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General Electric Fined $59 Million by EC for ‘Incorrect’ Information in LM Wind Takeover

7:18 AM, Apr 8, 2019 — The European Commission(EC) has fined General Electric (GE) 52 million euros ($58.5 million) for providing what it described as “incorrect information” during its investigation of GE’s planned acquisition of blade manufacturer LM Wind.

The Commission said that the fine had no impact on its approval of the transaction under EU merger rules, as this was based on rectified information from General Electric provided after the Commission alleged that the erroneous information had been provided.

In January 2017, GE notified its proposed acquisition of LM Wind. In the notification, the EC said that GE had stated that it did not have any higher power output wind turbine for offshore applications in development, beyond its existing 6 megawatt turbine. However, through information collected from a third party, the Commission said that it had found that GE was simultaneously offering a 12 megawatt offshore wind turbine to potential customers.

As a result, GE withdrew its notification of the acquisition of LM Wind on February 2 2017 and on February 13 2017 GE re-notified the same transaction, this time including complete information on its future project, according to the EC. On March 20 2017, the Commission approved the proposed acquisition.

“Our merger assessment and decision-making can only be as good as the information that we obtain to support it. Accurate information is essential for the Commission to take competition decisions in full knowledge of the facts,” Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said. “The fine imposed today on General Electric is proof that the Commission takes breaches of the obligation for companies to provide us with correct information very seriously.”

Price: 9.47 Price Change: -0.54 Percent Change: -5.39

 

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Walgreens Boots Alliance Lowers Full Year Guidance After Disappointing Second Quarter

7:59 AM, Apr 2, 2019 — Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) lowered its full year guidance early on Tuesday as it posted a drop in its second quarter adjusted earnings per share which were impacted by reimbursement pressure and consumer challenges in the US and UK.

The pharmaceutical operator posted fiscal second quarter adjusted earnings of $1.64 per share in the quarter ended February 28, down from $1.73 in the same period a year ago, falling short of the consensus estimate of analysts polled by Capital IQ for $1.72.

Total revenue came in at $34.53 billion, up from $33.02 billion in the same period a year ago but nevertheless below the Street’s projection of $34.57 billion.

It said that the quarter had been its most difficult to date since the formation of Walgreen’s Boots Alliance, highlighting that there had been significant reimbursement pressure, compounded by lower generic deflation, as well as continued consumer market challenges in the US and UK.

“We are going to be more aggressive in our response to these rapidly shifting trends,” Stefano Pessina, chief executive of Walgreen’s Boots Alliance, said. “We are focusing on our operational strengths and addressing weaknesses, making a number of senior appointments to bring change and accelerating the digitalization and transformation of our business”.

Pessina added that this would include expediting the execution of the company’s partnership initiatives and increasing the annual savings goal of its cost management program from in excess of $1 billion to more than $1.5 billion.

Full year adjusted earnings per share growth is expected to be roughly flat at constant currency rates, compared with previous guidance of 7% to 12% growth.

Price: 58.80 Price Change: -4.69 Percent Change: -7.39

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Weekly Commodities ETF Report: Crude Ends Week Higher as Pressure on Supplies Continues; Grains Lower as Traders Digest USDA Reports

(MT Newswires) – Crude oil ended Friday’s session higher, as supply issues continued to help boost prices. US sanctions against Iran and Venezuela have put pressure on global supplies, amid signs that Russia is chafing against the pact it made with the Organization for the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to cut global output by around 1.2 million barrels per day. Saudi Arabia, one of the leading member countries of OPEC, is said to be in the process of convincing Russia to remain with the pact. OPEC cancelled a meeting planned for April, which means that the organization’s supply cuts will last through at least June when the next meeting is scheduled. Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump has once again taken to Twitter to demand an increase in production from OPEC to keep prices lower. Back home, the Energy Information Administration reported that US stockpiles grew by 2.8 million barrels to 442.3 million barrels during the seven days ended March 22. The Street had been expecting a decrease of 1.0 million barrels. Late Tuesday, the American Petroleum Institute said that crude inventories climbed by 1.9 million barrels last week, according to reports. Finally, energy services firm Baker Hughes (BHGE) reported Friday that the number of oil rigs operating in the US fell by eight to 816 in the week, edging closer to the lowest level since last April.

