but have battled for years over trade issues involving beef, corn, dairy and wheat. In 2006 the two countries signed an accord on softwood lumber, a key component in home-building, ending a decades-long dispute that once fueled talk of an outright trade war.

“We are committed to a respectful working relationship with our American neighbors,” Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said, “but have always made it clear that these new regulations must not discriminate against Canadian producers.”

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE STAR TRIBUNE’ (USA)

Posted in CANADA, CATTLE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FOREIGN POLICIES, FOREIGN POLICIES - USA, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES - USA, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, PORK, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, THE PRESIDENCY - USA, USA, WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION | Leave a Comment »

FINANCE WELL RUNS DRY FOR DIAMOND MINERS

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 2, 2008

December 1, 2008

by Melanie Lee PUBLISHED BY ‘BUSINESS REPORT’ (South Africa)

Singapore – Ructions in financial markets and a slowdown in economies threaten to cut output of rough diamonds by up to 40 percent by top miners, as banks slow lending and demand weakens, an industry official said on Monday.

Freddy Hanard, chief executive of Antwerp World Diamond Centre, an organisation representing the Belgian diamond industry, said the cut in financing would lead to the world’s top miners, De Beers and Russia’s Alrosa, slashing production of rough diamonds by up to 40 percent.

“The diamond business is a very capital intensive business, that means they rely on a very high level on external funding,” Hanard told Reuters in an interview in Singapore.

“The banks usually finance two parts of a diamond business balance sheet, the receivables and purchases – in these present circumstances, it is extremely difficult for them to finance both,” he said.

Antwerp, the world’s diamond trading capital, handles around 80 percent of the world’s rough diamonds and half of all polished diamonds each year.

ABN Amro, the world’s biggest diamond financier, came under the Belgian government in October after its parent company Fortis Bank had to be bailed out.

Another big diamond financier Antwerp Diamond Bank said last month the company was already seeing a recessionary impact on consumer spending and the capacity to service debt could come under strain.

De Beers, which accounts for around 40 percent of global rough diamond supply and is 45 percent owned by mining group Anglo American, said last month it will cut output at two of its new Canadian mines by 10 to 20 percent.

Hanard however said reduced supplies will not cause a big change in polished diamond prices because consumer demand from the United States, which accounts for nearly 50 percent of the world’s diamond consumption, was set to slow.

Polished diamond prices have fallen by almost 11 percent since August, according to Polishedprices.com . – Reuters

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PUBLISHED BY ‘BUSINESS REPORT’ (South Africa)

Posted in BELGIUM, CANADA, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, DIAMONDS, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, INTERNATIONAL, MINING INDUSTRIES, RECESSION, RUSSIA, SOUTH AFRICA, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, USA | 1 Comment »

UNCERTAINTIES BEDEVIL PLANS TO KEEP WORLD TRADE FLOWING

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 29, 2008

28/11/2008 1:00:00 AM

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE CANBERRA TIMES’ (Australia)

Trading nations around the world are saying the right things about preventing a surge of protectionism that would choke Pakistani investors monitor the index at Karachi Stock Exchangeglobal trade when it needs to be boosted to help pull economies out of their slump. But amid fears of a deepening recession stretching beyond 2009, will governments act in conformity with their promises?

Leaders of the 21 economies in APEC, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, hit the right notes when they issued a statement during their summit in Lima, Peru, last weekend. To counter calls to shield countries and industries from competition by restricting imports, the APEC leaders, who oversee half the world’s economic activity, said that in the next 12 months they would not raise new barriers to investment or to trade in goods and services, impose new export restrictions, or implement measures inconsistent with the World Trade Organisation, including those that stimulate exports.

This was an endorsement of the free trade section of a declaration issued by the summit of the Group of 20 advanced and emerging economies in Washington on November 15. The G20 accounts for about 90 per cent of global economic activity and 80 per cent of trade. Australia, Canada, China, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Korea and the US are members of both APEC and the G20. So the combined words of leaders of these two groups should carry weight.

Yet two days after Russia’s President, Dmitry Medvedev, put his name to the G20 declaration, his Deputy Finance Minister, Dmitry Pankin, announced that Moscow would raise tariffs on imported cars to protect Russian producers.

Russia has also announced a general review of trade agreements that may lead to a further increase in import duties and a cut in quotas for allowable imports. Russia says these measures were planned in advance of the G20 meeting. ”No one said that anyone should scrap existing barriers or go back on existing decisions,” Mr Pankin explained.

China, which is anxious to help exporters hit by falling demand in the US and Europe, took a somewhat different tack. Three days before the G20 summit it raised export tax rebates paid on more than 3700 types of goods almost 28 per cent of the total sold overseas. Yet China has a huge trade surplus and has been criticised by economists who argue that the export sector receives too much favorable treatment from the government, which should instead stimulate domestic demand.

So far there has been no reneging on APEC and G20 free trade pledges. But these are early days. It will take resolute national leadership and continuing international consultation to resist protectionism as economic woes get worse and cries for help by affected industries become louder.

Fredrik Erixon, director of the European Centre for International Political Economy, a free-trade think-tank in Brussels, is concerned that the APEC and G20 pledges still leave scope for countries to impose anti-dumping duties on imports deemed to be below the cost of production, and to provide emergency state aid to politically sensitive industries. Indeed, he says that such measures are supplanting permanent import tariffs as the main method of protectionism and were not covered by either the APEC or G20 statements.

Still, APEC went somewhat further than the G20 in supporting an early resumption of WTO negotiations to liberalise international trade. These negotiations collapsed last July after seven years because of disagreements between the US and India, backed by China, over the extent to which agriculture in developing countries should be shielded from foreign competition.

China’s President Hu Jintao said in Lima that Beijing believed reviving the WTO talks and bringing them to a successful conclusion should be a top priority. APEC leaders directed their trade ministers to meet in Geneva next month to try to advance the WTO negotiations. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said a successful outcome would be a ”huge shot in the arm for the global economy” and to confidence.

If the world trade deal stalls again, there is another option for Pacific Rim nations. They could forge a trans-Pacific free trade agreement. The Bush Administration in the US, Australia and Peru announced recently that they would join Brunei, China, New Zealand and Singapore in talks to try to build the core of a free trade area of the Asia-Pacific. The first round of negotiations will be held in March in Singapore.

