A weaker Canadian dollar poses a threat to imported inputs to Canada's production machine, and to future Canadian investments abroad. But the soaring U.S. dollar isn't the only currency in play. Movements in other currencies are less dramatic. Perhaps this is an opportunity to scan the globe both for inputs to our production process and for direct investment undertakings in less-traditional markets.
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.
Recently there is an increasing need for exports to be built into the growth strategy of any business. Without exports, businesses, whether they are small businesses or multinationals, increasingly risk their long term health and prosperity by ceding rapidly growing markets and brand awareness to up and coming competitors over the long term.
The tech wreck, the thickening border with the U.S. and the soaring loonie in the mid-2000's turned the attention of Canada's exporters to fast-growing emerging markets. In a relatively short time span, our trade with this rapidly-rising part of the global economy has risen from less than 5 per cent to almost 13 per cent of our merchandise exports.
Just over a year ago, markets went into a tailspin. At that time then-Fed Chairman Bernanke made what was supposed to be a benign announcement that gave new meaning to the word "taper." Currencies were thrust into the mayhem well ahead of the statement becoming action, as markets tried to anticipate the pricing effects of this new monetary regime. Tapering is now well underway; how are currencies weathering the storm?
Cash has been plentiful in emerging markets. Between 2009-2012 as quantitative easing ramped up, there was a massive expansion in borrowing on global bond markets by emerging market (EM) sovereigns, banks and companies. As a result, EM economies are now closely integrated into global debt markets, and thus more affected by actions taken in Developed Markets (DMs), particularly the withdrawal of quantitative easing (QE).
Canada will see timely benefits as global trade picks up. Prospects for the domestic economy are not strong, but exports are already rising nicely. Domestic weakening should help to free up capacity for exports, which is running pretty tight in some industries. In others, there is capacity to absorb growth.
When international trade collapsed in 2009, the Canadian economy turned inward, and for a change, discovered a steady source of growth. That source is now tapped out, and economy-watchers have for some time turned their eyes back to trade. So far, the view has been uninspiring. Will Canadian trade carry growth forward, or is our hopeful gaze in for a big disappointment?
Canadian investors are well-known in Colombia, particularly in the oil and gas sector. The crisis proved to be a setback to impressive investment activity, but it has since rebounded. Canadian direct investment in Colombia is now over 70 per cent higher than at the 2008 peak, at just under $1.8 billion.
Mass protests have become an all-too-common post-crisis occurrence in major cities around the world. The sheer number of them elicits key questions. What is making them so prevalent? Where will the movement strike next? And more personally, how will protests affect our international business operations?
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?
With the loonie near parity, transportation costs climbing and protectionist trade provisions on the table in Washington, Canadian businesses can be f...