Canadian Outlook with the Chief Economist: A Slowdown in Store

The Conference Board of Canada, December 18, 2017
Recorded Webinar by
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The strength of the Canadian economy has taken everyone by surprise this year. Fuelled by a pace of 4.5 per cent growth in the second quarter, the economy is on track to post a stellar performance of greater than 3 per cent in 2017, putting it on track to outperform most developed countries.

The economy added more than 200,000 jobs in the first 8 months of the year and employment is on pace to grow by 1.5 per cent this year, the strongest annual growth since 2007. The improved employment landscape has boosted consumer optimism, supporting consumption in the first half of the year.

Consumer spending has been the driver of this performance, as it has grown at an annual pace of over 4.5 per cent. Business investment is posting its first increase in three years.

However, the recent pace of expansion is unsustainable and economic growth will slow in 2018, reflecting slower consumer spending and a decline in residential investment. The uncertainty around the future of the NAFTA in some ways exemplifies the weakness in the trade sector this year and next.

Get The Conference Board of Canada’s latest global, national and provincial economic outlooks from Craig Alexander, Senior Vice-President and Chief Economist. This presentation provides economic analysts and organizational decision-makers alike with a concise, engaging and interactive review of the near-term economic outlook.

Webinar Highlights

This webinar will zero in on the key factors shaping Canada’s economic performance, including:

  • Interest rates: The rate hikes since July make sense because they remove the additional monetary stimulus provided in the wake of the commodity price downturn 2 1/2 years ago. Continued growth in the economy will eventually warrant further tightening by the end of 2018,
  • Household finances: Wage growth of only 1.4 per cent is expected this year. Combined with rising interest rates and near record-high household debt levels, consumer spending growth will need to slow.
  • Trade struggles: The uncertainty caused by the NAFTA negotiations and the higher value of the Canadian dollar are putting the squeeze on exporters. The implementation of CETA with the European Union should provide some additional opportunities.

About Craig

Craig Alexander brings 20 years of experience in the private sector as an economic and financial forecaster to the position of Senior Vice-President and Chief Economist. Craig oversees the Board’s macroeconomic outlook products and its custom economic and tourism research. He joined The Conference Board of Canada in September 2016.

Most recently, Craig was the Vice-President of Economic Analysis at the CD Howe Institute. Previously, he was Senior Vice-President and Chief Economist for TD Bank Group—the second largest bank in Canada and the eighth largest in the United States. During his tenure, he led a large team of economists providing in-depth analysis to TD’s divisions and clients. Prior to joining the private sector, he spent four years as an economist at Statistics Canada.

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