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Found 26 results

  1. Sans vouloir remettre de l'huile sur le feu, je trouve l'article intéressant et révélateur Publié le 07 juin 2013 à 06h19 | Mis à jour à 06h19 Francis Vailles, André Dubuc La Presse (Montréal) Jacques Villeneuve a récemment déclaré que l'impôt n'a rien à voir avec son départ du Québec. Pourtant, au fil des années, le coureur automobile n'a pas hésité à faire des détours par Monaco et Andorre, en passant par la Suisse, pour s'installer dans des lieux fiscalement accommodants. Même au Québec, qui n'est pourtant pas un paradis fiscal, la loi lui a offert des options intéressantes pour minimiser les impôts sur sa fortune, estimée à plusieurs dizaines de millions de dollars. Exemption sur la plus-value? Selon nos recherches, une disposition de la Loi de l'impôt permet à un contribuable, à certaines conditions, d'éviter l'impôt sur la plus-value de la plupart de ses placements s'il a été résidant moins de 60 mois durant les 10 dernières années. L'exonération s'applique sur l'essentiel des biens dont le contribuable était propriétaire à son arrivée et qu'il a conservés jusqu'au jour de son départ, explique André Lareau, professeur de fiscalité à l'Université Laval. Il n'est pas possible de connaître les dates d'arrivée et de départ qu'a déclarées Jacques Villeneuve au fisc. Toutefois, selon un document suisse obtenu par La Presse, Villeneuve a eu sa résidence principale dans la commune d'Ollon, dans les Alpes suisses, jusqu'au 30 juin 2007. Le document indique qu'il a alors déménagé dans un appartement terrasse du Vieux-Montréal. La règle de cinq ans pourrait donc avoir cessé de s'appliquer pour Jacques Villeneuve vers le 30 juin 2012. Selon nos informations, le pilote a mis en vente son chalet des Laurentides en février 2012 et sa maison de Westmount en 2012, également. Lui-même nous a confirmé avoir cessé d'être résidant en 2012, mais il n'a pas voulu préciser la date. Dès que l'échéance de 60 mois est franchie, le gain en capital de ce portefeuille devient pleinement imposable au Canada. Le moment où Jacques Villeneuve a cessé d'être résidant canadien pour devenir résidant d'Andorre est donc «très, très important», confirme Éric Labelle, fiscaliste chez Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton. S'il part officiellement avant le 60e mois, il ne paie pas d'impôt de départ sur le gain de ses avoirs. S'il part après, ses gains sur cinq ans deviennent pleinement imposés. Cette disposition concerne seulement l'impôt sur la plus-value de ses biens (gain en capital). Durant sa résidence au Canada, Villeneuve devait tout de même payer des impôts sur tous ses revenus mondiaux, même sur les intérêts et dividendes d'un portefeuille qui serait resté dans un paradis fiscal. Par contre, à l'avenir, il ne paiera pas d'impôt sur ses revenus et placements, puisqu'il n'y a pas de tels impôts dans la principauté d'Andorre, où Jacques Villeneuve est maintenant résidant. Un autre paradis fiscal Officiellement, Jacques Villeneuve a quitté la Suisse pour s'établir au Québec en 2007. Toutefois, le coureur automobile avait un pied-à-terre à Montréal dès 2003, a appris La Presse. L'ex-pilote de Formule 1 s'est alors acheté un penthouse par l'entremise d'une société des îles Vierges britanniques, paradis fiscal des Antilles. Cette société, baptisée Sapphire Blue Holdings, a comme adresse une boîte postale à Tortola, capitale des îles Vierges britanniques, où les entreprises ne paient pas d'impôts. Nulle part le nom de Jacques Villeneuve ne figure sur l'acte d'achat notarié de la transaction, en 2003, ni sur l'emprunt hypothécaire avec la Banque HSBC, en 2005. Sapphire était alors représentée par un avocat de Montréal. Une transaction subséquente précise cependant que Jacques Villeneuve est actionnaire à plus de 90% de Sapphire. Le condo a été acheté de sa soeur, Mélanie Villeneuve, en 2003. Sapphire l'a payé 400 000$, soit près de 300 000$ de moins que ce que Mélanie Villeneuve avait elle-même payé un an plus tôt. Les trois fiscalistes consultés par La Presse ne s'expliquent pas pourquoi une société des îles Vierges britanniques a été utilisée. Selon eux, Sapphire a probablement dû payer au Canada un impôt net de 25% sur le gain de 1,1 million réalisé à la vente du condo, en 2008, même si la société était incorporée dans un