However, the Obama factor is looming over all these issues. Barack Obama, the US President-elect who takes office in January, outlined a potentially protectionist agenda during the election campaign. He said he would renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico and a pending bilateral deal with South Korea, rebalance economic ties with China to reduce the huge US trade deficit, challenge unfair trade in the WTO and elsewhere, and discourage US companies from outsourcing work to countries such as India and the Philippines.

If Obama, backed by a Democratic majority in Congress, takes up these cudgels, the prospects of success in both the WTO and trans-Pacific trade liberalisation negotiations will recede while the likelihood of a slide into wider tit-for-tat protectionism will increase.

The International Chamber of Commerce pointed out recently that parallels are being drawn between the financial and economic crisis of today and the Great Depression of the 1930s. ”Almost 80 years ago, many nations reacted to the Great Depression by raising border tariffs and ended up making matters worse for themselves included. Beggar-my-neighbour protectionism ended up beggaring everyone. That is one of the most unambiguous lessons of the 1930s,” the chamber said.

Obama and the leaders of other major economies and trading nations should bear this in mind as they consider policies for 2009 and beyond.

The writer, a former Asia editor of the International Herald Tribune, is a visiting senior research fellow at the Institute of South-East Asian Studies in Singapore.

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Posted in AGRICULTURE, AUSTRALIA, BANKING SYSTEMS, CANADA, CENTRAL BANKS, CHINA, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL MARKETS, G20, INDONESIA, INTERNATIONAL, JAPAN, MEXICO, PERU, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, RUSSIA, STOCK MARKETS, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, USA, WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION | Leave a Comment »

FREE TRADE HURTS FARMERS, CLAIMS NFU PRESIDENT (Canada)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 23, 2008

Published: Friday, November 21, 2008

by Joanne Paulson, The StarPhoenix

Grain prices may have soared earlier this year, but the 20-year average income of the Canadian
family farmer remains at zero, the president of the National Farmers Union (NFU) said Thursday.

Farmers have generated two-thirds of a trillion dollars in gross income during that time and have kept none of it, said Stewart Wells in an address to the NFU convention at the Hilton Garden Inn.

“Farmers have been brought up to that zero mark due to taxpayers’ transfers,” Wells said later in an interview.

While grain prices were quite high during the spring and summer, other commodities including beef, pork and potatoes have been tanking for some time. Meanwhile, input costs have risen faster than commodity prices and as commodities have dropped off, input costs have not.

These problems have narrowed the window of economic viability, he said. Once, farmers had three or four years to harvest a crop that would get them out of the hole. Today, they’re lucky if they have one or two years, said Wells.

“We need a systemic Canadian-made policy that will allow family farms to grow high-quality, safe food for Canadians.”

Farmers have worked too hard to grow safe food for it to go into corporate production plants where it can be contaminated with listeriosis, said Wells.

Farming problems are not cyclical, but systemic, and began with the free trade agreements that began to fall into place in the late 1980s, he said. Between 1945 and 1985, farm income was relatively stable.

“Now we’ve fallen completely out of that channel,” said Wells.

Family farmers are not surprised by the erosion of the global economy. They saw it coming with the first free trade agreements of the late 1980s, which allowed for more lax regulations and food safety processes for trading partners.

Wells says he is not opposed to all free trade, but he said the agreements must enhance local economies rather than replace them.

CWB ELECTION UNDEMOCRATIC: WELLS

Wells also slammed the Harper government for what he says is an undemocratic approach to running – and trying to get rid of — the Canadian Wheat Board.

“Over the last three years, we’re seeing how thin this veneer of democracy really is,” said Wells.

In the upcoming CWB election, between 10,000 and 15,000 wheat board permit book holders will not be voting, Wells estimated. Under new election parameters, only permit book holders who delivered to the CWB in the last 15 months (or two crop years) were automatically placed on the voters list.

The changes were mandated by the Harper government and set out by Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and by Chuck Strahl before him.

The CWB election is managed by official election co-ordinator Meyers Norris Penny, but should be taken over by Elections Canada in the future, said Wells.

Asked how the voters list problem will affect the election – which pits single-desk advocates against open market candidates in many cases – Wells said, “we’ll never know.”

Wheat board directors are elected in five of 10 districts per election, which are two years apart, to maintain board continuity. The same election rules applied two years ago, said CWB spokesperson Maureen Fitzhenry.

Fitzhenry said the permit book holders were eligible, but just weren’t automatically on the list. An oversight with unclear wording on the voters application form did cause some problems, but the oversight was fixed, she said.

Non-permit book holders were also eligible to vote if they could prove they had grown one of the major six grains in the last two years.

“We’re very committed to running the election in the most neutral, balanced way so the process has integrity,” said Fitzhenry.

© The StarPhoenix (Saskatoon) 2008

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Posted in AGRICULTURE, CANADA, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FARMING SUBSIDIES, GRAINS, INTERNATIONAL, THE WORK MARKET, WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION | Leave a Comment »

PRIDE IN AUTO SECTOR TURNS TO SCORN – There was a time when the U.S. car business was the envy of the world

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 23, 2008

Published: Friday, November 21, 2008

by Nicolas Van Praet, Financial Post

Factories in the United States and Canada pumped out stylish and solidly built cars like the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Corvette that captured the public imagination and became symbols of middle-class optimism. Every country wanted a Detroit. Every American was proud of Motor City’s muscle.

Today, that pride has turned to scorn in many corners of North America.

Burning through cash as vehicle sales stall in the United States and Europe, General Motors Corp., Chrysler LLC and Ford Motor Co. are asking for taxpayer-backed emergency relief of US$25-billion in the United States and as much as US$6.5-billion in Canada.

But many people say they don’t want to rescue car companies from which they would never buy a vehicle. Many argue Detroit is the architect of its own misfortune, clinging too long to big trucks while its customers wanted small cars, and bending to union demands for higher compensation while international automakers in the United States pay their workers much less.

Detroit’s automakers say they absolutely need government aid, that reorganizing their businesses under bankruptcy protection is not an option. They say they would be forced to liquidate instead, resulting in at least three million lost jobs.

