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11-010-XIB
Canadian Economic Observer
February 2007

Economic events in January

Canada

The BC government announced a 7.3% increase in health care spending in 2007-08 to $13.1 billion.

Quebec will spend $7.9 billion over the next four years to consolidate and refurbish its road network. Hydro-Quebec officially launched its $5 billion Eastmain-1A project.

TransCanada Corp. announced it would spend $700 million (US) more on an added link to its proposed $2.1 billion (US) Keystone pipeline. Enbridge will proceed with its $2 billion (US) Alberta Clipper pipeline to carry 450,000 barrels a day of crude oil from Hardisty to Wisconsin. Despite rising costs and the recent drop in oil prices, Shell Canada plans to expand its oilsands business fivefold to 770,000 barrels a day.

Ford and the Canadian Auto Workers union reached a retirement incentive deal offering workers up to $125,000 and a $30,000 voucher to buy a new Ford vehicle to leave the company and give up any future health care benefits. Ford also borrowed over $20 billion (US) to carry it through its ‘Way Forward’ restructuring program which includes the closing of 16 North American factories and over 40,000 job losses. GM announced plans to boost yearly capital spending by up to $1 billion (US). Auto parts supplier, Collins & Aikman, announced two Ontario plant closures at the end of March.

Severe winter weather created the worst container backlog at Vancouver port in its history, after about 10 days of lost production due to storms in the fall.

World

The Bank of England raised its key rate by a quarter-percentage point to a five and a half year high of 5.25%.

New American border security rules came into effect requiring Canadians flying to and from the US to have passports, as well as Americans returning from Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean.

A sudden freeze in California caused up to $1 billion (US) in damage to its citrus crop.

Mexico introduced price controls on corn after the price nearly doubled in the past year.



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