Search

 

Cablegate: Canadian Economic Forecast: Northern Tiger

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 07 OTTAWA 000160

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

DEPT FOR EB/IFD, WHA/CAN AND WHA/EPSC
STATE PASS CEA FOR Randy Kroszner, FRB FOR C. BERTAUT
STATE PASS USTR FOR RYCKMAN
TREASURY FOR OASIA/IMI - HARLOW, MATHIEU
USDOC FOR 4320/MAC/ON/OIA/JBENDER
PARIS ALSO FOR USOECD
CALGARY PASS TO WINNIPEG

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EFIN ECON ETRD CA
SUBJECT: CANADIAN ECONOMIC FORECAST: NORTHERN TIGER
SHOULD CONTINUE TO ROAR THIS YEAR AND NEXT!

REF: (A) TREAS 041955Z DECEMBER 2002 (B) OTTAWA 3113
(C) OTTAWA 2578

1. Sensitive but unclassified, please protect
accordingly. Not for Internet distribution.

Summary
-------

2. (SBU) Canada's economy is like the "Energizer Bunny" -
it just keeps going and going. Canada should post a
solid 3.3 percent annual increase in real GDP in 2002,
which is more than double the 1.5 percent gain recorded
in 2001. All components of real GDP contributed to the
increase with the exception of business investment in
plant and equipment. Positive business sentiment and an
economy moving toward full capacity should reverse the
trend in plant and equipment investment this year and
next. Other contributors to future growth include new
spending by the government on health, the environment and
defense - fueled by stronger tax revenues, and a recovery
in the U.S. resulting in Canadian exports to more than
double this year and continue to grow in 2004. More
balanced increases in investment, plus ongoing gains in
consumer spending, round out the picture for why Canada's
real economic growth should improve to 3.5 percent in
2003 -- with the outlook for 2004 now estimated at 4.3
percent. End Summary.

Introduction
------------

2. (SBU) Canada's economy grew at an annualized rate of
3.1 percent in the third quarter of 2002, a sharp drop
from the robust growth of 5.7 and 4.4 percent recorded in
the first two quarters, respectively. Exports
contributed strongly to growth in IIIQ 2002, as did
business investment in residential construction and in
capital equipment. However, growth was dampened by a
slowdown in consumer spending (primarily in autos) and in
the pace of inventory accumulation. Following the
anticipated 3.3 percent growth in 2002, we expect the
Canadian economy to grow by 3.5 percent in 2003, and 4.3
percent in 2004. Domestic demand should stay strong over
the forecast period, and solid growth estimates for the
U.S. economy bode well for Canada's external sector. We
anticipate a tighter monetary policy beginning in late
2003 and early 2004 as the Canadian economy reaches full
capacity, which should slow quarterly growth rates in all
sectors of the economy in the second half of 2004.
Canada's inflation rate should remain in the upper end of
the Bank of Canada's 1-3 percent target band, and the
unemployment rate should stay at around 7.6 percent.


Assumptions
-----------

4. (SBU) We assume the following:

-- Real U.S. growth rates of 2.3 percent in 2002, 2.8
percent in 2003, and 3.4 percert in 2004 (ref A).

-- Real G-7 growth rates of 2.2 percent this year and 2.7
percent next year (ref A).

-- No major shocks in the oil and gas sector. We assume
that a `war premium' has already been built in.

-- The GOC will introduce a stimulative budget in
February 2003, implementing many of the recommendations
of the November, 2002 Romanow Report on reforming
Canada's health care system, providing incentives to meet
the targets of the Kyoto Accord, and replacing outdated
military equipment.
-- The GOC will uphold its promises to the Canadian oil
and gas sector made in exchange for their grudging
support for Kyoto Accord ratification.

-- Ontario, Canada's largest province demographically,
will maintain its cap on residential electricity prices.
(After the cap on electricity prices was lifted,
residential electricity bills soared by 50 percent and
more. Ontario's Premier quickly reinstated the price cap
late last year, and Ontarians have received C$75 per
household rebate checks, which we assume were spent in
December 2002 and are included in our IVQ 2002 forecast.)

Risks
-----

5. (SBU) Risks to the forecast include:

-- Sluggish growth in the U.S. economy (with special
concern about flat employment growth);

-- A longer-than-anticipated war with Iraq.

