Established in 1980, Northern Ontario Business provides Canadians and international investors with relevant, current and insightful editorial content and business news information about Ontario’s vibrant and resource-rich North.
As the world economy recovers from the recent downturn, Canada is well positioned for growth, thanks to its abundance of resources and services that are in demand around the world.
That’s the word from Peter G. Hall, chief economist with Export Development Canada (EDC), who spoke to an April 30 lunchtime crowd during a visit to Sudbury, an event sponsored by Northern Ontario Business.
Canadian exports are expected to rise by eight per cent in 2013 and five per cent in 2014. The largest segment to see growth is metals and ores, followed by forestry products, due to a rise in U.S. housing starts.
With 600 projects worth $650 billion requiring 800,000 net new workers expected to come online in the next 10 years—figures supplied by the Ministry of Natural Resources—Ontario will experience a “phenomenal amount of growth,” Hall said.
He called the province’s metals and mining sector Canada’s “new export star,” suggesting Sudbury in particular can cash in on the largesse.
“Your sectors here in the Sudbury area are the highest growth of any of the categories that we cover,” Hall said. “With 15 per cent growth actually happening in the mining sector, that’s an all-Ontario number, so you can just imagine what it’s looking like for this particular region.”
The EDC earlier predicted the falling prices of base metals occurring now, Hall said. It isn’t great news for those in mining-related sectors, but he said it’s actually an indication that the world economy is getting back on its feet. He predicts a modest decline in metals prices, with any spikes in commodities prices being short-lived.
Foreign investment should remain strong, Hall said, because of how well Canada’s economy performed during the downturn. Canada remains a model for other countries because of its good fiscal policies, and well-regulated and organized banks, he added.
“What this downturn has done is put Canada on the global radar screen in a way that we could never have dreamed of before,” he said.
Canada is still hugely attractive to other countries and there’s been no decline in interest in its resources, he added.
“I see a case for continued investment in our highly competitive manufacturing sector moving forward.”
One area of concern for Hall is whether Canada has the capacity to facilitate the growth coming from the resurging American market and emerging markets like Russia and Mexico. He’s confident the country has the capacity, smarts and innovation, but it needs to adopt the right psychological mindset to accommodate the growth.
“I believe that we are on the verge of a great period of growth—the next global growth cycle—and Canada has every opportunity to participate in that in a brand new way,” he said, “but we have to be ready for it when it comes our way.”