Category Archives: Economy

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There’s value in them thar hills!

Mining used to be simple. Find a deposit, build a mine, get it out of the ground and sell it. Today the hardest thing to find is a low-risk growth strategy that delivers investors and results
By Ian McGugan
March 2nd, 2017

What a difference a year makes. At the start of 2016, the mining industry was reeling. Metals prices were in freefall and investors had long since fled from the sector. Then everything changed. As new signs of global growth emerged, … Continue reading

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Poloz: selling life in the slow lane

It’s in business leaders’ DNA to expect big returns. So what should we make of the Bank of Canada’s rush to embrace and preach the doctrine of slow growth?
By Ian McGugan
December 15th, 2016

Senior executives have one overwhelming goal, at least so far as shareholders are concerned, and that goal is to create decent returns on the money invested in their companies. But what constitutes a reasonable profit in this age of low … Continue reading

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Much ado about little

Both of Canada’s current signature international trade pacts are foundering just shy of completion. But given the paltry contributions the TPP and CETA are expected to make to our economy, should anyone care?
By Ian McGugan
October 11th, 2016

Can you hear the gnashing of teeth in Ottawa? Both of Canada’s flagship trade initiatives are in trouble and all the usual suspects are predicting problems as a result. Without the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to help Canadian exports expand in … Continue reading

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As go home values, so goes the economy. But why?

Many agree with Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz when he says big-city house prices are too high. Even so, there are two different schools of thought—with wildly different outcomes—on how to handle the issue
By Ian McGugan
August 1st, 2016

Across the street from my family’s modest Toronto house, workers are building a condo tower. From Monday through Friday, the rumble of dump trucks and clank of bulldozers punctuates our breakfast. Mind you, we’re not unusual: the creaky clatter of … Continue reading

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Two words: revenue neutral

National action on carbon emissions is coming. It’s expected, it’s needed and rather than fight it, smart businesses should weigh in on the discussion to help create the best outcome
By Ian McGugan
May 30th, 2016

Should Ottawa tax carbon emissions? British Columbia already imposes a levy on greenhouse gas emitters and Alberta will begin doing so next year. Meanwhile, Quebec forms part of a cap-and-trade system with California, and will soon be joined by Ontario … Continue reading

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Will the giants inherit the earth?

Grim as the economics of mining and minerals are for everyone right now, looking ahead, things are lining up strongly in favour of the industry’s biggest players. Expect them to dominate increasingly large swaths of the business for years to come
By Ian McGugan
March 4th, 2016

After four years of relentlessly bad news, the one bright spot for the mining industry in 2016 is that there are no high hopes left to disappoint. The compelling question that hangs over the sector is no longer how bad … Continue reading

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How our new PM can help grow the economy

Generations of rhetoric notwithstanding, Canadian prime ministers don’t have that many tools at their disposal to boost economic growth. So here are three ideas to get Justin Trudeau started
By Ian McGugan
December 15th, 2015

You should feel sorry for federal politicians—at least during elections and just afterward. It’s then that these would-be leaders are forced to stand up and pretend they possess the magic formula to generate prosperity. Of course, their hopeful rhetoric often … Continue reading

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Global economy down, but far from out

Regional gridlock and wobbles in China prompt legitimate fears. But when the two biggest inputs for business—money and energy—are as cheap as they are today, growth should prevail
By Ian McGugan
October 10th, 2015

Let’s acknowledge the obvious. With Canada at least technically in a recession, China slowing and Europe trapped in political gridlock, business leaders in this country have good reason to be worried about the outlook for the world economy over the … Continue reading

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Chasing prosperity? Or votes?

Why is a balanced federal budget like a picnic? Because neither is responsible for what their promoters promise—be it economic well-being or a sunny, summer day
By Ian McGugan
July 24th, 2015

Balanced budgets are what pass for sexy among a certain swath of the electorate—most notably the part that votes Conservative. Hence it’s no big surprise that the federal Tories pulled out all stops this spring to announce their first balanced … Continue reading

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Low rate rendezvous

Outside the U.S., interest rates are trending down, not up. For the Bank of Canada, the goal is a lower dollar that boosts exports. But if you’re counting on that for your business, here are a few thoughts to keep in mind
By Ian McGugan
May 15th, 2015

Beware falling interest rates. They’re evidence of how desperately most countries want to goose their underperforming economies and mark down their currencies. Since the oil price crash last year, roughly two dozen central banks around the world have eased back … Continue reading

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Is your barrel half empty or half full?

Everybody’s talking about the impact of plunging oil prices on petro regions and energy producers—but what about the mining sector? Our correspondent sees a range of consequences, many of them good
By Ian McGugan
February 27th, 2015

The unexpected and still largely unexplained plunge in the price of oil is enough to throw a scare into any commodity producer. When the world’s most vital and heavily traded raw material can lose half its value in six months—for … Continue reading

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Helping Europe at our expense?

The timing of Canada’s free trade deal with Europe—as euro zone economies continue to struggle—couldn’t be worse. Some Canadian companies may benefit, but the deal’s likely winners will be low-priced European competitors expanding here
By Ian McGugan
December 18th, 2014

Europe’s economic crisis is over—isn’t it? The headlines have calmed down, bond markets are tranquil, a Greek default no longer hangs over the global economy. It’s enough to make a casual observer conclude that the worst is past. Look closer, … Continue reading

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Canada: the third amigo

Mexico’s surging manufacturing sector and growing economy mean its influence in NAFTA will soon supersede our own. But that doesn’t have to be a bad thing
By Ian McGugan
October 30th, 2014

Welcome, economics fans, to the 2014 version of Name that Country. Today’s clue: This nation, which shares a border with the United States, has large oil and gas reserves, is headed by a pro-business leader intent on shaking up the … Continue reading

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Divided we stand

Western Canada’s place as the country’s economic engine isn’t changing anytime soon. That puts the onus on policy makers to take a new look at their priorities—for all Canadians’ sake
By Ian McGugan
August 24th, 2014

Nearly 70 years ago, a novel by Hugh MacLennan captured the struggle that then weighed on many Canadian minds. Two Solitudes told the story of a young writer torn between French and English cultures. If that quintessentially Canadian novel were … Continue reading

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How strong is this castle?

King Cotton once ruled the economy of the southern U.S. Then it didn’t. The reign of oil may be no more secure
By Ian McGugan
June 5th, 2014

In the run-up to the U.S. Civil War, southern secessionists argued the slave-owning states had nothing to fear by going it alone. The Deep South produced so much of the world’s cotton—a vital commodity in the mid-19th century—that “King Cotton” … Continue reading

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