Light, sweet crude oil for May delivery rose 2.00% for the week, settling at $60.14 per barrel at the end of Friday’s session. In other energy futures, gasoline was down 0.27% for the week, settling at $1.88 per gallon on Friday. Natural gas fell 3.61% this week at $2.66 per 1 million British thermal unit.

The SummerHaven Dynamic Commodity Index Total Return Index (SDCITR) was 0.55% lower this week, compared with an increase of 0.20% in the previous week.

Gold wrapped up the Friday session with gains but failed to cement its grip on the $1,300 mark, instead settling at $1,298.50; for the week, the yellow metal fell 1.73%. Gold has recently benefitted from its safe-haven status amid worries over a slowdown in global economic growth. Lower bond yields have also pushed gold higher, but pressure on the bond markets has eased somewhat following positive developments in the US-China trade talks. The US 10-year bond yields rose to 2.42% intraday, rebounding from their lowest level in 16 months on Wednesday, after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin wrote in a Twitter message: “US Trade Representative and I concluded constructive trade talks in Beijing. I look forward to welcoming China’s Vice Premier Liu He to continue these important discussions in Washington next week.” Trade optimism also helped the equity market tide over downbeat data from the US Commerce Department, as the increase in US consumer spending in January missed expectations a day after it emerged that the pace of economic growth slowed in the fourth quarter. Data released on Friday also show incomes rose modestly in February, while savings dropped to $1.19 trillion last month from $1.22 trillion in January. Also benefitting from the upbeat trade news are industrial metals such as copper, which closed Friday’s session at $2.94 per pound, rising 2.91% for the week.

In agriculture commodities, grains ended the week lower following the release of the US Department of Agriculture’s report on Grain Stocks, as well as its report on Prospective Plantings: corn fell 5.81% in the week and settled at $3.57 per bushel in Friday’s session; wheat slipped 1.24% and settled at $4.58 per bushel at the end of Friday’s session; and soybeans were down 2.24% for the week, and closed Friday in the red at $8.84 per bushel.

According to the USDA Grain Stocks report for March 2019, corn stocks were down 3%; soybean stocks were up 29%, and all wheat stocks were up 6%. Meanwhile, the Prospective Plantings report showed that corn planted acreage for 2018 was down 2% year over year; soybean acreage was down 1%; and all wheat acreage was up 3%.

Other commodities were mixed: sugar had a weekly decline of 0.48% and settled at a price of $1.25 per pound on Friday; coffee was around $0.95 per pound at Friday’s close, up 0.53% for the week; and cocoa was up 5.88% for the week and closed Friday’s session at $2,280 per tonne.

The SummerHaven Dynamic Agriculture Index Total Return Index (SDAITR) was down 1.83% for the week, compared with the prior week’s increase of 0.94%.

 

Copyright © 2019 MT Newswires, www.mtnewswires.com.

 

Information Contact: Justin Hillstrom – 720.917.0770 Email: Justin.hillstrom@alpsinc.com, Website is www.uscfinvestments.com

Investing involves risks, including loss of principal.

Commodity ETP Disclosures:  Download a copy of a Fund’s Prospectus by clicking one of the following:
USCIUSAGUSOUSLUSOUDNOUSODBNOUNGUNL, UGAUHN, or CPER

Please read any Prospectus carefully before investing.

These Funds are not mutual funds or any other type of Investment Company within the meaning of the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended, and are not subject to regulation thereunder.

Commodity trading is highly speculative and involves a high degree of risk. Commodities and futures generally are volatile and are not suitable for all investors. Investing in commodity interests subject each Fund to the risks of its related industry. An investor may lose all or substantially all of an investment. These risks could result in large fluctuations in the price of a particular Fund’s respective shares. Funds that focus on a single sector generally experience greater volatility. Leveraged and inverse exchange-traded products pursue daily leveraged investment objectives which means they are riskier than alternatives which do not use leverage. They are not suitable for all investors and should be utilized only by investors who understand leverage risk and who actively manage their investments. For further discussion of these and additional risks associated with an investment in the Funds please read the respective Fund Prospectus before investing.

