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Welcome to the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce

The Chamber works to ensure the Okanagan region will become the most economically prosperous region - and the most desirable place to live and work - in Canada. As the area's leading membership driven business organization, we are committed to providing value to our members. *Call for Board Directors for the 2015/16 Term is now open! Click here  to view the current candidates.


Get involved & expand your reach with over 60 Chamber events each year! Connect with the Community calendar too!


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  • A look ahead at the global economy in 2015
    Jan 15, 2015

    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 ready? 


    -Henrick Brakel, CCC 

  • Is there a woman on this wall?
    Jan 05, 2015

    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 Development program.

    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 stephanie@kelownachamber.org for more information or to find out how you can get involved.


    - KCC 

  • How low can oil go?
    Dec 15, 2014
    Oil prices have plummeted by 40% since June and the severity of the decline caught almost everyone by surprise. What suddenly changed about the oil market? How low can oil prices go? And what does it mean for Canada?
    For the past four years, oil prices have remained stuck above $85 per barrel, often much higher, and in spite of dramatic increases in global production. The United States saw a transformative boom in shale oil with energy production growing 80% from five million barrels per day (bpd) to just over nine million bpd since 2008. Canada’s oil sands production has added one million bpd since 2005. And there have been increases in many other important suppliers.
    These high prices were sustained because, until recently, demand for oil had been rising faster than supply, even though consumption in the U.S., Europe and Japan had been flat or dropping since 2006. In fact, the only countries where we have seen significant increases in oil demand were fast-growing emerging markets, particularly China, which accounted for half the world’s demand growth in 2011 and 2012.
    The big shocker in oil markets was the slow-down in emerging markets that caused the International Energy Agency to slash its 2015 demand forecast to a teensy 1.1 million bpd increase. Oil traders were looking at huge production increases in 2015 (an extra 1.2 M bpd from North America alone) that would absolutely swamp the increase in demand.
    That’s why the world turned to OPEC expecting to see a production cut that would offset the falling demand. But the cartel did nothing, and the Saudi oil minister said publicly that he wanted to drive down prices in order to force production cuts in shale and oil sands. This won’t work. In fact, production will continue to rise because most of the long-term investments can tolerate significant variation in revenues over the (often) 30-year lifespan of the project. New projects may be delayed, and indeed some big ones have been cancelled, but prices would have to be really low for a very long time in order to reduce production.
    What does it mean for the economy? The Bank of Canada warned that falling oil prices could subtract 0.25% from GDP growth. Even the grimmest forecasts have Alberta’s GDP growing at 2.5% next year, down from 4% over the past two years. The province would still be among the leaders in Canada, but without the inflationary pressures of breakneck growth.
    Cheaper gas is also a welcome boost for consumers. If prices continue at current levels, a typical U.S. household could save $1,100 and a Canadian family could save $1,300. That’s about $85 billion dropped into the pockets of North American consumers, a welcome stimulus. Globally, lower oil prices could transfer nearly $1 trillion from producers to consumers.
    We are likely to have an oversupply in 2015, which will put further downward pressure on prices, so it's possible that oil could temporarily dip as low as $50 per barrel. Over the longer term, oil prices will depend heavily on a resurgence of demand driven by a healthier global economy. The Canadian Chamber expects it will pick up with the U.S. economy expanding at 3.5% and emerging markets growing 4.8%. This will provide healthy support to oil demand, pushing prices back towards the $70 range. This would put the Canadian dollar somewhere 83-85 cents, providing a nice boost to manufacturing exporters and generating more balanced growth in Canada.
  • The State of the Global Economy
    Nov 25, 2014

    U.S. Economy is Booming

    The U.S. economy is firing on all cylinders as third quarter growth came in at 3.5% last week, following on the heels of spectacular 4.6% growth in the previous quarter. The U.S. economy added 214,000 jobs in October, bringing the total to 2.3 million jobs created so far in 2014. Wi th unemployment down to 5.8%, wages are picking up and headed higher. This is great news for consumers, 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. are up 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!

    Loonie Headed Lower

    A combination of tumbling commodity prices and weak economic numbers in Canada set against a resurgent U.S. economy pushed the loonie to 88 cents on Tuesday. Wall Street expects that U.S. interest rates 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. 

    Canada Slows in August as Retail Sales Edge Down

    The Canadian economy contracted by 0.1% in August after remaining essentially flat in July, the weakest results since last December. The big energy sector declined but this was mainly because of summer maintenance related shut-downs in the oil sands. On the consumer side, Canadians shopped less in August , with retail sales falling an unexpected 0.3 %, the second consecutive month of decline. Softer domestic 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 Intervenes to Prop up Real Estate Market

    China is now in the midst of a serious housing correction with October’s home prices falling for the sixth straight month and sales down 11% from a year earlier. China cut interest rates and down payment 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. This could spell trouble for commodity prices because China is the world’s biggest metal consumer, accounting for almost half of global demand for copper and two - thirds of the world’s iron ore, where prices have fallen 22% and 40% respectively.

    Japan Falls into Recession

    The Japanese economy contracted by 1.6% in the third quarter, after a 7.3% decline in Q2, as the country’s sales tax increase hammered the economy and pushed the country into its fourth recession since 2008. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called snap elections in order to postpone an other imminent rise in Japan’s consumption tax. Japan’s economy should return to positive growth in Q4, but more volatility should be expected as the yen continues to decline.

    -Hendrick Brakel, Canadian Chamber of Commerce