paradis fiscal. Résidence principale et secondaire Au Canada, Jacques Villeneuve a toujours deux propriétés connues situées à Westmount et à Harrington, dans les Laurentides. Le fisc permet au contribuable de choisir une propriété comme résidence principale, qui devient alors non imposable. La maison rénovée de Westmount, en vente à 7,5 millions de dollars, a été payée 3 millions, ce qui permet d'espérer un gain appréciable. La propriété de Harrington a été payée 1 million et elle est en vente à 5 millions. L'une des deux propriétés - idéalement celle qui procure le plus grand gain - sera non imposable, à titre de résidence principale. Quant à l'autre, elle pourrait également être exemptée d'impôts, selon l'historique fiscal de Villeneuve. En effet, selon les règles fiscales canadiennes, le pilote peut utiliser des pertes en capital réalisées au Canada ou ailleurs dans le monde durant son séjour ici pour réduire ou annuler le gain en capital qu'il réalisera à la vente de ses biens ici. «Il ne fait rien d'illégal. Au fond, il structure ses affaires pour payer le moins d'impôt possible, comme c'est le cas des autres coureurs automobiles», dit Éric Labelle. Son parcours fiscal Jacques Villeneuve a récemment déclaré que l'impôt n'a rien à voir avec son départ du Québec. La Presse a fait le tour de ses activités pour constater que les questions fiscales ont pourtant été bien présentes au fil de sa carrière. PRINCIPAUTÉ DE MONACO Ligne de départ Années de résidence: 1996-2002 0% Pas d'impôt sur le revenu des particuliers, ni sur les plus-values ni sur le capital. SUISSE, CANTON DE VAUD (OLLON) 1er virage Années de résidence: 2002-2007 Forfait fiscal Plutôt que de remplir un document dans lequel il déclare ses revenus et ses placements, le contribuable négocie une somme annuelle forfaitaire avec les autorités fiscales, calculée selon ses dépenses en Suisse. ÎLES VIERGES BRITANNIQUES Arrêt aux puits Année de création de la société d'investissement: 2003 0% Pas d'impôt sur le revenu des sociétés ni sur les gains en capital. «Dans les îles Vierges britanniques, c'est très facile de créer des sociétés-écrans. Ça coûte très peu cher, quelques centaines de dollars. Ça permet aux gens de faire des investissements et de détenir des comptes de façon anonyme, au moyen de prête-noms.» - Entretien téléphonique avec La Presse de Gabriel Zucman, chercheur à l'École d'économie de Paris et auteur de l'article «Missing Wealth of Nations», portant sur les paradis fiscaux. QUÉBEC La chicane Années de résidence: 2007-2012 49,97% Taux d'imposition marginal sur les revenus de 49,97%. Gain en capital imposé à 50%. Pleine exemption d'impôts sur la résidence principale. Exemption sur le gain en capital des avoirs étrangers pour les contribuables qui résident cinq ans ou moins. PRINCIPAUTÉ D'ANDORRE Ligne d'arrivée: Années de résidence: 2012 0% Aucun impôt direct ni sur les revenus de travail et de placements ni sur les successions pour les personnes physiques ayant leur résidence en Andorre.
  2. Charest: «On n'a pas de comptes à rendre à Ottawa» Jean Charest (Photo David Boily, La Presse) Photo David Boily, La Presse Denis Lessard La Presse Le gouvernement du Québec n’a pas de comptes à rendre à Ottawa quant à sa décision de baisser les impôts avec l’argent transmis par Ottawa au printemps 2007, a soutenu jeudi le premier ministre Jean Charest. Il répliquait sans ménagement aux propos tenus plus tôt par le premier ministre Stephen Harper pour qui le Québec ne pouvait à la fois prétendre que le déséquilibre fiscal demeurait et baisser les impôts pour ses contribuables. «Baisser les impôts pour la classe moyenne, j’y tenais beaucoup. Les économistes reconnaissent que c’est la raison pour laquelle l’économie du Québec va tirer son épingle du jeu malgré le ralentissement (économique)», a soutenu M. Charest à l’arrivée à la réunion présessionnelle de son caucus. «Je n’ai pas de comptes à rendre au gouvernement fédéral sur la gestion des fonds au Québec», a-t-il laissé tomber. Pour lui le règlement du problème du déséquilibre fiscal passe aussi par une solution au financement de l’éducation post-secondaire, malmenée par les coupures d’Ottawa dans les années 1990. «Comme premier ministre du Québec je vous dis que ce n’est pas réglé et qu’on va continuer à réclamer du financement pour le post-secondaire», a déclaré M. Charest.
