Persistent commodity price declines have slowed some states' economic
growth rates. Based on current price and production cut forecasts, Fitch
Ratings expects these negative budget pressures will continue into 2016.
Low oil and gas prices, mining declines, and subsequent declines in
taxes generated from those business activities are likely to challenge
states including Alaska, North Dakota, and Wyoming. States with more
diverse economies and revenue resources should be able to weather
prolonged commodity price declines more effectively.
At one third of the way through many states' fiscal years, oil and
natural gas prices are well below many state budget estimates. A rally
in prices in oil late August has eased as crudes stocks have risen.
Natural gas prices are also below many state forecasts. This week the
Nymex contract for November delivery fell to $1.997 per mBtu. This was
only the fourth time contracts have gone below $2 per mBtu since 1999.
The declines in the prices are likely to be accompanied by production
cutbacks that will also push down revenues. The current U.S. Energy
Information Administration (EIA) forecast sees the crude oil production
declines continuing through August 2016.
These declines may put pressure on other revenue types. Sales and
personal income taxes are the most likely to take a hit. For example,
the Texas comptroller recently noted that state sales tax revenue in
August 2015 was down just 0.4% year on year due to reduced receipts from
the oil and gas-related sectors.
Many states have long track records of offsetting commodity-based
declines with other budget facilities. Many maintain reserves to offset
losses of operating revenue. Some benefit from significant economic
diversity and losses in oil revenue will likely be offset by boosts in
consumer-driven tax revenue as in California, Colorado, and Texas.
However, some of these offsets would lose their power if an extended
slump in commodity markets continues into fiscal 2017. In that case, we
would expect energy states to identify fiscally prudent strategies to
address persistently low revenue scenarios.
Additional information is available on www.fitchratings.com.
The above article originally appeared as a post on the Fitch Wire credit
market commentary page. The original article, which may include
hyperlinks to companies and current ratings, can be accessed at www.fitchratings.com.
All opinions expressed are those of Fitch Ratings.
Sustained Low Natural Resource Prices Will Slash State Revenue Forecasts
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View source version on businesswire.com: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20151028006566/en/
Copyright Business Wire 2015
Source: Business Wire
(October 28, 2015 - 3:11 PM EDT)
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