Please read the Prospectus carefully before investing.

Performance is historical and does not guarantee future results; current performance may be lower or higher. Investment returns/principal value will fluctuate so that an investor’s shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost. Most recent performance is available at www.uscfinvestments.com.

Past performance does not guarantee future results.

This information is intended for U.S. residents.

Funds distributed by ALPS Distributors, Inc. 

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Rio Tinto Sees Cyclone Veronica Denting Western Australia Iron-Ore Production by 14 Million Tonnes

8:35 AM, Apr 1, 2019 — Rio Tinto (RIO) said the impact of a cyclone in western Australia and a fire in January at an iron ore terminal will result in the loss of about 14 million tonnes of production this year.

The London-based mining giant said in a statement on Monday that operations in the Pilbara region of Australia are “progressively resuming” after Tropical Cyclone Veronica passed through the area last week and brought heavy rainfall.

“Initial inspections uncovered some damage to the Cape Lambert A port facility,” the company said. “As a result, Rio Tinto has declared force majeure on certain contracts and is working with its customers to minimize any disruption in supply.”

Cape Lambert A is an iron ore terminal that Rio Tinto said is capable of loading more than 85 million tonnes per year. The impact of the cyclone and repairing damage to the port’s facilities comes after the site suffered damage from a fire in January, the company said.

According to Rio Tinto’s website, the Cape Lambert A and B port has a total capacity of about 205 million tonnes annually and is a joint venture between Rio Tinto, with 53% ownership, Mitsui at 33% and Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. with a 14% stake.

Rio Tinto said that shipments from the Pilbara in 2019 are expected to be at the lower end of the 338 million to 350 million tonnes guidance provided as a result of the loss of the 14 million tonnes of output this year.

The Cape Lambert A shipments mainly include Hamersley Iron Yandicoogina, or HIY, and Robe River products. Rio Tinto said that in 2018, it shipped 57.4 million tonnes of HIY and 32 million tonnes of Robe River products.

Companies: Rio Tinto Plc
Price: 60.72 Price Change: +1.87 Percent Change: +3.18

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Scotiabank Sees Oil Prices Stuck to Upper End of $50 to $60 Range as Output Set to Hold Steady

2:09 PM, Mar 29, 2019 — Trends in oil supplies are expected to keep prices for West Texas Intermediate “tethered to the upper end” of a $50 to $60 a barrel shale band, according to Scotiabank Economics.

The most recent production cuts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries plus non-OPEC nations have been in place for three months, Rory Johnston, a commodity economist with the bank, said in a note. That’s been supporting WTI price gains of about $5 a barrel in the month to about $60, prompting President Trump to remind producers that supply should be kept loose, he said.

“While the president’s tweet knocked WTI back by a dollar or two intraday, we expect that OPEC+ will stay the course and crude prices will average around current levels through the remainder of the year,” Johnston said. WTI was trading at $60.12 a barrel Friday.

OPEC cancelled a meeting planned for April, “effectively extending the organization’s supply cuts through at least June when the next meeting is scheduled,” he said. “We expect OPEC+ to maintain production discipline and supply risks across the producer group appear tilted to the bullish side, though the market seems unwilling to let prices drift far above $60” a barrel.

Western Canadian Select has performed better than the major global benchmarks, holding a discount to WTI through March of just more than $10 a barrel. That’s a level lower than Scotiabank believes is needed to incentivize growth in oil-by-rail capacity.

Johnston said Asian liquefied natural gas prices prices tumbled in March amid weather in China, Japan and South Korea that was warmer than usual for winter. The market for iron ore has rallied as production uncertainty followed the fatal Vale (VALE) tailings dam collapse in Brazil in January disruptions from a cyclone that impacted ports in western Australia.

Scotiabank lifted its iron-ore price forecast to $76 a tonne in 2019 and $71 in 2020, the economist said.

“Currently-high prices are expected to bring previously idled Chinese mine supply back to the market, while seaborne demand for ore is also forecast to rise over the coming months as Chinese building activity revs out of its annual Lunar New Year lull and environmental winter production curtailments end in April,” Johnston said.