But the companies are being met with more than a few mistrustful lawmakers who appear willing to call their bluff. And, in the end, bankruptcy court may be where they find themselves.

“The automakers and the government are playing chicken right now,” says Mark Bane, a bankruptcy lawyer with Ropes & Gray LLP in New York.

“You have to draw a distinction between what the automakers are saying to frighten people into giving them money and what the truth is,” adds Alan Schwartz, a professor specializing in corporate finance at Yale University. “I don’t see any particular reason why bankruptcy would be bad for these companies.”

What is it about the auto industry that makes it so special? U.S. and Canadian airlines have undergone restructurings under Chapter 11 and Canada’s Companies’ Creditor Arrangement Act – and emerged successfully. Massive companies like Kmart Corp. and Cadillac Fairview Inc. have filed for bankruptcy and are still in business.

Why would GM or Chrysler be any different?

Pressed under questioning in congressional committees this past week on whether they have examined bankruptcy protection, chief executives with all three automakers acknowledged they have weighed the possibility as a way out of their distress.

Alan Mulally, Ford’s CEO, said it’s simply “not a viable option.”

GM chief executive Rick Wagoner, whose company has indicated it may lack the cash to fund daily operations by the end of this year, used apocalyptic language in his assessment of a bankruptcy filing. It would lead to “massive economic devastation,” he said, because consumers would stop buying GM vehicles, its dealers would collapse, the supply chain would buckle and other manufacturers would also see their output paralyzed. “You would end up liquidating the company very simply because you wouldn’t have revenue.”

Independent research by CNW Group in Bandon, Oregon, supports Mr. Wagoner’s view. In a survey of 6,000 people who planned on buying a new car within six months, more than 80% of them said they would not choose an automaker if it were to file for bankruptcy.

In today’s marketplace, “bankruptcy for General Motors or any major automaker is a death knell,” CNW said.

“People buy from bankrupt companies all the time,” Mr. Schwartz says. “When you go bankrupt, you don’t disappear.”

Intervening with a direct bailout in what should be the natural outcome of market forces would be a mistake for governments, Mr. Schwartz argues. In Europe, companies in financial difficulty can apply to the European Union for a subsidy that may save them, he notes. “What we do in the U.S. is we let them fail. And we’ve had very good success with that model.”

With capital markets frozen, it would be difficult for GM or any automaker to win financing for a new lease on life through a bankruptcy filing, Mr. Schwartz says. He says a more appropriate role for governments may be to provide debtor-in-possession financing, because it would give the government priority over other lenders while ensuring a level of restructuring takes place.

Mr. Bane, the bankruptcy lawyer at Ropes & Gray, is among those pushing for a prepackaged bankruptcy for GM. In a prepack, as lawyers call it, the company would enter court with financing already arranged after striking a deal with lenders, employees and suppliers outlining concessions each party would give and what a new GM would look like. What might take more than two years or more under a regular Chapter 11 filing might take 12 months or less.

Such a deal could be struck if a deadline were set, he says, and government could give GM financing for the exclusive purpose of completing the prepack. “Once you have true parameters and you’ve also provided the financing to allow General Motors to do this kind of exercise, that would probably create the only environment in which a real deal could happen without losing your customer base,” Mr. Bane says.

President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team is exploring a swift prepackaged bankruptcy for automakers as a possible solution, Bloomberg News reported Friday.

Others argue there may not be enough time for such a solution given the precarious financial position of the Detroit three.

The more ambitious a prepack is, in terms of renegotiating not just with bondholders, but also with labour unions and other stakeholders, the more complex it becomes, says Jay Swartz, a partner at law firm Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg, who has been involved in numerous corporate restructurings.

Mr. Swartz says the real issue with a bankruptcy filing by an automaker is the ripple effects it has on the supply base. As soon as a company files for protection, it is not obliged to pay any pre-filing debts. That will threaten the suppliers, who won’t be paid until a reorganization is finished and may have few other customers to offset the lost cash flow, he says.

“If you don’t address that problem in a Chapter 11 or a CCAA, then your entire supply chain is going to get totally disrupted and there’s going to be absolute chaos,” Mr. Swartz says.

Mitt Romney, a Republican whose father ran American Motors Corp., argued in the New York Times this past week that the best way to save Detroit’s automakers is to let them go bankrupt. Larry Kudlow, host of Kudlow & Company on CBNC, said bankruptcy is as American as apple pie.

Bankruptcy always carries with it a little bit of a stigma, says Derrick Tay, a senior partner with Ogilvy Renault in Toronto, who acted in Air Canada’s CCAA filing in 2003. But people generally tend to overestimate its negative impact, he says.

Many companies have been able to work out warranties for their products in bankruptcy. Many have successfully convinced their customers that they will be in business in the long term. “If [the sales argument about nobody buying cars from a company in creditor protection] were true, then no company should ever survive bankruptcy,” Mr. Tay says.

Mr. Tay argues the problem facing the Detroit automakers in particular is not how they will convince people to buy their cars after they have filed for bankruptcy protection.

“The problem is, do people want your cars at all? That’s a problem that filing or not filing is not going to help. And what’s worse, that’s a problem that getting a government bailout is not going to help.”

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‘SHORT-TERM DEFICIT’ POSSIBLE – Prime minister says Canada will do its part as Group of 20 leaders agree to ambitious reform plan

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 17, 2008

Published: Sunday, November 16, 2008

by Sheldon Alberts, Canwest News Service

WASHINGTON – Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he’s eyeing the possibility of “short-term deficit Harper of Canada, left, as he arrives at the North Portico of the White House in Washington , Friday, Nov. 14, 2008. President Bush invited leaders of the G-20 community to Washington for a weekend summit to discuss the world economy and the current condition of the financial marketsspending” to boost Canada’s economy as part of broader, co-ordinated international efforts to halt a global plunge into economic recession.

At the close of the Group of 20 leaders’ summit yesterday afternoon, Mr. Harper said Canada still hopes to preserve its balanced budget, but is prepared to use fiscal stimulus, if necessary, to do its part on the world stage.

“Look, if there is a worldwide agreement, then we will engage in sufficient stimulus to do our part in carrying global economic demand. We will fulfil our part of that agreement,” he said at a news conference at the Canadian Embassy.

