Canadian Outlook with the Chief Economist: Tough Decisions Come Due in 2018

The Conference Board of Canada, March 28, 2018
Recorded Webinar by
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From an economics perspective, 2017 turned out better than anticipated—and there is momentum heading into 2018. The Canadian economy delivered 3 per cent growth in 2017, the fastest of the G7 economies. But the pace of growth in Canada is already cooling in 2018, and policymakers have many tough decisions to make on interest rates, trade strategies and improving the country’s business climate.

Webinar Highlights

In this quarterly webinar, get a concise, engaging and interactive discussion of the global, national and provincial outlooks from Craig Alexander, Senior Vice-President and Chief Economist of The Conference Board of Canada. Items to be covered include:

  • Global economic uncertainty: The nationalist-protectionist wave—shown in 2016 by Donald Trump’s election and the BREXIT vote—has subsided, but has not completely gone away. Global economic growth is strengthening, but various regions of the world are at very different stages of the business cycle, creating policy challenges.
  • U.S. growth continues: The U.S. is now in its ninth consecutive year of growth, and there is concern about how much longer it can last. U.S. fiscal policy is providing a boost to the economy through lower taxes, but the timing is poor, as the U.S. economy has little spare capacity. The question for the Federal Reserve isn’t whether to raise interest rates, but how much. Tighter U.S. monetary policy will have implications for global financial markets.
  • Canadian economy slows: The main catalyst of economic growth in 2017 once again came from heavily overindebted consumers and real estate markets. Exports have rebounded less than expected, and the uncertain state of the NAFTA negotiations raise concerns about our trade outlook. In 2018, growth will moderate to a more sustainable pace.
  • Interest rate dilemma: The Bank of Canada will need to weigh the impact of raising interest rates in 2018. decide whether and by how much to raise interest rates.
  • Fiscal Policy: Although the federal government and many provinces continue to run deficits, the degree of fiscal stimulus is subsiding.

About Craig

Photo of Craig AlexanderCraig Alexander brings more than 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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