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Weekly Commodities ETF Report: Crude Ends Week Higher as Global Growth Fears Undermine Demand for Oil Amid Supply Concerns; Gold Higher on Weak Economic Data From US, Eurozone

(MT Newswires) – Crude prices ended Friday’s session lower on concerns that the global economy is slowing, undermining the case for growth in demand for oil, but over the last five days prices rose, as supply fundamentals improved recently from concerted producer action as well as involuntary output cuts in Iran and Venezuela. The collapse of the Iran nuclear accord last year and placing of US sanctions on Tehran in November had mostly prevented a bulk of the country’s oil from reaching international markets. Meanwhile, Venezuela’s largest crude exporter had also been slapped with US sanctions amid the political crisis in the country, further reducing global crude supplies. Back home, the Energy Information Administration reported that US stockpiles slumped by a surprise 9.6 million barrels over the past week, underpinning the recent strength in prices from producer action. This also compares with the American Petroleum Institute’s report that US crude inventories had a draw of 2.133 million barrels. Finally, energy services firm Baker Hughes (BHGE) reported Friday that the number of oil rigs operating in the US dropped to the lowest level in 11 months. The tally, an indicator of future production levels, sank by 11, the fifth-straight weekly decrease, to 824 through Friday. The US gas-rig count slipped by one to 192, bringing the country’s total decline in the week to 1,016 rigs from 1,026 a week earlier.

Light, sweet crude oil for May delivery rose 0.17% for the week, settling at $59.04 per barrel at the end of Friday’s session. In other energy futures, gasoline was up 2.48% during the week, settling at $1.89 per gallon on Friday. Natural gas for May delivery fell 0.86% this week at $2.77 per 1 million British thermal unit.

The SummerHaven Dynamic Commodity Index Total Return Index (SDCITR) was 0.20% higher this week, compared with an increase of 0.74% in the previous week.

Gold wrapped up the Friday session with slight gains, settling at $1,312.30; for the week, it rose 0.84%, after the spread between three-month US treasury bills and 10-year note yields inverted for the first time since 2007, a year before the global financial crisis began with the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008. The inversion in the yield curve coincided with twin reports from IHS Markit that showed a decline in the purchasing managers’ index for US manufacturing to the lowest level since June 2017. The same gauge for the Eurozone slipped, declining more than the market expected, exacerbating fears of a fall in demand for a slowdown in the growth of the global economy. These downbeat economic reports came just a day after the US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell dialed back expectations of interest rate hikes, signaling no increases at all in 2019 and referencing to the disconnect between wage growth and inflation, which is currently at a considerable distance from the Fed’s 2% target.

On the other hand, copper closed Friday’s session at $2.84 per pound and sank 2.08% for the week, tracking the base metals sector lower on the renewed strength of the US dollar. The greenback benefitted from weakness in the pound sterling as the UK struggled with its exit from the European Union. Legislators have not approved Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal so far, but EU leaders have offered to delay the Brexit withdrawal date until May 22 if the deal could be approved. A delay until April 12 has also been proposed if there is another failure to pass. Meanwhile, an online petition calling for the country to remain in the EU has reached some 3.5 million signatures.

In agriculture commodities, grains ended the week mostly higher: corn rose 1.54% in the week and settled at $3.78 per bushel in Friday’s session; wheat rose 1.03% and settled at $4.66 per bushel at the end of Friday’s session; and soybeans was down 0.55% for the week, and closed Friday in the red at $9.04 per bushel. Corn ended Friday’s session near one-month highs as flash flooding in a major North American producing region exacerbated fears that crop planting would be further delayed.

Other commodities were mixed: sugar had a weekly decline of 0.56% and settled at a price of $1.26 per pound on Friday; coffee was around $0.94 per pound at Friday’s close, down 3.89% for the week; and cocoa was down 1.73% for the week and closed Friday’s session at $2,159 per tonne.

The SummerHaven Dynamic Agriculture Index Total Return Index (SDAITR) was up 0.94% for the week, compared with the prior week’s decline of 2.19%.