Domestic Demand: Full Steam Ahead!
-----------------------------------

6. (SBU) We forecast annualized quarterly growth rates
between 2.8 and 4 percent in both private consumption and
government spending over most of the forecast period.
Domestic demand will be fuelled by the record 560,000 net
new jobs in 2002. Corporate profits and business
investment intentions suggest aggregate employment should
continue to grow this year and next (albeit not at the
same rate as in 2002). This translates into sizeable
increases in consumer spending and a hefty boost for
government tax revenues. Business investment in non-
residential construction and machinery/equipment is
forecast to rise, while investment in residential
construction should moderate after rising by over 15
percent in 2002, the highest annual growth rate in 15
years. Pent-up demand and high vacancy rates accounted
for the steep increase in residential construction in
2002.

New Spending On Health, Environment, Military Equipment
--------------------------------------------- -----------

7. (SBU) In FY2001-2002, Canada's net federal debt was
C$536.5 billion, for a debt-to-GDP ratio of just over 49
percent (down from almost 71 percent six years earlier).
The debt reduction saves the GOC C$3 billion annually in
interest payments, and provides increased fiscal
flexibility. In addition, strong employment growth
points to larger-than-expected surpluses. The Conference
Board of Canada predicts possible GOC fiscal surpluses of
almost C$20 billion in FY2002-2003 and FY2003-04, almost
double the C$11 billion that Finance Minister Manley
predicted in his fiscal update in October (ref B).
However, we expect the GOC to respond to political
pressure to spend part of the surplus on health care, the
environment, and military equipment, with the remainder
dedicated to further debt reduction, producing a balanced
budget for FY2003-2004. Manley has made it quite clear
that the GOC will cut spending rather than risk a budget
deficit.

8. (SBU) Incremental spending increases introduced in
FY2000 (on health care, defense spending, infrastructure,
innovation, the environment, cities and aboriginal
affairs) will continue this fiscal year and next.
However, increased spending on health care and the
environment seem likely in the upcoming federal budget.
The GOC-commissioned Romanow Report recommends a C$15
billion increase in health care spending over the next
three fiscal years (in increments of C$3.5 billion, C$5
billion, and C$6.5 billion). Costs of ratification and
implementation of the Kyoto Accord are unclear, but the
GOC, to placate Canada's oil and gas sector, has
promised that the sector's contribution to meeting
emission targets in the first commitment period of the
Accord will be limited to C$15 per tonne.

And Don't Rule Out The External Sector!
---------------------------------------

9. (SBU) Canada's global merchandise trade surplus
dropped by an estimated C$10 billion in 2002, to C$54
billion (US$34.4 billion) from the previous year, as
demand softened from Canada's major trading partners, in
particular, the United States. This resulted in a S$9.6B
(US$6.1B) drop in Canada's global current account
balance. However, given U.S. and G-7 growth projections
for the forecast period, Canadian exports should grow at
a respectable rate, outpacing increases in investment-
related imports. In particular, energy exports should
remain strong and so should exports of consumer durables
and office machinery and equipment. We forecast that
Canada's global merchandise trade surplus will rise only
slightly in 2003, to C$54.5B (US$34.7B), before climbing
to C$66.9B (US$42.6B) in 2004. The improvement is in
line with the ongoing strength in the global and U.S.
economies.

Inflation
---------

10. (SBU) Canada's inflation rate, as measured by the
year-over-year percent change in the All-Items Consumer
Price Index, jumped to 4.3 percent in November 2002.
However, Statistics Canada attributes the large increase
to a sharp decline in the base used for comparison. For
example, the All-Items CPI fell by an unusually steep
monthly 0.9 percent between October and November 2001,
so without a similar drop in the index in 2002, the year-
over-year percent change is exaggerated. (Note: The
monthly decline in November 2001 was attributed to a
steep drop in energy prices and traveler accommodation.
The same factors caused the All-Items CPI to drop by 0.5
percent in October 2001 from the previous month.) We
expect Canada's inflation rate to remain at the upper
end of the Bank of Canada's 1-3 percent target band.
However, there is a risk of higher inflation in the
second half of 2003 as the Canadian economy reaches full
capacity.

Monetary Policy
---------------

11. (SBU) The Bank of Canada (BOC) is still looking for
an opportunity to take back some of the low-interest
stimulus that it pumped into the Canadian economy last
year. While the BOC continues a "made in Canada"
monetary policy, i.e., not following the Fed in lockstep,
we believe that monetary policy will tighten later this
year once the Canadian economy reaches full capacity. We
expect the spread between U.S. and Canadian short-term
interest rates to remain at roughly 175 basis points in
favor of Canada. While we do not forecast exchange
rates, we believe the Canadian dollar will continue
trading in the upper-63 cents range vis--vis the U.S.
dollar. Any appreciation linked to tighter monetary
policy will be erased as the Fed increases U.S. interest
rates. While the weaker dollar is a boon for Canadian
exporters, it makes investment-related imports and
consumer durables much more expensive.