  3. " Moins il y a de liberté, moins il y a de richesse " Les Affaires, 2 août 2008 Le Québec fait piètre figure en termes de ce que vous appelez la " liberté économique ". Que faire pour améliorer la situation ? En effet, selon notre récente étude Economic Freedom of North America, le Québec possède un des niveaux de liberté économique les plus bas parmi les États de l'Amérique du Nord. Nous nous classons au 59e rang sur 60 ! Pour s'améliorer, le Québec doit réduire la taille de l'État, alléger le fardeau fiscal et éliminer les entraves au marché du travail. Par exemple, sur le plan fiscal, le Québec se classe 60e en Amérique. L'élimination totale de la taxe sur le capital pour les entreprises et la diminution des taux d'imposition marginaux pour les particuliers seraient deux mesures qui aideraient beaucoup. Quelles sont les entraves dans le marché du travail ? Le marché du travail au Québec est également plus contraignant qu'ailleurs, avec un salaire minimum et un taux de syndicalisation plus élevés. Par exemple, il est beaucoup plus facile de se syndiquer ici, au Québec, qu'ailleurs en Amérique du Nord. De plus, il y a des lois comme celles régissant les heures d'affaires qui réduisent la liberté économique et compliquent la vie des entrepreneurs. En quoi la liberté économique est-elle importante ? Parce qu'il y a un lien direct entre richesse et liberté économique. Moins il y a de liberté, moins il y a de richesse. Moins il y a de restrictions, plus il y a de possibilités et plus grande est la prospérité. Les Québécois ont moins de choix économiques et cela se reflète dans leur richesse. Seulement 1,8 % de la population gagne plus de 100 000 $ par année. Comment se classe le Canada à l'échelle mondiale ? Selon l'étude Economic Freedom of the World de 2004, le Canada était en 5e place, ex aequo avec les États-Unis et la Grande-Bretagne. Les premiers pays étaient, dans l'ordre, Hong-Kong, Singapour, la Nouvelle-Zélande et la Suisse. Le Québec ne figure pas dans cette étude. C'est précisément pour comparer les territoires à l'intérieur des États-Unis et du Canada qu'on publie Economic Freedom of North America. On constate qu'il y a une grande divergence entre les États américains et les provinces canadiennes.
  4. Au niveau des impôts, quelle est la difference entre la vente d'un immeuble qui est considérée comme un gain en capitale ou comme un profit d'entreprise?
  5. Certains sur ce forum aime bien dépeindre Montréal (et le Québec par association) comme un endroit où les régulations et l'imposition rendent la vie difficile au commerce et à l'activité économique dans son ensemble. Une étude de KPMG place cependant Montréal au 4e rang d'une sélection de 51 villes pour son niveau de compétitivité fiscale. Le hic? C'est que Toronto et Vancouver figurent parmis les villes qui se classent devant Montréal. Deux constats s'imposent ici : - Montréal, globalement, est extrêmement attirante pour l'établissement de nouvelles entreprises. - Montréal, localement, est peut-être moins attirant. Le deuxième constat est difficilement un défaut que l'on pourrait qualifier d'accablant de l'administration régionale. On accuserait donc Montréal de ne pas être plus catholique que le pape? Il faudrait être la ville la plus "lousse" fiscalement du monde industrialisé pour satisfaire certain. Il est normal que Montréal perde "minimalement" au change quand on la compare à des villes situés dans des juridictions où le panier de services publics sont beaucoup moindre. La ville reste néanmoins extrêmement compétitive en terme d'attraction d'activité commerciale. SOURCE : L'étude de KPMG : http://www.ledevoir.com/documents/pdf/rapportkpmgfiscalite.pdf SOURCE : L'article du devoir : http://www.ledevoir.com/economie/actualites-economiques/475363/fiscalite-le-canada-soigne-bien-les-entreprises-selon-le-classement-de-kpmg?utm_campaign=Autopost&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Facebook#link_time=1468410135