“What we’ve got to be sure is that if we do short-term deficit spending as a deliberate policy – if we do that, we haven’t settled on doing that, but if we do that – we will have to be able to demonstrate to Canadians that those deficits will genuinely be short-term and cyclical, and we will come out of them quickly.”

His comments came as G20 leaders agreed to an ambitious – if still ill-defined – plan to reform international financial institutions, tighten global regulations, and inject life into their individual economies.

In a five-page declaration that mapped out planned actions in broad strokes, the world leaders vowed to bolster international oversight of large financial institutions, better monitor executive salaries at top firms, and increase transparency of complex financial products.

They also vowed to reshape international financial institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, and to give more influence to rapidly growing economic powers such as China, India and Brazil.

“We will implement reforms that will strengthen financial markets and regulatory regimes so as to avoid further crises,” the leaders said in the summit’s final statement.

If undertaken, the reforms could be the most sweeping overhaul of the international financial system since the Second World War.

The two-day summit itself made history, bringing together for the first time leaders from Canada, the United States, Great Britain, France, Japan, Italy, Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Turkey, Spain and the European Union.

The leaders set a March 31, 2009, deadline for the creation of “supervisory colleges for all major cross-border financial institutions” to enhance surveillance of their activities.

The final statement said governments would “use fiscal measures to stimulate domestic demand to rapid effect, as appropriate” in the upcoming months – though there was no promise of a comprehensive or joint plan.

“All the leaders in the room understand the extreme dangers of the situation and the necessity of acting quickly and in concert,” Mr. Harper told reporters.

“There is a view coming out of this meeting I can tell you very strongly … that monetary policy alone will not be sufficient to take the global economy through this crisis.”

He singled out China for praise, which last week pledged almost $600 billion U.S. in new spending for major infrastructure projects.

What form a future fiscal stimulus might take in Canada, however, remains somewhat of an unknown.

Mr. Harper, who plans to deliver a mini-budget at the end of November, said he had directed Finance Minister Jim Flaherty to “try to preserve Canada’s balanced budget position.”

But he quickly added, “We will do what we have to, to contribute to boosting global demand.”

The prime minister left open the possibility of providing future government assistance to Canada’s ailing auto industry, with or without similar action being taken by the U.S. government.

“We don’t yet know what the American approach will be. We’re obviously watching that very carefully and we’re talking to our American counterparts,” he said. “We cannot ignore what the Americans do. On the other hand, we as the government of Canada have to ultimately undertake our own actions.”

While Mr. Harper said the group’s joint declaration should give Canadians “hope” that world leaders recognize the scope of the international crisis, he acknowledged there’s likely no way to avoid some substantial economic pain.

“Does (the G20) plan mean Canada or any country will be spared effects, or that this problem is not going to be with us for some time? No, it does not mean that,” he said.

“The world economy has difficult times ahead. Canada has so far been sheltered from most of those. But we will not be sheltered entirely from those problems.”

The most difficult questions leaders addressed at the meeting – the scope of regulatory reform and international oversight — has been put off until after U.S. President George W. Bush leaves office.

The leaders agreed to meet again at the end of April, months after incoming president Barack Obama will be installed in the White House.

“We’re adapting our financial systems to the realities of the 21st century. A lot of the regulatory structures that are in place were 20th-century regulatory structures,” Mr. Bush said in a statement after the summit’s conclusion. “The question is, How do we establish good regulatory structure without destroying the incentive to innovate, without destroying the marketplace?”

In a thinly-veiled critique of the U.S., the final summit statement blamed “policy-makers, regulators and supervisors in some advanced countries” for failing to properly police financial institutions in the lead-up to the crisis.

The leaders criticized the U.S. for allowing “weak underwriting standards, unsound risk-management practices, increasingly complex and opaque financial products, and consequent excessive leverage.”

© Canwest News Service 2008

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HARPER CALLS FOR GLOBAL SCRUTINY OF COUNTRIES’ BANKING SYSTEMS (Canada)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 15, 2008

November 14, 2008 at 2:51 PM EST

by Steven Chase

Globe and Mail Update

WINNIPEG — Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he wants countries such as the United States to Prime Minister Stephen Harper - by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaasagree to subject their financial systems to “peer review” by other countries – comments made as he heads to a key economic summit on tackling a global crisis triggered by an American banking and lending meltdown.

“I do think it’s incumbent on the United States and others – that as they make regulatory reforms – that we allow peer review mechanisms,” Mr. Harper told reporters in Winnipeg before leaving for the Group of 20 meetings in Washington, D.C.

“[There must be] allow accountable and transparent international peer review mechanisms of our financial systems: to give us evaluations and suggestions. Not to impose solutions – we want to respect national sovereignty – but that we get good objective evaluations that we are able to act on.”

He said however he remains opposed to any push for global governance of financial systems and believes those won’t gain traction in Washington.

“Our position is [not] one model of compulsory global governance that I think is unrealistic and will never be accepted. But I think on the other hand if we’re going to work on this together, there has be some willingness to be transparent and open to peer review,” Mr. Harper said.

The Prime Minister noted that Canada has previously submitted to international reviews of its financial system and it has been helpful. Canada, he noted, has been praised by the International Monetary Fund as having the soundest financial system in the world right now.

“We have received comments [from past reviews]. Those comments and criticisms have been helpful in making reforms. And we think that’s a reasonable part of being part of a integrated global financial market.”

Mr. Harper said that Canada does not agree with the two extremes of debate heading into the G20 meetings.

He said some countries are isolationist on reforms and believe they “should strictly keep their own house in order and that’s really their own national business” while others “are seeking wide ranging global governance of financial markets” to come from the meetings.

“I believe the government of Canada’s position is in neither of these camps. We actually believe that neither of these positions is feasible and realistic,” he said.

“First of all I don’t think the major economies of the world will obviously consent to have external control over their regulatory systems. But at the same time I think we do need – to the extent we have global capital flows – we do need something where all of us can give each other a significant reassurance about the nature of our system.”

Mr. Harper said he hopes the G20 meeting doesn’t get bogged down in a debate about how to restructure international organizations amid calls from some developing countries – also referred to as emerging market economies – for permanent seats at the table.

