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What an exciting year for business! The Canadian
Chamber of Commerce just published its Crystal Ball –
Outlook 2015 Report, and big changes are coming to
the global economy. Canada performed well last year,
but there are vulnerabilities just over the horizon, from
highly indebted consumers to worries about our
housing market and now weaker oil prices. But, there
are also big opportunities as the U.S. economy is
accelerating into a booming recovery while the weak
loonie is boosting our exports.
Around the world, we’ve been seeing signs of
weakness even after last year’s dismal results.
Emerging markets, which used to be the engines of
global growth, have slowed and are much more
vulnerable than in the past. Brazil is struggling with
stagnation, Russia is in a deep recession and even
mighty China was forced to lower interest rates to
prop up its bubbly housing market and reduce
financing costs for business.
Across the Atlantic, the euro crisis is back, as
disappointing growth combined with mild deflation.
The 18 countries of the euro zone will see growth of
around 1% in 2015. And, there are risks to even this
gloomy scenario as a radical leftist Syriza party is
leading the polls in Greece and could form the next
government on January 25. European governments
may find themselves in a showdown with a Greek
prime minister demanding debt relief and an end to
austerity. Markets will be troubled by renewed fears of
a euro break-up, even though that remains unlikely.
There is really only one major economy that is picking
up strength. Fortunately, it’s the world’s largest, the
United States of America, with 20% of global GDP. The
U.S. economy grew a staggering 5% in the third
quarter of 2014 thanks to a resurgent consumer and
astonishing strength in the corporate sector.
Unemployment in the U.S. is down to just 5.8% and
wages are rising.
The big question for 2015 is whether the U.S. economic
resurgence can pull other markets along with it, like a
huge locomotive dragging the global economy
forward. We think it can, and that’s why we’re
optimistic that global growth can accelerate to 4.1% in
2015 from 3.3% in 2014. The second big question for
2015: Is Canada ready?
Exports to the U.S. rose 12% last year in spite of weak
energy prices. Some of the fastest growing sectors were
auto parts, lumber, aircraft, plastics, medicines and
machinery. With a rip-roaring U.S. economy and a
weaker loonie, the growth could be even better this
year. That’s why many Canadian companies may have
to scramble to build the capacity, in terms of
investment and human capital, to keep growing.
The main challenge for our economy is that, in order to
maintain a healthy rate of growth, we have to shift
away from domestic consumption, as consumers put
their credit cards away, and focus more on exports and
business investment. Oil prices are likely to remain
weak through 2015, and the Bank of Canada warned
that this could subtract 0.3% from GDP growth.
This means Canada’s manufacturing, technology and
service sectors will need to shift into high gear. Risks
abound, but there are so many opportunities, and 2015
will be an exciting year for Canadian business. Are you
-Henrick Brakel, CCC
What do we, as women, need in order to be successful
leaders? Tara Cookson, our latest speaker for the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce Inspire
Series [a branch of the Women’s Leadership Network], points out that maybe what
we need most, are other strong female leaders to look up to.
Cookson is a PhD researcher at the University of Cambridge,
where she is also founding director of the Gates Cambridge Professional
She is the second recipient of the Bill Gates Sr Prize in
recognition of her remarkable research, demonstration of leadership and
dedication to improving the lives of others. Needless to say, she fits the image
of a strong female leader.
Cookson spoke to her moments of obligation, the times in her
life where she knew she had to dive in and do the work. For her, her journey
started with her involvement at the Kelowna Women’s Resource Centre.
One thing that really stuck with me was a point that Cookson
posed towards the end of her speech, “is there a woman on this wall?” Cookson
told the story of an experiment that was done with students giving
presentations to a panel of judges with various images on the back wall; one of
the images being a strong male leader, one of a strong female leader, and one
of a blank space. To summarize: a significant improvement was seen in the
female students’ volume, confidence, and overall speech when facing the wall
with the image of a strong female leader.
So, this is my question: how do we get more ‘women on the
wall?’ If we need more strong female leaders to look up to, we really need to
start giving each other that helping hand. We need to encourage, to motivate,
and to help on another in our journeys so that we can cultivate more of these leaders.
Another question Tara posed: if we feel we need more women leaders, why not
start with ourselves?
We need to change our mindsets and to recognize not only the
potential of those around us, but our own potential as well. We need to help
each other through our struggles and we need to create a network of people who
can help make things happen and support one another.
If you are a strong female leader, or are inspired to do
more, we would love to hear from you. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for
more information or to find out how you can get involved.
economy is firing on all cylinders as third
quarter growth came in at 3.5%
last week, following
the heels of spectacular 4.6% growth in the previous
quarter. The U.S.
214,000 jobs in
2.3 million jobs created so
far in 2014. Wi
th unemployment down to 5.8%,
are picking up and headed higher. This is great news
and retailers are smacking their lips in
expectation of a very merry Christmas season. This is
also good news for Canada: exports to the U.S.
13% so far this year in spite of lower energy and
commodity prices. All of the leading indicators point
to continued strength in the U.S.
economy in the
months ahead. Get ready for growth!
A combination of tumbling commodity prices and
weak economic numbers in Canada set against a
economy pushed the loonie to 88 cents
on Tuesday. Wall Street expects that
could start rising sooner than expected, pushing up
investor demand for the greenback while weakness in
Canada’s domestic economy means that our rate hikes
could be much further away. The Canadian Chamber
is forecasting that the Canadia
n dollar will average 85
cents in 2015.
The Canadian economy
contracted by 0.1% in August
after remaining essentially
flat in July, the weakest
since last December.
big energy sector
declined but this was
mainly because of
maintenance related shut-downs in the oil sands. On
the consumer side, Canadians shopped less in
with retail sales falling an unexpected 0.3
consecutive month of decline.
spending is expected this year and next as highly
indebted Canadians put their credit cards away.
Exports and business investment will have to be the
sources of growth in the years ahead.
China is now in the midst of a
home prices falling for the
straight month and sales down 11% from a year
earlier. China cut
rates and down
levels for the first time since the 2008 global financial
crisis in a sig
n that the government is worried that
further fall in home prices could threaten the economy.
trouble for commodity prices because
China is the world’s biggest metal consumer,
accounting for almost half of global demand for copper
thirds of the world’s iron ore, where prices
have fallen 22% and 40% respectively.
The Japanese economy contracted by 1.6% in the
after a 7.3% decline
in Q2, as the country’s
increase hammered the
the country into its
recession since 2008.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
elections in order to postpone an
imminent rise in
Japan’s consumption tax.
Japan’s economy should
return to positive growth in Q4, but
should be expected as the
yen continues to decline.