  6. Québec devra plier sur les paradis fiscaux Publié le 16 février 2009 à 06h13 | Mis à jour à 06h16 Francis Vailles La Presse (Montréal) Alors que le gouvernement du Québec est au coeur d'une bataille contre l'audace fiscale des entreprises, tout indique qu'il devra reculer sur un élément important impliquant des paradis fiscaux, comme l'a fait récemment fait le fédéral. Dans le dernier budget, le ministre canadien des Finances, Jim Flaherty, a abandonné un article de la Loi de l'impôt qui, s'il avait été mis en vigueur, aurait fermé la porte à un stratagème utilisé par les multinationales. L'article de loi 18.2 devait entrer en vigueur en 2012. Essentiellement, par l'entremise d'un paradis fiscal comme la Barbade, les multinationales canadiennes sont en mesure d'obtenir deux déductions d'impôts pour une même dépense d'intérêts encourues sur un emprunt servant à investir à l'étranger. En mai 2007, Jim Flaherty considérait ce stratagème comme de l'évitement fiscal, ce qui l'avait amené à modifier la Loi, en décembre 2007, pour en interdire l'utilisation. Mais en janvier 2009, dans le budget, le ministre s'est finalement rangé à l'avis du Groupe consultatif sur le régime canadien de fiscalité internationale qui demandait l'abandon de cet article 18.2. Aujourd'hui, c'est le gouvernement du Québec qui est pris avec ce problème. En effet, le Québec avait emboîté le pas au fédéral, bloquant lui aussi le stratagème. Ainsi, à l'heure actuelle, le stratagème est interdit au Québec à partir de 2012, mais permis ailleurs au Canada. Au ministère des Finances du Québec, on est peu loquace. «Les décisions concernant l'harmonisation de la législation québécoise aux mesures fiscales contenues dans le dernier budget fédéral seront annoncées lors du prochain budget du Québec», nous a indiqué la porte-parole, Catherine Poulin. Selon nos informations, le Ministère devra se plier à la volonté des entreprises, lui aussi, question de ne pas pénaliser les entreprises du Québec par rapport à celles des autres provinces. Audace fiscale Pour le ministère des Finances du Québec, cette situation survient en pleine période de consultation sur les «planifications fiscales agressives», définies comme des opérations d'évitement fiscal respectant la lettre de la loi, mais non l'esprit. Le gouvernement songe à obliger les entreprises à divulguer les opérations menant à un avantage fiscal. À défaut de divulguer l'opération dans les 30 jours, les entreprises s'exposeraient à des pénalités variant entre 10 000$ et 100 000$. La communauté d'affaires a réagi promptement à cette consultation, demandant cependant qu'elle soit allongée d'un mois, ce qui a été accordé. Les intéressés ont donc jusqu'au 1er avril pour soumettre leur mémoire. Dans le cas de l'article 18.2, la communauté d'affaires a fait d'intenses pressions auprès du fédéral et du Groupe pour que l'article soit abrogé. Deux arguments ont prévalu. D'abord, plusieurs autres pays permettent la double déductibilité des intérêts, disent-ils, et l'interdiction d'Ottawa diminuerait la compétitivité des entreprises canadiennes. Ensuite, le perdant d'un tel stratagème utilisé par les multinationales canadiennes n'est pas le fisc canadien, mais le fisc étranger. En effet, si les multinationales canadiennes investissaient dans un tiers pays sans passer par un paradis fiscal, leur emprunt au Canada pour ce faire serait tout aussi déductible. Les opposants au stratagème, tel André Lareau, de l'Université Laval, estiment que les multinationales contournent l'esprit des lois fiscales, selon lesquelles une seule déduction d'impôts peut être permise pour une même dépense, déduction qui doit éventuellement procurer un revenu imposable. Quoi qu'il en soit, les études réalisées pour le Groupe consultatif devraient nous éclairer. Elles n'ont toutefois pas encore été rendues publiques, même si le Groupe a publié son rapport final. Au ministère canadien des Finances, on justifie le délai de quelques semaines par l'obligation de traduire les études en français.