He said Canada’s open to giving emerging market economies more of a voice but said it’s a long-term discussion.

“What I hope though is that … we don’t get too lost in them at the meeting,” he said.

“I think quite frankly if we went to this meeting and ended up discussing – our discussions being dominated – by international economic institutional architecture, that would be equivalent to me meeting with the premiers last week and discussing the constitution as a solution to the economic problems.”

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OTTAWA CONTEMPLATING JOINT CANADA-U.S. AUTO BAILOUT

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 15, 2008

November 14, 2008 at 8:10 PM EST

by Steven Chase and Karen Howlett and Greg Keenan

From Saturday’s Globe and Mail

WINNIPEG AND TORONTO — Federal Industry Minister Tony Clement said Friday he was investigating Workers install rearview mirrors onto the doors at the General Motors Canada assembly line in the Oshawa Truck Assembly Plant. The plant's 3,500 workers produce Chevrolet Silverados, GMC Sierras and GMC Sierra Denalis. (Norm Betts - For The Globe and Mail)the feasibility of a joint Canada-U.S. bailout of the auto industry.

“That’s the $64 question, or something slightly higher than $64,” he said during a Conservative Party policy convention in Winnipeg.

His comments came amid brewing fears that U.S. president-elect Barack Obama will force the Detroit Three auto makers to repatriate jobs by pulling production out of Canada and Mexico in return for American financial aid.

Mr. Clement said he was looking at setting up “direct information-gathering meetings in both Detroit and Washington, D.C., in the upcoming few days” to probe whether a joint bailout would work.

“One of the things I want to do in my information gathering is to see how viable that theory is because people talk about … the need to have an integrated solution,” Mr. Clement said. “From a theoretical point of view that makes sense, but how viable is it? When you drill down on that, what exactly does that mean?” he said.

The Harper government is coming under mounting pressure to provide financial support to the Canadian auto sector, because every other region that produces cars and trucks, including the United States, the European Union and Australia, is putting up billions of dollars to get the industry back on a sound footing.

Mr. Clement said there appears to be growing agreement on the conditions of assistance to the Detroit-based auto sector and its Canadian subsidiaries.

“There is certainly what I am observing is a consensus of views both in the government of Canada and in the Ontario government and also from what president-elect Obama has been stating … it has to be about long-term solutions, not short-term cash infusions,” he said.

The heads of the Canadian subsidiaries of the Detroit Three made their case for financing directly to Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty Friday during a one-hour meeting at the provincial legislature.

The executives did not attach a dollar figure to their request, Economic Development Minister Michael Bryant told reporters following the meeting. But he made it clear that the province’s taxpayers will not tolerate a bailout of the sector and that any financing will come with strings attached.

“Governments are not the bank of last resort,” Mr. Bryant said.

Reid Bigland, president of Chrysler Canada Inc., said that both the federal and Ontario governments need to step in because the auto industry is such a significant player in the Canadian economy.

“I think [the Premier] fully understands the predicament we’re in,” he said.

Mr. Bigland, the only executive who talked to reporters after the meeting, refused to say what kind of assistance his company, Ford Motor Company of Canada and General Motors of Canada Ltd. are seeking.

The presidents of Honda Canada Inc. and Toyota Canada Inc. were also at the meeting. Mr. Bryant stressed that those companies are not facing a liquidity crisis but wanted to ensure that any aid provided to the Detroit Three does not leave Honda and Toyota at a competitive disadvantage.

Mr. McGuinty said his government won’t provide auto companies with any assistance unless they guarantee that they will maintain operations and jobs in the province.

“We are running a $500-million deficit [and] revenues are shrinking,” he said Friday before the meeting. “If we are going to come to the table in a way that is meaningful to the sector…, they’re going to have to demonstrate to us that that somehow serves the greater public interest.”

Mr. Bryant said the fact that the fact that all the executives met with him and Mr. McGuinty attests to the urgency of the situation. But no decisions were made, other than to keep talking and monitor actions being taken by the U.S. government to bail out Detroit.

Asked about whether a speedy package is necessary, Mr. Clement said it looks like the U.S. is running into stumbling blocks in assembling its auto package –suggesting it may take longer for the American government to put forward aid.

He declined to say how soon the Harper government might cobble together aid for the auto industry.

“The worst thing to do is to make a quick decision that is the wrong decision.”

The industry minister declined to say whether Canada could afford to see the Big Three automakers go bankrupt.

“I think the last thing Canadians need from a government minister is to run around with our hair on fire.”

Mr. Clement said the auto sector will need to be drastically transformed as a result of deliberations currently underway.

“That means some things that are being done now won’t be done in the future and other things that we can only barely contemplate now are going to be the driver, so to speak, of new jobs, new opportunity in the auto sector of the future.”

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PAN AMERICAN SILVER CUTS 500 JOBS (Canada)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 14, 2008

November 13, 2008 at 9:21 AM EST

The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER — Pan American Silver Corp. is cutting 500 jobs, rolling back executive salaries by 10 per Silver and gold jewels and other itemscent and reducing exploration and capital spending to deal with weaker finances and a drop in prices of silver and zinc, its key metals.

The Vancouver company said Thursday the streamlining was required to cope with weaker metals prices, a 10 per cent drop in revenues and sharply lower profits in the latest quarter.

“These are challenging times for the global mining industry,” president and CEO Geoff Burns said in a release.

“We have responded by retooling our business plans to reduce costs and adjust to the new pricing environment. We have managed our business conservatively over the past couple of years and enter this difficult period in solid financial health, with no debt and with the skills and the experience to adapt and thrive without compromising our growth.

“There are many reasons to be optimistic about future silver and gold prices. Government bailouts and debts worldwide have reached epic proportions and will, in my opinion, eventually undermine the very value of the paper currencies and the economies those same governments were charged with protecting. This should benefit gold and silver prices and Pan American Silver.”

In its financial report, Pan American said its net earnings for the third quarter ended Sept. 30 fell to $6.4-million (U.S.) or eight cents a share, from $23.9-million, or 31 cents a share for the same 2007 period.

Sales fell 10 per cent to $79.5-million, said the company, which reports its finances in U.S. dollars.

Pan American has seven operating mines in Mexico, Peru and Bolivia. An eighth mine in Argentina is scheduled to start up this month.

