Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Canadian economy not to be outdone – Part II

At the G8 summit, both the U.S. President and British Prime Minister, among others called for additional economic stimuli on a global scale, despite the US$2 trillion already expended as they feel it has yet to push demand high enough. On the contrary, Canadian PM Stephen Harper urged other leaders to focus on ensuring proper delivery of those stimuli already promised. "That's been our focus in Canada and I would encourage the same priority elsewhere," he told the press.

Canada's stimulus package consists of $46 billion over 2 years, poised for creating more jobs and igniting consumer demand. The amount is expected to increase to almost $80 billion once the provincial and territorial aspects kick in. PM Harper claims 80% of the planned federal funds have already been committed. In addition, Bank of Canada cut its key lending rate from 4.5% in December 2007 to its present level of .25%

Analysts see the present Canadian stimulus package taking effect in the next few months and see no need for any new stimulus monies. There is always a lag from the announcement of the stimulus package until effects are seen from it, must like that of lowering interest rates, according to Craig Wright, chief economist at Royal Bank of Canada. "Staying the course is probably the prudent path right now," he says.

Stefane Marion, chief economist at National Bank Financial, agrees that we must wait for the money to start working in the economy. Canada's financial system in general is in better shape than those of most other G8 countries and did not have the same real estate collapse that they did. He also sees production rising this year as indicated by purchasing managers and other key factors.

Furthermore, the IMF advises countries to continue to support their economies in some way until the recovery takes hold (predicted next year); while they should also plan to reduce deficits in their budgets caused by spending to combat the recession.
Canada, along with the IMF in general also agreed to make emergency capital available for borrowing, for countries that may need it soon.