Canadian Outlook Economic Forecast: Autumn 2017

The Conference Board of Canada, 172 pages, December 5, 2017
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This quarterly economic forecast provides highlights of the Canadian Outlook report, which presents the short-term national outlook.

Document Highlights

  • The Canadian economy posted phenomenal growth in the first half of 2017, thanks in large part to strong consumer spending and a long-awaited rebound in business investment.
  • Real GDP will grow by a strong 3.1 per cent in 2017 before returning to more normal growth of 2.0 per cent in 2018.
  • Household consumption has been driving the economy’s recent strong performance, but consumers’ ability to spend is starting to weaken due to high consumer debt levels, slow wage growth, and a cooling housing market—a trend that will continue into next year.
  • After two years of falling, business investment will manage a small increase in 2017. However, levels will remain below their 2010 peak throughout the remainder of the forecast.
  • Exports are expected to see modest growth in 2017 and 2018, thanks to a large increase in oil and gas exports. Excluding energy, merchandise exports will decline this year as some sectors face challenges that will continue to weigh on their growth in the near term.

Table of Contents

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

RÉSUMÉ

Chapter 1—Household Income and Employment

  • Subdued Income Gains for the Foreseeable Future
  • Quarterly Update—Jobs Rally Continues, but Wages Lag
  • Services Driving Employment Gains
  • What About Wage Growth?
  • Incomes to Grow, but Interest Charges Looming

Chapter 2—Household Consumption

  • Strong First Half of 2017 Driving Consumption Growth, but Slowdown Expected
  • A Record Year for Spending Growth
  • Rate Hikes to Slow Spending Despite Stronger Consumer Confidence
  • Strong Spending on Durables Not Sustainable
  • Services Continue to Be Steady, Outperforming Goods

Chapter 3—Housing

  • Canada’s Housing Market Emitting Mixed Signals
  • Is a Housing Storm Gathering?
  • Local Housing Markets—Montréal Is Picking Up Steam
  • Housing Starts Up This Year, but Are Set to Soften
  • Residential Investment Set to Ease

Chapter 4—Government

  • Strong Economy Lifts Government Revenues but Challenges Remain
  • Federal Fiscal Outlook
  • Provincial Fiscal Outlook
  • Investment Spending Set to Ramp Up

Chapter 5—Business Investment

  • Investment Turns a Corner
  • Investment Drivers
  • Investment in Intellectual Property

Chapter 6—International Trade

  • Trade Hits Some Speed Bumps
  • Trade Outlook
  • Export Sector Faces Numerous Challenges
  • Merchandise Imports Bounce Back in 2017
  • Non-Merchandise Trade Balance Improves
  • Current Account Deficit Narrows but Remains Huge

Chapter 7—Energy

  • Slow Recovery Continues for Energy Sector
  • Oil Prices to Give Up Some of Their Recent Gains
  • Investment in Canada’s Energy Sector
  • Energy Production and Trade

Chapter 8—Industry Trends

  • Fundamentals Improve for Many Industries
  • Things Are Looking Up for Most Resource Industries
  • Construction Outlook Brightens
  • Manufacturing Outlook Mixed
  • Commercial Services Will Be the Growth Leader
  • Population Aging Boosts Demand for Health Care Services

Chapter 9—Financial Markets

  • The Monetary Tightening Trend Takes Off
  • Bank of Canada Surprises With Back-to-Back Increases
  • Policy Tightening Continues in the U.S.
  • Monetary Policy in Other Major Economies

Appendix A—Forecast Tables

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