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Posted in ARGENTINA, BOLIVIA, CANADA, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, GOLD, INTERNATIONAL, METALS, MEXICO, NORTH AMERICA, PERU, PRECIOUS METALS, SILVER, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, ZINC | Leave a Comment »

MANY AMERICAN MEAT EXPORTERS OBTAIN HALAL CERTIFICATE FRAUDULENTLY (Dubai)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 14, 2008

Published: November 13, 2008, 23:54

by Nadia Saleem, Staff Reporter

Dubai: Ninety-five per cent of American food items found in supermarket shelves in the UAE and some HALAL MEATother Gulf countries are not halal even though they may be certified as such, an industry specialist said at the Halal World Expo in Abu Dhabi.

Jalel Aossey, director of Midamar, a US-based international supplier of halal food and foodservice equipment, said that there is a significant flow of non-halal food items in the region from meat-supplying countries, and the Gulf countries need tougher regulations to stop that flow.

“On one side you have producers who genuinely don’t know what they have to comply with because of a lack of education from the industry. But you also have companies and exporters that are deliberately defrauding governments and consumers by not complying with regulations because they don’t want to pay the fees and the transition costs to make halal products,” Aossey said.

Corrupt certifiers

Nearly 1.8 billion Muslims around the world as well as some non-Muslims are fuelling the halal food industry, generating sales of $2.1 trillion annually, according to recent reports. The attractive halal food industry is drawing many dubious players.

“Corrupt certifiers get a taste for the money generated producing “paper halal certificates” for companies without actually performing any work,” Aossey said.

On regulatory measures, Aossey said, “People have to realise that it is not impossible, and that it’s not too costly to put the correct halal standards in place here. There’s a big misconception about how difficult this process is.”

Noor Al Deen Abdullah, executive director of Kasehdia, a communications and consultancy company in Malaysia, and publishers of The Halal Food Journal earlier told Gulf News, “The global halal industry is still in its infancy because huge awareness is required, especially in the Middle East.”

The major producing nations are Australia, New Zealand, Brazil and Canada, Abdullah said, from where halal and non-halal meat is supplied.

Aossey said that inspection teams can be sent to the various countries where food is being produced to allow it to be inspected, at that country’s cost. “This is nothing when you consider the huge dollar volume of food products exported to the UAE and other Gulf countries.”

In the UAE, 80 per cent of imported food is said to be halal, coming from countries such as Brazil and Australia.

Facts

What is halal meat?

Halal (or permissible) in Islam is the meat of animals that have been slaughtered reciting the name of Allah on them and all the blood has been drained from the carcass.

Additional criterion that make meat halal are that the animal should not be dead prior to slaughter, since carrion is forbidden and that the animal is from those that are allowed according to Islamic teachings.

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VERMILION’S PRODUCTION DOWN IN THIRD QUARTER, CRUDE OIL INVENTORY LEVELS UP VERMILION ENERGY TRUST

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 11, 2008

Monday, November 10, 2008

Vermilion Energy Trust has reported its interim operating and unaudited financial results for the three and nine month periods ended September 30, 2008.

THIRD QUARTER HIGHLIGHTS

Recorded production of 31,927 boe/d in the third quarter of 2008 as compared to 33,743 boe/d in the second quarter of 2008. Previously announced shut-in production in the Netherlands, combined with scheduled downtime in Australia were the primary drivers behind the production decline.

Production was relatively flat as compared to 32,172 boe/d recorded in the third quarter of 2007, and is expected to remain stable over the balance of the year. Vermilion had projected softer production levels in the second half of 2008 and has maintained its 2008 production guidance unchanged between 32,000 and 33,000 boe/d.

Generated fund flows from operations of $131.8 million ($1.73 per unit) in the third quarter of 2008 compared to $190.3 million ($2.50 per unit) in the second quarter of 2008. A significant draw on crude oil inventories in the second quarter of 2008 was the principal reason for the higher cash flow in the second quarter, as compared to the third quarter of 2008. As only two shipments of crude occurred in each of Australia and the Aquitaine Basin in France, Vermilion’s crude oil inventory levels increased to 390,000 barrels at the end of the third quarter compared to 114,000 barrels at the end of the second quarter.

Vermilion distributed $0.57 per unit in the quarter, equivalent to 30% of fund flows from operations, representing the lowest cash payout ratio in its peer group of oil and gas income trusts. Since converting to a trust in January 2003, Vermilion has distributed more than 100% of the initial unit price at the time of conversion and has never decreased its distribution payments.

Total payout comprising of net distributions, capital expenditures, reclamation fund contributions and asset retirement costs incurred was 68% of fund flows from operations in the third quarter of 2008 and 50% year to date in 2008.

Vermilion further reduced its net debt from the second quarter by approximately $63 million to $222 million, equivalent to approximately 0.4 times annualized third quarter 2008 fund flows from operations. Vermilion’s existing line of credit of $675 million is expected to be an important tactical advantage as Vermilion continues to pursue acquisitions.

Vermilion drilled 14 Drayton Valley and central Alberta wells in the third quarter of 2008, and continued its workover and recompletion programs in Canada and France. On October 22, 2008, Vermilion began drilling the first of two wells at its Wandoo Field in Australia. The plan is to drill both wells concurrently and Vermilion expects both wells will be drilled, completed and tied-in before year-end.

On September 8, 2008, Verenex Energy Inc., in which Vermilion holds approximately 18.8 million shares representing a 42.4% equity interest, announced that it has initiated a process to identify, examine and consider a range of strategic alternatives available to Verenex to maximize shareholder value.

Vermilion is well positioned to weather a prolonged global economic downturn and believes the distressed markets may provide the opportunity to acquire producing properties at attractive metrics. The Trust’s conservative business model and low payout ratio are expected to provide a significant cushion in a low commodity price environment, which should enable Vermilion to maintain its current distribution levels for the foreseeable future.

OUTLOOK

Vermilion expects fourth quarter production volumes will remain stable near 32,000 boe/d. Normal production declines in Canada, France and the Netherlands will be offset by slightly higher Australian volumes as no significant downtime is planned at Wandoo in the fourth quarter. Accordingly, Vermilion is maintaining production guidance between 32,000 and 33,000 boe/d for 2008. New production from the two wells that are currently drilling at Wandoo is expected to be tied-in near the end of 2008 and will not have a significant impact on fourth quarter 2008 volumes. Production from each of these wells is expected at approximately 1,000 boe/d.