  7. Pas de hausses de taxes à Montréal a dernière campagne électorale, à geler le «fardeau fiscal global». (Photo Armand Trottier, archives La Presse)"> Le président du comité exécutif et responsable des finances à la Ville de Montréal, Frank Zampino (à gauche), peut compter sur 31 millions de dollars supplémentaires pour boucler son budget 2008. Le maire Gérald Tremblay (à droite) s’était engagé, lors de la dernière campagne électorale, à geler le «fardeau fiscal global». Photo Armand Trottier, archives La Presse Sébastien Rodrigue La Presse Pour la troisième année consécutive, l’administration Tremblay-Zampino prévoit équilibrer son prochain budget sans augmenter le fardeau fiscal des contribuables, confirme le président du comité exécutif et responsable des finances, Frank Zampino. La Ville de Montréal anticipe des surplus budgétaires de près de 84 millions alors que le budget 2007 prévoyait plutôt 53 millions. Frank Zampino peut donc compter sur environ 31 millions supplémentaires pour boucler son budget 2008, a-t-on appris. «Si tout va bien, je pense qu’on sera en mesure cette année de déposer un budget avec un fardeau fiscal qui ne sera pas augmenté», prédit-il. La Ville de Montréal présente son budget à la fin du mois de novembre et l’adopte avant la pause du temps des Fêtes. Le maire Gérald Tremblay s’est engagé lors de la dernière campagne électorale à geler le «fardeau fiscal global». Le maire avait même récrit le budget 2006 après avoir prévu des hausses de taxes dans la première version. Les arrondissements pourraient tout de même adopter une taxe locale, comme l’ont fait quatre arrondissements en 2007. Les surplus s’expliquent notamment par des revenus plus importants (20 millions) en droits de mutation immobilière. La Ville a aussi été plus chanceuse que prévu dans la contestation des évaluations foncières, ce qui dégage environ 20 millions de dollars. Montréal bénéficie enfin des conséquences du gel de l’embauche décrété en 2006. L’administration Tremblay-Zampino a mis en place un programme pour réduire les dépenses de 100 millions par année et éliminer 1000 postes par attrition d’ici 2009. «On prévoit des économies de 35 millions, dont environ 30 millions au chapitre de la rémunération», explique M. Zampino. Les effets du nouveau rôle d’évaluation continueront néanmoins de se faire sentir en 2008. À Montréal, la valeur des propriétés augmentera progressivement pendant quatre ans. En 2008, la moitié de l’augmentation de la valeur foncière sera donc appliquée. Les propriétaires qui font l’objet de hausses plus importantes que la moyenne auront donc une hausse de leur impôt foncier, tandis que ceux en-dessous de la moyenne bénéficieront d’une réduction. Par ailleurs, Montréal a déjà annoncé son intention de maintenir tels quels les tarifs des parcomètres en 2008 après deux années de hausses consécutives. Pour respecter sa promesse de ne pas augmenter l’impôt foncier durant son second mandat, Gérald Tremblay s’était notamment servi des parcomètres afin d’augmenter les revenus en 2006 et en 2007. Les revenus des parcomètres ont ainsi crû de 30 millions de dollars, avec lesquels on a financé l’opération propreté. Le responsable des finances ajoute que son administration prévoit aussi maintenir ses investissements dans la rénovation des infrastructures en 2008. En 2007, les investissements dans les infrastructures s’élevaient à un peu plus de 700 millions. Le programme triennal d’immobilisation prévoyait cette année 126 millions pour le réseau d’eau potable et 145 millions pour les rues. L’administration avait aussi prévu la création d’un fonds de 180 millions en trois ans pour financer des projets d’envergure. En 2008, Montréal pourrait compter sur de nouvelles sources de revenus comme la taxation des stationnements commerciaux et des billets de spectacle si le projet de loi 22 est adopté. À l’instar des grandes villes canadiennes, l’administration Tremblay-Zampino demande toutefois au gouvernement Harper de lui remettre une portion de la taxe de vente au lieu d’en réduire le pourcentage comme il l’avait promis aux dernières élections. Si les finances de la Ville de Montréal vont bien, il en va autrement de celles de la Société de transport de Montréal. La STM anticipe en 2007 un déficit de 17,9 millions qui s’ajoutera au déficit accumulé de 13,6 millions figurant à son dernier rapport financier. M. Zampino indique que Montréal pourrait augmenter sa contribution annuelle à la STM ou encore utiliser ses surplus pour combler ce déficit. La STM pourrait aussi entreprendre un exercice de rationalisation d’ici la fin de l’exercice financier.
  8. L'homme d'affaires aurait monté un projet prometteur, en collaboration avec l'École polytechnique, dans lequel ont investi quelque 2500 investisseurs pour ensuite déménager l'entreprise dans un paradis fiscal. Pour en lire plus...
  9. Le Canada occupe la troisième place parmi 10 pays où le fardeau fiscal des entreprises est le plus léger. Pour en lire plus...
  10. Heinrich Kieber, le spécialiste en technologies informatiques qui est devenu le cauchemar des riches ayant des placements dans le paradis fiscal du Liechtenstein, doit donner sa version des faits jeudi. Pour en lire plus...