 

Copyright © 2019 MT Newswires, www.mtnewswires.com.

 

Information Contact: Justin Hillstrom – 720.917.0770 Email: Justin.hillstrom@alpsinc.com, Website is www.uscfinvestments.com

Investing involves risks, including loss of principal.

Commodity ETP Disclosures:  Download a copy of a Fund’s Prospectus by clicking one of the following:
USCIUSAGUSOUSLUSOUDNOUSODBNOUNGUNL, UGAUHNor CPER

Please read any Prospectus carefully before investing.

These Funds are not mutual funds or any other type of Investment Company within the meaning of the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended, and are not subject to regulation thereunder.

Commodity trading is highly speculative and involves a high degree of risk. Commodities and futures generally are volatile and are not suitable for all investors. Investing in commodity interests subject each Fund to the risks of its related industry. An investor may lose all or substantially all of an investment. These risks could result in large fluctuations in the price of a particular Fund’s respective shares. Funds that focus on a single sector generally experience greater volatility. Leveraged and inverse exchange-traded products pursue daily leveraged investment objectives which means they are riskier than alternatives which do not use leverage. They are not suitable for all investors and should be utilized only by investors who understand leverage risk and who actively manage their investments. For further discussion of these and additional risks associated with an investment in the Funds please read the respective Fund Prospectus before investing.

Please read the Prospectus carefully before investing.

Performance is historical and does not guarantee future results; current performance may be lower or higher. Investment returns/principal value will fluctuate so that an investor’s shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost. Most recent performance is available at www.uscfinvestments.com.

Past performance does not guarantee future results.

This information is intended for U.S. residents.

Funds distributed by ALPS Distributors, Inc. 

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2019 CANADIAN BUDGET PREVIEW: Pessimistic Alberta Looking For Oil Export Relief

The commodity rich Canadian province of Alberta, whose oil sands are the world’s third-largest crude reserve, will be looking for some relief from low domestic oil prices in Tuesday’s Federal Budget, seeking dollars for its crude-by-rail plans and maybe even some relief for citizens whose pocketbooks are being stressed by the downturn in the oil industry.

The province of 4.3 million, which had become used to heady economic times prior to the oil price crash that started around 2014-15, has seen big drops in a host of key economic indicators, not least since domestic oil prices plunged again near the end of last year, to as much as $50 below the U.S. benchmark. According to the most recent data, motor vehicle sales were down 13.1% in from January, 2018, housing starts were down 18.3%, exports fell 4.5% and building permits fell 7%.

The long list of bad economic news stalled the province’s backbone industry, and with pipelines full, the province was forced to mandate a 325,000 barrel per day production cut in January.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley in December announced her government would spend $3.7 billion to acquire 4,400 rail tanker cars in order to raise export volumes of crude oil to U.S. markets and boost oil prices, since royalties from oil producers are the largest financial contributor to the province. Notley said she would welcome a federal move to pick up part of the tab and Ottawa has yet to rule out taking a stake in the plan.

Indeed, federal natural resources minister Amarjeet Sohi told the Calgary Herald last week that his government may consider making a contribution from an existing $700 million infrastructure fund.  “We can potentially fund some projects that will make the (rail) network more efficient and also help with the movement of other commodities,” he told the paper.

But other measures could also provide some help. Calgary, which had boomed as the financial center of the country’s oil industry, posted a 7.6% unemployment rate in February, the highest of 33 metropolitan areas monitored by Statistics Canada. Also, the price of single-family homes in the city have dropped 13% over the past year, leading opposition politicians in the province to call on the federal government to ease recently introduced mortgage restrictions in order to boost the real estate market. While its unsure if the federal Liberals are entertaining such a move, such steps would offer a bit of economic cheer to a pessimistic province.

Indeed, a poll released on Monday by Angus Reid reported 46% of Albertans said they felt their standard of living has fallen over the past 12 months. Though budget tidbits could help, few are expecting the economic picture to improve until oil prices recover.

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2019 CANADIAN BUDGET PREVIEW: Are Tax Changes in Store This Year?