Capital expenditures in the fourth quarter are projected at approximately $85 million, with roughly half of that amount aimed at the Wandoo drilling program. Vermilion expects year-end net debt to approach $260 million, representing less than six months trailing cash flow.

Vermilion anticipates a capital expenditure program of between $175 million and $250 million for 2009. The Trust believes one of its primary responsibilities is to maintain a stable stream of distributions for unitholders, and Vermilion does not anticipate any change in distributions in 2009. Management also believes that the Trust’s strong balance sheet provides a good opportunity to pursue acquisitions in a more favourable ‘buyer’s market’ for property transactions.

In 2009, Vermilion is projecting record activity levels in France and the Netherlands and a slight slowdown in western Canadian activity. Australian capital spending in 2009 will be limited to maintenance capital spending as the trust assesses the performance of the 2008 drilling activity.

Approximately one-third of Vermilion’s 2009 capital expenditure program is geared towards non-reserve-additive activities, including long term studies related to the waterflood and enhanced oil recovery programs, seismic and land expenditures and subsurface and facilities maintenance. This portion of the capital program is focused on the potentially significant expansion and long-term sustenance of Vermilion’s existing reservoirs.

Approximately 40% to 45% of Vermilion’s 2009 capital program will be focused in France, where Vermilion anticipates drilling six to ten wells in its most active program in France since 1998. Besides new wells in the Champotran/La Torche field, drilling plans include a water injection well at Les Mimosas to support oil production from that field. New drilling in the Parentis field is being temporarily deferred until commodity prices rebound. Vermilion will continue with a robust workover and recompletion program in the Chaunoy, Cazaux and Parentis fields.

Approximately 25% to 30% of the capital program is earmarked for Canada, where Vermilion will maintain its successful natural gas drilling, workover and recompletion program in Drayton Valley and a smaller coalbed methane and shallow gas program in Central Alberta.

In the Netherlands, subsidence concerns led Vermilion to shut in approximately 1,000 boe/d of production in July 2008. Vermilion has applied to re-instate 150 boe/d and is reviewing new reservoir data, but has not made any decision regarding the balance of this production. Approximately one quarter of the 2009 capital program is aimed at the Netherlands, where Vermilion hopes to drill four to five wells in 2009. None of the drilling will be in the area affected by subsidence concerns. Potential additional production volumes from this drilling program are excluded from Vermilion’s 2009 guidance figures, as drilling is not expected to begin until the third quarter of 2009 with tie-in expected at year-end.

Preliminary production estimates reflect average volumes in 2009 of between 31,500 and 33,000 boe/d.

Verenex Energy Inc., in which Vermilion holds approximately 18.8 million shares representing a 42.4% equity interest, announced that it has initiated a process to identify, examine and consider a range of strategic alternatives available to Verenex to maximize shareholder value. The company continues to achieve positive drilling results in Libya. On November 6, 2008 Verenex announced that its two most recent wells have also encountered hydrocarbons in the target zones. To date, Verenex has drilled sixteen wells, all of which encountered hydrocarbons. Eleven of these wells, which include nine new field exploration wells and two appraisal wells have been tested at combined rates of 98,000 boe/d of production. The company is developing a commerciality application that contemplates an initial production phase of up to 50,000 boe/d.

On November 3, 2008, Verenex reported that DeGolyer and McNaughton (“D&M”), an independent engineering firm, provided an updated assessment of oil and gas resources in Verenex’s discoveries and portfolio of exploration prospects in Area 47. In summary, the aggregate of D&M’s updated September 30, 2008 best estimate of gross contingent resources and risked mean estimate of gross prospective resources, on an oil equivalent basis, has increased by 36% to approximately 2.15 billion barrels.

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WHERE OIL AND WATER MIX – The state was built on oil and the Port Arthur refining hub on the gulf coast is happy to have Alberta’s ‘dirty ‘oil

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 2, 2008

Published: Saturday, November 01, 2008

Claudia Cattaneo, Financial Post

PORT ARTHUR, Tex. – By the middle of the next decade, this weathered city in America’s deep south Marine One, carrying President George W. Bush, flies past an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico near Cameron, La., during an aerial tour Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2005, of recent hurricane damage.abutting the Gulf of Mexico, will receive a flood of oil from Fort McMurray’s oil sands plants. About one million barrels a day of Alberta oil will flow into the world’s biggest refining market.

As far as long-time resident Floyd Batiste is concerned, it’s about time.

“I am not a politician, but I think this country and Canada have a very good relationship,” said Mr. Batiste, who runs the city’s economic development corporation.

TransCanada Corp. of Calgary and its partners have picked Port Arthur, about 150 kilometres east of Houston, to end the $12.2-billion Keystone pipeline that will feed local refineries and others perched along the U. S. Gulf Coast.

The surge of Alberta oil to the area could eventually swell to two million barrels a day, absorbing most of the volume growth expected from the deposits in the next decade.

With three long-established refineries, new liquefied natural gas plants under construction and so many pipeline connections its underground looks like a “spaghetti bowl,” any talk of Canada’s “dirty oil” hasn’t caught on in the disadvantaged community, where many of the 56,000 residents are older and unskilled.

The community, whose boarded-up downtown resembles a Caribbean outpost passed over by the tourism industry, desperately needs good-paying jobs and investment.

Mr. Batiste said oil industry spending could make a lot happen.

“I would say probably less than 30% of workers in these plants actually live in Port Arthur. [Local] people aren’t skilled enough,” he said. “There has been a tremendous effort by just about every political entity, industry to upgrade the skill-set of people. In my opinion, industry has taken the lead.”

After suffering deeply in the mid-1970s from a refinery downturn, then coasting for many years due to lack of investment, Port Arthur’s economy is picking up.

Investments worth US$15-billion are beginning to flow in, some related to refinery expansions to process oil from Canada.

San Antonio, Tex.-based Valero Energy Corp., French major Total SA, Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Saudi Aramco are all expanding their plants. Exxon Mobil Corp. is building a liquefied natural gas terminal.