TABLE 1. REAL GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT
SEASONALLY ADJUSTED AT ANNUAL RATES
(MILLIONS OF 1997 CANADIAN DOLLARS)
LINE 1 = LEVEL
LINE 2 = QTR-OVER-QTR PERCENT CHANGE
LINE 3 = YR-OVER-YR PERCENT CHANGE

FRCAST FRCAST
2002 2002
COMPONENT IVQ ANNUAL
-------------------- --------------- ---------------
CONSUMPTION 598240 594525
0.4%
2.3% 2.5%

INVESTMENT 190644 187021
5.9% 2.1%

-- RESID. 56864 55278
1.5%
13.1% 15.2%

-- NON-RESID. 45727 45982
-0.2%
-3.2% -4.5%

-- MACH/EQUIP 88052 85761
1.5%
7.2% -1.6%
GOVERNMENT 225775 223574
0.6%
2.8% 3.1%

CHG/INVENTORIES 5000 2705


-NET X 52530 54680

EXPORTS(G+S) 448661 441094
0.6%
4.8% 1.5%

IMPORTS(G+S) 396131 386415
0.9%
8.3% 1.1%
STAT DISCREP 1000 -577
REAL GDP 1073189 1061929
0.6%
3.9% 3.3%
TOTAL DD 1020659 1007249
0.6%
5.1% 3.1%
GDP DEFLTR 106.8 106.5
0.8%
2.0% 0.1%
NOM GDP 1146165 1130423
-0.5%
6.0% 3.5%

TABLE 2. FRCAST FRCAST
2003 2003
COMPONENT IVQ ANNUAL
-------------------- --------------- ---------------
CONSUMPTION 618838 610006
1.0%
3.4% 2.6%

INVESTMENT 202591 197561
1.7%
6.3% 5.6%
-- RESID. 58998 58213
0.9%
3.8% 5.3%
-- NON-RESID. 47534 46569
1.5%
4.0% 1.3%
-- MACH/EQUIP 96059 92778
2.4%
9.1% 8.2%

GOVERNMENT 233781 230672
0.9%
3.5% 3.2%
CHANGE IN
INVENTORIES 5000 5000

-NET X 59409 54927


EXPORTS(G+S) 469181 459548
1.6%
4.6% 4.2%
IMPORTS(G+S) 409772 404622
0.8%
3.4% 4.7%
STAT DISCREP 1000 1000
REAL GDP 1120619 1099165
1.4%
4.4% 3.5%
TOTAL DD 1061210 1044238
1.1%
4.0% 3.7%
GDP DEFLTR 110.8 109.3
0.9%
3.7% 2.7%
NOM GDP 1241646 1201387
2.4%
8.3% 6.3%

TABLE 3. FRCAST FRCAST
2004 2004
COMPONENT IVQ ANNUAL
-------------------- --------------- ---------------
CONSUMPTION 629417 624428
0.5%
1.7% 2.4%

INVESTMENT 211063 208741
0.6%
4.2% 5.7%
-- RESID. 60848 60231
0.6%
3.1% 3.5%
-- NON-RESID. 49169 48755
0.5%
3.4% 4.7%
-- MACH/EQUIP 101046 99754
0.7%
5.2% 7.5%

GOVERNMENT 242311 239089
0.9%
3.6% 3.6%
CHANGE IN
INVENTORIES 4000 4500

-NET X 72198 68286


EXPORTS(G+S) 493564 485692
1.0%
5.2% 5.7%
IMPORTS(G+S) 421366 417406
0.6%
2.8% 3.2%
STAT DISCREP 1000 1000
REAL GDP 1159989 1146043
0.8%
3.5% 4.3%
TOTAL DD 1087791 1077757
0.6%
2.5% 3.2%
GDP DEFLTR 114.0 112.8
0.7%
2.9% 3.2%
NOM GDP 1322387 1292736
1.5%
6.5% 7.6%


TABLE 4: GLOBAL CURRENT ACCOUNT SUMMARY
(BILLIONS OF C$ UNLESS OTHERWISE STATED)

COMPONENT 2002F 2003F 2004F
-------------------- ------- ------- -------
TRADE BALANCE 54.0 54.5 66.9
-- (US$) 34.4 34.7 42.6
-- (% GDP) 4.8% 4.5% 5.2%
-
CURR.ACCT.BAL:
-- C$ 20.4 20.3 28.9
-- US$ 13.0 12.9 18.4
% OF GDP 1.8% 1.7% 2.2%
MEMO ITEMS:
CANADIAN $ 63.68 63.68 63.68
NOMINAL GDP: 1130.4 1201.4 1292.7