  11. Stockton’s bankruptcy California’s Greece A city of nearly 300,000 goes bust. How many more will follow? Jun 30th 2012 | LOS ANGELES | from the print edition IN 2010 the demoralised police of Stockton mounted a roadside sign warning visitors that they were entering the state’s second most dangerous city. “Stop laying off cops!” the billboard urged. The fiscally troubled city of 290,000, in California’s depressed Central Valley, was slashing spending and cutting services in order to meet pension and health-care obligations. Violent crime had soared. Two years later, with crime still sky-high and city services even leaner, Stockton has given up. On June 26th, after months of closed-door negotiations with its creditors failed, the city council endorsed a budget plan to file for bankruptcy. The biggest municipal insolvency in American history will hit bondholders as well as former public workers whose health-care costs the city had covered. At the budget meeting former city workers with chronic medical conditions made heartfelt pleas to find another way out. But there were no more options. “Stockton is a cautionary tale about what happens if you don’t make dramatic fiscal changes to react to the broader economic picture,” says Chris Hoene of the National League of Cities, a think-tank in Washington DC. In the mid-1990s house prices soared and taxes flooded in. The city accumulated obligations to its workers and made rash spending pledges. When the market went sour in 2007-08 Stockton was left more exposed than most. Revenues dried up. As unemployment climbed above 20%, its foreclosure rate became one of the highest in the nation, where it remains. How many more Stocktons will America see? Perhaps fewer than some expect. “A great untold story is that a lot of cities are making dramatic decisions to bring their long-term fiscal solvency into line”, says Mr Hoene. Most municipalities were not as badly hit as Stockton, and so have more time to act on employee and retirement costs. Recent votes to cut pension benefits in San Jose and San Diego point to a growing reformist mood among some citizens. But in some respects Stockton is not alone. Like many Californian cities, notes Kevin Klowden of the Milken Institute in Los Angeles, it handed management of its pensions to CalPERS, a statewide fund. This locked it into obligations that reduced its budgetary autonomy. Even now it has no plans to cut pensions, for fear of incurring costly lawsuits. Other cities face similar difficulties, and demography is not on their side. Like Greece in the euro zone, Stockton represents a difference of degree, not of kind. http://www.economist.com/node/21557768
  12. Les défis économiques et financiers abondent pour le gouvernement minoritaire du premier ministre conservateur Stephen Harper, au lendemain de sa réélection. Pour en lire plus...
  13. Ottawa's '09 deficit may hit $14B Nov 20, 2008 11:16 AM Les Whittington OTTAWA BUREAU OTTAWA–An independent parliamentary review of the Harper government's finances concludes the federal Conservatives are likely to run budget deficits "in the near term," possibly beginning this year. The report by Kevin Page, the new Parliamentary Budget Officer, says the weaker economic outlook poses a risk to the government's attempts to achieve its "short-term and medium-term fiscal targets." Assuming no changes in Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's policies, "the downgraded economic outlook suggests the government would record modest and temporary deficits in the near term,"according to the analysis released this morning. While a budget surplus is still possible this year, the report warns the negative impact on government revenues because of the turmoil on financial markets is not yet known. "As a result, a deficit for this (2008-09) fiscal year is a distinct possibility." Page says the deterioration of the federal government's financial picture in the first nine months of 2008 is not so much the result of the weakened economy as Flaherty's policies, particularly the latest reduction in the GST tax and reduced corporate income taxes. This has caused federal revenues to decline by $353 million in the first nine months of this year. The budget office projects a budget deficit of $3.9 billion in 2009-10, although it adds that, if the economic downturn proves worse than expected, next year's federal deficit could hit $14 billion. The budget office was created in 2006 to provide independent fiscal forecasts for parliamentarians. This is Page's first budgetary study. Parliament's budget watchdog said Thursday Ottawa is in danger of running deficits starting this year, ballooning to as high as $13.8-billion next year, before returning to a surplus position starting in 2011-12. Nevertheless, the watchdog still projects a surplus for this fiscal year of at least $1.7-billion. Its "average" scenario, which is midway between worst- and best-case, projects a $3.9-billion deficit next year and a $1.4-billion shortfall in 2010-11. The outlook comes from the Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer, a newly-created body that aims to provide non-partisan economic analysis. It used nearly a dozen private-sector forecasts to develop its outlook, and made judgments as how certain changes in growth would affect federal coffers. It made its budget deficit call based on what is expected to be weak economic growth for the country as the global economy tries to pull itself out of a financial crisis. The "external factors" that supported recent growth in Canada have "reversed course," the office's report said. "The weaker Canadian outlook ... poses a risk for the government to achieve its stated short-term and medium-term fiscal targets," the budget officer, Kevin Page, said his outlook. "Assuming no major fiscal policy changes, the downgraded economic outlook suggests the government would record modest and temporary