There's a clever-sounding phrase that has repeatedly wreaked havoc with the macro economy: "It's different this time." It's all over the place now, couched in neatly nuanced narrative about our "new normal." Is it once again misguided advice, or is there good reason to believe that this time really is different?
The U.S. military has targets picked out in Syria and President Obama is trying to convince Congress that America needs to intervene. If the U.S. does go ahead with tactical strikes against the Assad regime, oil markets will be caught in the middle. Any significant reduction in exports will be felt in the rest of the world.
There's a sour seasonality that has become entrenched in recent global economics. In the past few years, summer has become a disarmingly punctual momentum-killer of global production. Perhaps the most critical question in EDC's Summer 2013 Global Export Forecast is whether we are in for yet another summer drubbing, or whether this is the year we break with that sorry tradition.
Is business growing? Ask the buyers. Want a hot gauge of economic activity? It's probably best to go to the front lines. There are many indicators of economic activity, but they don't all tell the same story. One of those is the purchasing managers' index, now collected for a wide array of countries. What are these "buyers" telling us?
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!
Importantly, Canada and nations like America have entered a new phase in which promoting creativity and innovation represent the only option for boosting global competitiveness. Canada or any country desirous of succeeding in an interconnected world must aggressively adopt the idea that creativity is the single most important ingredient to reinventing itself.