On May 30, the LAVAL TECHNOPOLE International Business Centre hosted Peter Hall, Vice-President and Chief Economist at Export Development Canada, who was on his annual cross-Canada tour, dubbed “Let’s talk exports.”
Called “Anchors Aweigh?,” Mr. Hall’s presentation sought to lift some of the current global economic gloom by pointing out a number of positive signs that indicate a certain recovery, particularly in the U.S., and continued growth in Canadian exports. Mr. Hall compared the global economy to a hot air balloon ready to take flight, citing the financial health of companies and the U.S. recovery as drivers that he believes will offset the economic woes in Europe. That said, although fired up and ready to take off, the hot air balloon is still tethered to the ground by ropes, which symbolize the key risks and issues such as the European crisis, government spending cuts, and the economic slowdown in the principal emerging countries. According to the EDC, when these problems abate, the world economy will take off and the challenge for Canadian SMEs will no longer be to try and find customers for their products but to find and hold on to people to make them. Mr. Hall said that during his cross-Canada tour this spring, he kept coming across business leaders who told him, almost embarrassed, that their order books are overflowing despite all the negative economic news.
EDC therefore predicts that Canadian and Quebec exports will grow roughly 7% this year and next, which is not as much as the 12% recorded in 2011 but still strong. The pickup in residential construction south of the border, the clear debt-cutting trend among U.S. households and the improvement in the labour market are three factors that should fuel the U.S. recovery and boost exports in Canada’s main industries.
As for the Canadian dollar, EDC expects it to remain almost on par with the greenback (US$1.01) in 2012 and then slip to about US$0.97 in 2013.
To learn more and for complete details about the export forecasts, read the report, available at no charge on the EDC site.
In closing, I’d like to thank all the business owners and people who attended the presentation. The turnout for these two editions was excellent, which could spell the beginning of a new tradition in Laval.