The federal government has campaigned on promises to lower taxes for the middle class and raise taxes for the country’s highest income earners. But no action has been taken since 2016, when the government cut the tax rate on the middle-income bracket to 20.5% from 22%, said CIBC tax expert Jamie Golombek in a Financial Post commentary. At the same time, Ottawa introduced a 33% high-income bracket for those earning above $210,371. Golombek notes that adding in provincial/territorial rates puts Canada’s combined tax rates between 20% and 54%, depending on your income and location.

During the consultation process, Golombek notes that the Business Council of Canada supported increasing the federal personal income tax brackets to “more closely align them with the U.S. tax brackets.” The top federal U.S. tax rate is 37% and is reached when income tops US$510,300. The Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association advocated lowering the personal tax rate to “encourage the attraction and retention of a highly skilled labour force.” Accounting firm MNP LLP recommended the personal income tax bracket thresholds should be expanded “based on a higher multiple of the bottom bracket’s threshold” and that the combined federal/provincial marginal tax rate of Canadians should not exceed 50%,

The C.D. Howe’s annual shadow budget recommended doubling the threshold at which the top federal tax rate applies as “longer term, heavy taxes on high earners depress entrepreneurial activity and private investment. Excessively taxing the talent that fuels a more innovative, creative and successful economy is counterproductive.”

Of course, there’s no guarantee that Finance Minister Bill Morneau will take any action on taxes. But in an election year, anything is possible.

MT Newswires will be in the federal budget lock-up on March 19 and will release stories as soon as the budget embargo is lifted (approximately 4pm ET).

2019 CANADIAN BUDGET PREVIEW: Relief for First Time Home Buyers Expected

In what is expected to be a budget focused on spending, the federal government might take some action to assist first-time homebuyers, many of whom have been shut out of the real estate sector, due to higher costs and changing regulations.

The Toronto Real Estate Board has added its voice to calls for Ottawa to modify its new mortgage qualification rules in the wake of weaker home price sales.

The federal government’s stress test requires banks to ensure that borrowers can afford their mortgages even if interest rates are two percentage points higher than the level they negotiated.

“The stress test should be reviewed, and consideration should be given to bringing back 30-year amortizations for federally insured mortgages,” said TREB president Garry Bhaura in a statement.

The federal government is also facing calls to give first-time home buyers the option to repay their mortgages over 30 years instead of 25 years to lower their monthly payments and make it easier to get into the market.

But not everyone favours changes to the rules around home purchases. In a report, RBC said it isn’t even obvious that there is a problem with ownership rates themselves. “Most of the proposed solutions would actually make home ownership more challenging by inflating prices, unless they were accompanied by measures to improve supply,” RBC said in a report. “To the extent that the government follows this path, we also worry it would lead to a rise in the number of highly indebted, higher-risk households in Canada.”

MT Newswires will be in the federal budget lock-up on March 19 and will release stories as soon as the budget embargo is lifted (approximately 4pm ET).

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2019 CANADIAN BUDGET PREVIEW: Seniors Looking for Pension Protection

There’s optimism among seniors that the federal government’s budget – due March 19 – will include measures aimed at protecting private-sector pensions in the event of a bankruptcy.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau has said his budget will include measures to protect seniors but provided no specifics.

Seniors advocates, including the Canadian Federation of Pensioners (CARP), the National Pensioners Federation and the Canadian Labour Congress, recently sent a joint letter to Prime Minister Trudeau calling for pension protections.

CARP noted that more than 16,000 Sears Canada pensioners face combined pension losses of $250 million since Sears became insolvent in June 2017.

The House of Commons finance committee supported several of CARP’s recommendations in a pre-budget report, including pension protection as well as loosening the mandatory withdrawal rules for Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) and an increase in benefits for low-income seniors who qualify for the Guaranteed Income Supplement, the Globe & Mail reported.

The potential pension changes would likely be focused on pensioners with defined-benefit (DB) plans, which are traditional pensions that provide a regular payment to retirees for life.

Ottawa launched consultations last year on several potential options that would encourage private-sector companies to ensure their pensions are well-funded.

MT Newswires will be in the federal budget lock-up on March 19 and will release stories as soon as the budget embargo is lifted (approximately 4pm ET).