Currently viewing the category: "BORDER CROSSING"

Not a lot to write about the border crossing data for May except HOORAY. This is the first time in quite some time that the numbers of people crossing the border, especially at the larger ports, show a positive increase. It is not much, but it is an increase. This is especially good news when you compare the exchange rate of the Canadian and U.S. dollar. In this past month the Canadian dollar has strengthened, but only by a fraction of a cent. You would have to look awfully hard to find any Canadian who decided to cross the border in May because it wasn’t going to cost as much as in May.

Finally, I would point out the passengers and even the number of both commercial and private aircraft in comparison to last year. Some of this may be individuals coming to the United States from Canada, but I think most of this is an indication of both the oil boom and also the UAS business in Grand Forks. While not large, it is a lot more than a decade ago, even more than five years ago.

In sum, these are good statistics for the economy of North Dakota. We can hope that is the beginning of a trend that will make up some of the retail weakness in the retail economy. North Dakota needs to say-Welcome Canadians-and we need to mean it.

 

Well, all I can say here is that this months border crossing data is confusing, at least to me. As it has been for some time the Canadian dollar has continued to lose its value relative to the the U.S. dollar. In fact by quite a bit over the past year (see last item on the chart). That is considered a significant drop compared to a year ago.

Now we know that the oil boom continues in North Dakota, and that includes the relationship(s) between the North Dakota oil and the Canadian sands oil, so that is part of the increase in traffic.

So too is the improving economy between Canada and the U.S. so that accounts for some of the increase, especially in Fargo and Grand Forks.

However, the increase in the number of people crossing at the border stations, especially Pembina and the smaller crossing in North Dakota and Minnesota is hard to understand. Generally those are private citizens coming for the Canadian “holiday” weekends and for shopping excursions, especially to Grand Forks and Fargo, and to a smaller amount in Minot, Bismarck, and Williston.

Now, with nearly a 10 percent drop in the drop in value of the Canadian dollar relative to the U.S. there was over a 13 percent increase in border traffic. That is a lot in any case, but it is confusing under these circumstances. We will just have to see if this is a one time aberration, or the leading edge of real improvement, which we hope for.

 

Just the other day we received the February Border Crossings. Today we have the data for March. That is the way it happens this time of year and we find a great deal of relevant information in these reports.

For instance, as we said the other day, there are getting to be fewer Canadians coming to North Dakota. While these reports don’t tell us this, we can be sure that in most cases this means fewer people are coming to Grand Forks, and Fargo too. This is something of importance to both of these towns. A great deal of the retail spending in both towns is dependent on Canadian shopping. This is the time when the Chambers prove their worth, or their lack of it. So too the Convention and Visitors Bureaus. Anyone can do it right in the good times. Today is when you can see real leadership, or not.

This proves again that relationship between the U.S. and Canadian dollars. Whenever the Canadians can lay down a dollar and receive more than a dollar of American money in exchange it is a good time for Grand Forks and Fargo. The opposite is just as true.

 

There are fewer Canadians coming across the border. This is in all probability because their dollar has becoming cheaper in relation to the U.S. dollar. That is, simply, the same thing costs them more than it used to, and that makes sense.

On the other hand, based on the Grand Forks motel tax, it appears that the Canadians still enjoy their holidays and like coming to North Dakota, particularly Grand Forks for entertainment. The biggest draw is probably the UND hockey games, but good nightclubs and places to eat, as well as motels with amenities are also important.

Truck traffic, and that means both agricultural products and manufactured goods are up. We are one another’s best trading partners. That is continuing and long as it works both ways it is good for both countries.

 

Again I have two seperate postings for you. Thanks again to our friends keeping us safe at our borders, here again is the most recent border crossing data for what they classify as the Pembina Port which covers a lot of geographical area. Must be nearly one half of the famous 49th Parallel. It covers both December 2013 and January 2014.

Just below this report is the Agricultural Prices for North Dakota. That report is a monthly report provided by the U.S.D.A.

Hope you find both useful. To begin, here is the border data: =
First January 2014:

And now December 2013:

There is a lot of data here. So much that I think if I start providing an analysis I could easily get you lost in all I have to say. So, I want you to just look this over and as you are remember that a lot of what you are seeing is across the border business because of the relationship between the United States and Canada in two important resources. That is agriculture and minerals, especially oil. So, guess how you spell North Dakota-wheat and oil.

I wanted to get all this out to you right away. If after a few days I think I am seeing something I will add to the commentary and let you know, especially if you have signed up for the notification. Remember, you can do that just off to the left side. Always open to suggestions and ideas. Lets try that.