deficits in the near term." The budget office also warned that a deficit for this fiscal year remains "a distinct possibility," due to decisions to cut the GST and corporate taxes - and not weakened economic conditions. But officially, the office projects a surplus this fiscal year as low as $1.7-billion to as much as $6-billion. "While the year-to-date fiscal results, as well as all of our projection scenarios, suggest a modest surplus in 2008-09, it will be some time before the implications for [government] revenues of the recent financial market turmoil are known." Opposition politicians immediately pounced on the report, saying misguided Conservative decisions on spending and tax cuts put the country into a deficit position. "Will the Prime Minister admit, coming from his own appointee, Kevin Page, that he is no longer anywhere to hide? The deficit is not the fault of the international community. He and his reckless Finance Minister are the sole proprietors of Canada's deficit," John McCallum, head of the Liberal Party's economic team, said during debate in the House of Commons. Stephen Harper, the Prime Minister, responded: "We need to correct the facts. There are numerous prognostications about the future. And the Minister of Finance will deliver his fiscal update in the week to come -- and that will provide the facts to all members of Parliament." The fiscal update, scheduled for some time next week, will provide the Department of Finance's outlook on the economy. But Mr. Page's report steals some of the thunder. Mr. Harper added Thursday Canada remains in a surplus position, and is one of the few countries in the industrialized world that can boast about that during this current downturn. Meanwhile, Mr. Page said there are a range of policy initiatives the government can enact to address the current economic slowdown, among them a stimulus package to boost demand. But, he added, "the key challenge for policymakers is to address short-term pressures while maintaining a longer-term vision, enacting policies that are fiscally sustainable and address the fundamental long-term challenges." Chief among those long-term challenges is boosting Canada's lacklustre productivity growth. "With population ageing reducing growth in the labour force going forward, fostering productivity growth will be absolutely essential for ensuring sustained increases in living standards," Mr. Page said. In the Speech from the Throne, delivered Wednesday, the government warned of "misguided" attempts to stay in a budget surplus position given the state of the global economy. The last time Ottawa recorded a deficit was in 1996-97, when former finance minister and prime minister Paul Martin oversaw a shortfall of $8.7-billion. [email protected]
  14. Aeroports de Montreal Releases its Fiscal 2006 Results - Passenger traffic up by 5.0% - Revenues increase by 12.5% - EBITDA rises by 13.0% MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(CCNMatthews - March 7, 2007) - Aeroports de Montreal today announced its audited consolidated financial results for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2006. These results are accompanied by data on passenger traffic and aircraft movements at Montreal-Trudeau and Montreal-Mirabel international airports. Highlights EBITDA (excess of revenues over expenses before interest, income taxes, amortization and share in the net gain of investments at equity value) totalled $117.1 million for the year, an increase of $13.5 million, or 13.0%, over fiscal 2005. During fiscal 2006, the Corporation continued work on its various capital investment programs, mainly at Montreal-Trudeau. Work focused on modernization of the domestic jetty and expansion of the domestic arrivals hall, among other areas. In addition, excavation and foundation work progressed for the future transborder departures area and the hotel. The Corporation invested a total of $83.0 million during fiscal 2006, compared to $192.5 million in 2005. Investments in the airports are financed by cash flows from airport operations, including airport improvement fees ($46.7 million), and by long-term debt ($36.3 million). In early October, the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) rendered its decision in the case of the illegal expropriation of Budapest-Ferihegy International Airport on January 1, 2002. The Hungarian government complied with the verdict and paid the agreed amount of $97.7 million Cdn ($83.8 million US). In accordance with existing agreements, Aeroports de Montreal's subsidiary is entitled to 55% of this amount, or $53.7 million Cdn ($46.1 million US). The related accounting gain is reflected in the share in the net gain of investments at equity value, which totals $36.6 million Cdn. Results Consolidated revenues were $285.2 million for fiscal 2006, an increase of $31.8 million, or 12.5%, over the previous year. Aeronautical and commercial revenues were the main contributors to this increase. Operating costs (excluding municipal taxes) were $105.7 million for the year, up $7.6 million or 7.7%, from 2005. This variance is partly due to the normal increase in operating costs following the June 2005 start-up of the new international jetty at Montreal-Trudeau. Municipal taxes were up by 9.6% for the year under review, rising to $34.1 million in fiscal 2006 from $31.1 million in 2005. This increase is attributable to Montreal-Trudeau's higher property valuation following the start-up of the new facilities that are part of the airport expansion program. ADM is the most taxed Canadian airport authority, paying up to four times more per passenger than the other major Canadian airports. Like many other companies, ADM considers EBITDA to be the best indicator for judging the Corporation's ability to meet its financial obligations. EBITDA was $117.1 million for the year under review, against $103.6 million for 2005, an increase of $13.5 million, or 