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March 28th 2008

Loonie in Trouble

In a recent article published in the Toronto Star, a Canadian columnist outlined five reasons why the Canadian economy is in trouble.  Only a couple factors are unique to Canada, and several can be subsumed under the credit crunch, but the pessimists are sounding broad alarm bells. First on the list is the looming drop in prices for commodities, the cornerstone of Canada’s economy. Oil recently sank below $100/barrel, and gold dropped 5% in one day! In addition, China is threatening to curb demand in order to rein in inflation. 

The second and third causes for concern are a decline in bank credit and loss of confidence, respectively. Neither of these factors are endemic to Canada, as banks around the world have suddenly developed an aversion to risk and have tightened lending accordingly. Next, corporate expansion (namely of American companies) is stalling; Home Depot and Proctor & Gamble have already announced a temporary hold on opening new stores in Canada.  The final factor(s) are American consumers, which collectively spend $9 Trillion per year.  The recent tightening of wallets could spell massive trouble for Canada, since some of its provincial economies are primarily driven by cross-border sales to Americans.

In short, the Canadian economy could actually contract in 2008.  But perhaps the resulting decline in Canada’s currency, the loonie, would make Canadian exports comparatively more attractive and return the economy to firm footing in 2009.

Read More: 5 reasons to start worrying

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Posted by Adam Kritzer | in Canadian Dollar, Economic Indicators | No Comments »

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