China may be inheriting all of the blame for the global market meltdown, but it is just one piece of the puzzle that investors and policymakers alike are trying to figure out in terms of the broader direction of the global economy. Last year, it was Greece's financial woes to blame; now it is China.
For those not counting, there have been eight B.C. trade missions to China alone in the last 18 months. Forests minister Steve Thomson is set to leave on a ninth mission this Friday. Trade missions aren't cheap, they set the B.C. government back $767,000 in 2014 and that doesn't include the bill for local governments, universities and other agencies.
The bottom line with the Trans-Pacific Partnership for Canada is that it really doesn't have a choice about whether or not to join. The Americans and Mexicans are joining and they're taking the North American market i.e. Canada's market, the source of its prosperity, with them -- whether or not Canada agrees. The TPP will turn North America from a privileged table for three, which Canada has more or less had to share only with Mexico, into a crowded sauve qui peut la vie table for 12.
How is Canada faring in our industrial diversification? Progress on trade diversification over the past 15 years is likely one of the most remarkable developments in Canadian economic history. A strong dependence on traditional markets was only enhanced by the Canada-US FTA, which saw exports to the US soar to over 85 per cent of the total. But a big shift began in the New Millennium.
After three-and-a-half years of ho-hum on this front, there is renewed interest in interest rates: where they are going, how fast, and what we need to do to be prepared, if change is indeed in the wind. A lot of the talk is related to another 'up' that scares us: inflation. Talk of rising interest rates is very good news, since it strongly suggests higher confidence in near-future growth.
International trade will be a key growth driver for the Canadian economy this year and next. However, the distribution of export growth in Canada's provinces is anything but even. Some are leading the charge, while others are steady at the national pace. Others are lagging behind, some quite seriously. What are the key factors influencing the different growth patterns?
Stable is not a word that can be used to describe much in today's economy. A notable exception is the Canadian dollar. The loonie has soared in a reasonably tight range around parity with the U.S. dollar for 3 years now. Although exporters would prefer a lower level, the stability has made activity and cash flows somewhat more predictable. Now, the loonie is losing some loft; what's happening?
Surprise of the year: World oil production is rising more than was forecast. A shock? No, that's what happens when prices spike. What is surprising is that it's occurring right in our backyard -- in the good ol' USA. The bottom line? How quickly we have gone from running out of oil to being awash in the stuff. Maybe the surprise is that we are surprised that history is merely repeating itself!