“There are not many communities that will accept them, but we have always been a refinery town,” said Mr. Batiste. Indeed, some plants are located a mile away from people’s homes.

Like Fort McMurray, Port Arthur is an old oil town. The stuff is in its blood: the city’s slogan is “Port Arthur, where oil and water do mix. Beautifully.”

The Spindletop oil discovery in nearby Beaumont in 1901 ushered in the modern oil era in the United States, giving birth to oil companies like Gulf, Amoco and Humble Oil Co., now a part of Exxon.

Refineries were built to process the gusher. But as fields matured, imports were brought in to keep the refineries full.

Now, Port Arthur’s refineries are among 30 spread out over the Texas/Louisiana coast, in Houston’s Ship Channel, Lake Charles, Texas City and other points nearby. The region is the largest refinery centre in the world.

It keeps the nation on the move, processing seven million barrels a day (out of 17.4 million refined in the United States). When its plants are offline, as was the case last month during Hurricane Ike, many parts of the country grind to a halt.

For Canadian oil producers, the Gulf Coast is the Holy Grail: More refineries to process heavy oil than any other place on Earth.

Already, refiners import about 1.9 million barrels a day, largely from two sources: Venezuela (600,000 barrels a day) and Mexico (nearly one million barrels.)

Refiners started getting worried about future supplies from these sources three to four years ago, said Neil Earnest, a global refining expert and vice-president at Dallas-based Muse Stancil & Co.

Mexican crude production is in steep decline because its main oil field, Cantarell, is maturing. Meanwhile, Venezuela President Hugo Chavez is a wild card. He continues to issue threats to cut off oil supply to the United States while forging alliances with countries like Russia.

Indeed, some supply contracts from Venezuela are coming to an end in 2011, said Russ Girling, president of pipelines at TransCanada, the unit that is building Keystone.

“As they look around the world for alternative sources of heavy supplies, what immediately hits the radar screen is Western Canada,” Mr. Earnest said. “Country risk is about zero … and there are very real prospects that supplies from Western Canada will increase in the near term. That is the attraction.”

Canadian heavy oils are also similar to those produced in Mexico and Venezuela and can fill the gap at little additional cost to existing plants, he said.

Not everyone sees the oil sands as an ideal replacement. Green organizations such as Natural Resources Defense Council are up in arms over Keystone. In September, the group sued top U. S. state government officials, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, in a bid to try to stop it. The Washington-based lobby group argues the pipeline will encourage oil sands development, resulting in big increases to greenhouse gas emissions.

Mr. Earnest said greenhouse gas emissions in Canada are not high on the agenda in the Gulf Coast industry.

Bill Day, a spokesman for Valero, argued its Port Arthur plant already processes oil similar to Canada’s. “We will let the politicians deal with the politics of it. We are in the refining business, and as long as there is demand for fuel, companies like ours will meet that demand,” he said.

Valero, the largest refiner in North America, with throughput capacity of 3.1 million barrels a day, has committed to being a shipper on Keystone, signing large supply contracts with Canadian producers. It has an option to take equity ownership.

Its refinery is able to process 100,000 b/d of Canadian heavy oil currently, Mr. Day said. The company is investing US$2.2-billion to handle even more Canadian supply.

“There was this whole debate about whether it’s better to refine the oil in Canada where it exists, or is it better to bring the oil to where the refineries already are set up to process this kind of oil. We believe it’s most cost-effective to ship it down by pipeline, to where refineries are already in place,” Mr. Day added.

He was referring to the Alberta government’s preference that more upgrading be done in province to capture greater economic benefits from the development of the oil sands. However, that strategy is losing traction as weaker oil prices and high construction costs in the province make upgrading in Alberta uneconomic.

Already, EnCana Corp. has linked up with ConocoPhillips, Husky Energy Inc. with BP PLC. Petro-Canada and Suncor Energy Inc. indicated last week they would look for refineries in the United States rather than upgrade in the province.

LyondellBasell’s Houston refinery, built nearly a century ago and upgraded in 2003 to process heavy oil from Venezuela, is studying whether to source Canadian supplies. Partly owned by Venezuela’s state-owned Citgo Petroleum from 1993 to 2006, the Rotterdam-based company has since re-acquired full ownership. It is now the world’s third-largest chemical company and a producer of biofuels.

Spokesman David Harpole said the refinery still has a supply agreement with Venezuela, but believes “it’s in our interest to maintain flexibility” and find new heavy oil sources.

“If we can overcome the logistical side of things and secure a long-term pipeline agreement to transport the material and a long-term crude supply agreement, we would look at opportunities to significantly increase our use of Canadian crude,” he said.

With the world running out of energy options, the company is open to the oil sands, even if they generate more greenhouse gases than other sources, Mr. Harpole said.

“Look at offshore drilling, the challenges that come to that, the added depths that they are having to go to in the Gulf,” he said. “The easy-to-find, lower-cost oil has been found around the world. We are going to have to look at alternatives and the most economical and environmentally responsible way of producing the oil sands.”

With pipelines the missing link between Alberta’s deposits and Gulf Coast refiners, several proposals to build them have emerged in recent years.

Keystone, which TransCanada is developing with partner ConocoPhillips, emerged as the frontrunner in July when it announced it had secured shipper support to expand and extend all the way to Port Arthur. The first phase, targeting the U. S. Midwest, is now under construction.

Rival Enbridge Inc. announced in August a $2.2-billion plan with partner BP to reconfigure existing pipelines to move oil sands production to Houston.

TransCanada’s Mr. Girling said Keystone will eventually move 900,000 barrels a day of Canadian oil to the Gulf Coast in the next five to six years, in addition to 500,000 moving to Midwest refineries by 2010. TransCanada stands ready to build a lateral to Houston if needed.

Once built, the pipeline highway will make landlocked Alberta producers worry for the first time about hurricanes. Port Arthur was hit hard by Hurricane Ike, which flooded homes and streets, and caused refineries to suspend operations. As for Gulf refiners, they will get to know the challenges of extracting oil in Canada’s north, such as when an Arctic cold snap turns off the tap for a while.

ccattaneo@nationalpost.com

© National Post 2008

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