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A roundup of what The Globe and Mail's market strategist Scott Barlow is reading today on the Web

The Parliamentary Budget Office report offered little in the way of good news for Canadian economic growth in the coming years. The PBO believes the best growth is behind us and a multi-year slowdown period is ahead,

"We project real GDP growth to slow from 3.1 per cent in 2017 to 1.9 per cent in 2018 and then to 1.8 per cent in 2019 before averaging 1.7 per cent annually over 2020 to 2022."

This is not entirely bad news for investors, as the upward pressure on interest rates and bond yields should abate.

"Budget office predicts higher deficit this year, but sees slow decline coming" – CTV News

"Canada's Mini Boom Ends With a Surprise GDP Contraction" – Bloomberg


The outlook remains bright for industrial metals prices and, in particular, for alumina, which is already sharply higher year to date,

"Alumina, the raw material used to make aluminum, has jumped 56 percent since August after China shut down some production, triggering a wave of buying by traders and aluminum smelters. The rally is putting a strain on metal producers in China, where alumina accounts for 40 percent of the cost of making aluminum. Cost pressures could worsen in the months to come as Chinese environmental reforms weigh most heavily on bauxite and alumina producers. That may give extra fuel for aluminum's 28 percent rally this year, the biggest since 2009."

"Why Biggest Metals Rally of the Year May Have Further to Run" – Bloomberg

"Goldman Turns to Hiring Spree for Commodities Trading Fix" – Bloomberg


Oil prices continue their steady move higher although Citi is concerned that some OPEC nations are likely to ignore production quotas in the months ahead,

"With both the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Russia intent right now to keep their production cuts in place through end-2018, the free rider problem among other OPEC countries also gets reinforced with any other country capable of producing more oil even more likely to produce it knowing that the two big producers have announced long in advance of 2018 what their end- 2018 intentions are…But before these price-induced supply additions hit the market, any prolonged price uplift could erode the commitment of either Russia or Saudi to maintain their production cuts."

"@SBarlow_ROB Citi: Heisenberg effect in global oil markets" – (research excerpt) Twitter

"Crude breaks above US$55 for first time since January" – BNN

"Canada oil, gas drilling to pick up in 2018: industry body" – Reuters

"Oil Majors Find Their Way Back to Normality as Earnings Surge" – Bloomberg

"The Fracking Boom's Midlife Crisis" – Businessweek


Tweet of the Day: "@johnauthers Why are the markets so strong? This might have something to do with it: (H/T Torsten Slok, @DeutscheBank) " – Twitter

Diversion: "This Pilot Had the Most Spectacular View Flying Into New Zealand" – Sploid