TABLE 5: CONSUMER PRICE INDEX, NSA,
1992=100
INDEX Q/Q YR/YR
DATE NO. % CHG % CHG
---- ----- ----- -------
--
1998 108.6 -- 0.9%
1999 110.5 -- 1.7%
2000 113.5 -- 2.7%
2001 116.4 -- 2.5%
2002 119.1 -- 2.3%
2003 122.4 -- 2.8%
2004 125.9 -- 2.9%


TABLE 6: INDUSTRIAL PRODUCT
PRICE INDEX
NSA, 1997 =
100
INDEX Q/Q YR/YR
DATE NO. % CHG % CHG
---- ----- ----- --------
-
1998 100.4 0.4%
1999 102.2 1.8%
2000 106.5 4.2%
2001 107.6 1.0%
2002 107.6 0.1%

QUARTERLY:
00:Q1 105.1 1.5% 5.4%
00:Q2 106.3 1.1% 5.8%
00:Q3 106.6 0.3% 4.0%
00:Q4 108.1 1.2% 4.4%
01:01 108.0 -0.1% 2.7%
01:02 108.8 0.7% 2.3%
01:03 107.5 -1.2% 0.8%
01:04 106.0 -1.4% -1.9%
02:01 106.8 0.8% -1.1%
02:02 107.2 0.3% -1.5%
02:03 107.8 0.6% 0.3%
02:04 108.7 0.8% 2.5%

TABLE 7: LABOR
FORCE
DATA EXPRESSED IN
THOUSANDS
UNEMPLOY
LABOR % EMPLOY % MENT
YEAR FORCE CHANGE MENT CHANGE RATE
---- -------- ------ --------- ------- ---------
-- ---- - --- -
1993 14505 12858 11.4%
1994 14627 0.8% 13112 2.0% 10.4%
1995 14750 0.8% 13357 1.9% 9.4%
1996 14900 1.0% 13463 0.8% 9.6%
1997 15153 1.7% 13774 2.3% 9.1%
1998 15418 1.7% 14140 2.7% 8.3%
1999 15721 2.0% 14531 2.8% 7.6%
2000A 15999 1.8% 14910 2.6% 6.8%
2001A 16253 1.6% 15086 1.2% 7.2%
2002A 16667 2.5% 15396 2.1% 7.6%
2003F 16993 2.0% 15709 2.0% 7.6%
2004F 17155 1.0% 15845 0.9% 7.6%

Cellucci

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 


Myanmar: Military Must Stop Murdering And Jailing Protestors – Bachelet

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Thursday said security forces in Myanmar must “halt their vicious crackdown on peaceful protestors,” following another day of deadly violence across the country on Wednesday... More>>

Syria: Economic Decline, Rising Hunger And Surging Humanitarian Needs

Syria’s fragile economy has “suffered multiple shocks” over the past 18 months, with its currency plummeting and joblessness swelling as people struggle to cover their basic needs, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator told the Security Council ... More>>

OECD: Final Quarter Of 2020 Shows Continued Recovery In G20 International Merchandise Trade

G20 international merchandise trade continued to rebound in the fourth quarter of 2020 ( exports up 7.2% and imports up 6.8%), following the sharp falls seen in the first half of 2020, as lockdown measures affected trade globally. Although growth ... More>>


Focus On: UN SDGs


UNFCCC: Greater Climate Ambition Urged As Initial NDC Synthesis Report Is Published

UN Climate Change today published the Initial NDC Synthesis Report, showing nations must redouble efforts and submit stronger, more ambitious national climate action plans in 2021 if they’re to achieve the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global temperature rise by 2°C—ideally 1.5°C—by the end of the century... More>>


2021: Critical Year To ‘reset Our Relationship With Nature’ – UN Chief

During this time of “crisis and fragility”, the UN chief told the United Nations Environment Assembly on Monday that human well-being and prosperity can be vastly improved by prioritizing nature-based solutions. Painting a picture of the turmoil ... More>>


Paris Agreement: UN Secretary-General António Guterres To Mark U.S. Reentry With Envoy For Climate John Kerry

Watch live at webtv.un.org UN Secretary-General António Guterres will join U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John F. Kerry at an event marking the United States’ reentry into the Paris Agreement this Friday. The discussion with the Secretary-General ... More>>