Five things you should know before you start your work day on Jan. 15

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains spoke with GM's CEO Mary Barra at the Detroit Auto Show about the Oshawa plant closure.Adrian Wyld / Canadian Press file photo

Good morning, all! The world has more oil than it might ever need, if Saudi Arabia’s estimates are true (they’ve never been audited). On another resource front, there’s a giant mining merger, but one quite different from its rival’s. Canadian resale home prices fell, this time led by Edmonton. And we have two industry stories from the Detroit Auto Show.


Saudi Arabia has finally revealed oil reserves that have been shrouded in secrecy for decades. The country has been producing oil since 1938, during which time its national oil company, Aramco, has rarely opened its books or doors to outsiders. But there’s one potential reason for it to have finally come public with the reserves — which are so big it could be more oil than the world may ever need.


Newmont Mining is buying Goldcorp to create one of world’s biggest gold producers. Interestingly, given Newmont has the higher dividend, safer locations than Barrick and will invest in Canada, its stock fell on news of the purchase, whereas Barrick’s rose on the Randgold merger. Gabe Friedman unearths why this new blockbuster deal is in sharp contrast to the Barrick-Randgold merger. And here’s how these two deals have further eroded Canada’s gold prowess.


Canadian resale home prices fell for the third month in a row — in seven of the 11 markets surveyed. Prices in Vancouver were down 1.2%, its fifth straight month without an index rise. Edmonton prices fell further than Vancouver’s on a percent basis. “The recent trend of home prices is clearly downward in most metropolitan markets,” Teranet said in its report.


Sorry Detroit, the next North American car recession has already started. Motor City has seen the collapse of demand for sedans, which made up half the market just six years ago. Lower demand means excess factory capacity — in effect, 10 extra plants and 20,000 workers — that can produce three million more vehicles than buyers want. Overcapacity is what spurred losses the last time a recession wracked the industry. But this time, Detroit may not hear back from Washington.


The FP’s Emily Jackson is at the Detroit Auto Show. Unifor president Jerry Dias is attending, as is Ontario Premier Doug Ford and the federal minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Navdeep Bains. After meeting with GM’s CEO, Bains underscored the federal government’s support: “I regret that GM’s position on Oshawa has not changed, but our government has been clear from the start: we stand ready to play an active role to find a solution …. GM is making a mistake by giving up on Oshawa’s workers, and we’re not about to do the same.”