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Changes in CATS prices over the past three months

The first three quarters of 2023 saw oscillations in the secondary market, averaging USD 28.65 per emission unit in Q1, USD 30.89 in Q2 and USD 35.30 at the end of September. The market saw successive price peaks over the summer, reaching USD 36.97 by mid-September 2023.

On September 30, 2023, the price of emission units on the secondary market was USD 32.13, or USD 14.10 (63%) above the USD 22.21 floor price for 2023. 

With no major event on the secondary market in early 2023, the main factors of influence were the initial presentation and consultation sessions held by the Québec and California governments on potential joint regulatory reviews, which began in the summer (June 2023). 

External factors (e.g. interest and inflation rates), although still present, have a reduced impact on the prices in the secondary market. 

August 2023 auction results

The third auction of 2023 was held on August 16, 2023. The final selling price of the current vintage emission units was set at USD 35.20 (CAD 47.46), while the price of the future vintage emission units was set at USD 34.16 (CAD 46.05). The ratio of accepted offers to the number of units sold at the time of the sale was 159% for the current vintage and 202% for the future vintage. These ratios indicate relatively strong market demand for emission units, particularly for the future vintage.

Assessment of CATS operating parameters: ongoing consultations

The Ministère de l’Environnement, de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques, de la Faune et des Parcs (MELCCFP) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) are assessing potential adjustments to the Regulation respecting a cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gas emission allowances (RSPEDE) that would affect the way in which the carbon market operates, as the carbon markets of these two jurisdictions are linked.

The objective is to ensure that the Cap and Trade System (CATS) remains an effective tool for achieving the 2030 target for greenhouse gas emissions reduction and ensuring carbon neutrality by 2050. A similar approach is also underway in California, Québec’s partner in the Western Climate Initiative’s (WCI) carbon market.

Among the topics discussed were common themes between the two governments—including emission caps in a 2050 carbon-neutral scenario and accumulated emission allowances in the market. Also discussed were issues specific to Québec, such as contract data disclosure, the duration of compliance and partial compliance periods, and offset credits.

Two presentation workshops have been hosted by the Government of Québec, in June and September 2023. The documents presented are available on the Government of Québec’s website (French).

November 2023 auction results

The next joint auction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emission units will be held on November 15, 2023. At this joint auction between the governments of Québec and California, 57,617,565 current and 7,577,000 future (2026) vintages will be available for sale.

The timing of the November 15, 2023, auction is detailed in the notice (French) issued by the Government of Québec last September.