13.0%. Amortization was $72.1 million in 2006, representing an increase of $7.0 million, or 10.8%, over the prior year. This increase is mainly due to the start-up of several new facilities at Montreal-Trudeau, including the international jetty (June 2005), the public international arrivals hall (December 2005) and the new multi-level parking lot (February 2006). Interest on long-term bonds totalled $68.9 million for the period under review, up $18.0 million, or 35.4%, over fiscal 2005. This variance is attributable to a decrease in the amount of capitalized interest on construction in progress, as well as the issuance of a new series of revenue bonds in September 2005. The Corporation reported an excess of revenues over expenses of $19.2 million for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2006, compared with a shortfall of $14.2 million for the prior year, an improvement of $33.4 million. This variance is mainly due to the increase in the share of earnings of Aeroports de Montreal's subsidiary (including the accounting gain resulting from the compensation awarded for the expropriation of Budapest-Ferihegy International Airport) and the higher EBITDA, all of which was offset by the increased financing expenses and amortization. Financial highlights: For the year ended December 31: ------------------------------------------------------------------- (in millions of dollars) 2006 2005 Variance (%) ------------------------------------------------------------------- Revenues 285.2 253.4 12.5 ------------------------------------------------------------------- Operating costs (excluding municipal taxes) 105.7 98.1 7.7 Municipal taxes 34.1 31.1 9.6 Rent paid to Transport Canada 21.8 20.8 4.8 Amortization 72.1 65.1 10.8 Interest on long-term bonds 68.9 50.9 35.4 ------------------------------------------------------------------- Total expenses 302.6 266.0 13.8 ------------------------------------------------------------------- Shortfall of revenues over expenses (before share of investments at equity value) (17.4) (12.6) 38.1 ------------------------------------------------------------------- ------------------------------------------------------------------- Share in the net gain (loss) of investments at equity value 36.6 (1.6) 2,387.5 ------------------------------------------------------------------- Excess (shortfall) of revenues over expenses 19.2 (14.2) 235.2 ------------------------------------------------------------------- ------------------------------------------------------------------- Cash flows from operating activities (before changes in non-cash working capital items) 46.7 49.4 (5.5) ------------------------------------------------------------------- EBITDA 117.1 103.6 13.0 ------------------------------------------------------------------- Passenger traffic Passenger traffic at Montreal-Trudeau increased by 5.0% in 2006, to a new record of 11.4 million passengers enplaned/deplaned. International traffic showed the greatest increase at 6.9%, compared with 4.7% and 3.2% for the domestic and transborder sectors respectively. Passenger traffic ---------------------------------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------------------------------- Aeroports de Montreal 2006 2005 Variance (%) ---------------------------------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------------------------------- January 903,352 895,265 0.9 February 870,153 854,276 1.9 March 997,014 930,222 7.2 ---------------------------------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------------------------------- 1st quarter 2,770,519 2,679,763 3.4 ---------------------------------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------------------------------- April 916,582 860,345 6.5 May 938,606 866,926 8.3 June 999,814 957,146 4.5 ---------------------------------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------------------------------- 2nd quarter 2,855,002 2,684,417 6.4 ---------------------------------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------------------------------- July 1,054,221 1,042,952 1.1 August 1,091,206 1,054,465 3.5 September 976,930 952,257 2.6 ---------------------------------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------------------------------- 3rd quarter 3,122,357 3,049,674 2.4 ---------------------------------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------------------------------- October 940,368 905,132 3.9 November 824,452 756,767 8.9 December 921,372 817,025 12.8 ---------------------------------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------------------------------- 4th quarter 2,686,192 2,478,924 8.4 ---------------------------------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------------------------------- Entire year 11,434,070 10,892,778 5.0 ---------------------------------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------------------------------- Source: Aeroports de Montreal, preliminary figures Aircraft movements There were a total of 235,393 aircraft movements at Aeroports de Montreal in fiscal 2006, representing a 1.5% increase over 2005. Aircraft movements at Montreal-Trudeau rose by 2.5%, to 213,468, while those at Montreal- Mirabel dropped by 7.3%, to 21,925. Aircraft movements ------------------------------------------------------------------- 2006 2005 Variance (%) ------------------------------------------------------------------- Montreal-Trudeau 213,468 208,342 2.5 ------------------------------------------------------------------- Montreal-Mirabel 21,925 23,640 (7.3) ------------------------------------------------------------------- Aeroports de Montreal 235,393 231,982 1.5 ------------------------------------------------------------------- Source: Aeroports de Montreal, preliminary figures
  15. Aujourd'hui, les Québécois sont affranchis de l'impôt Les Québécois gagnent 76 489$ en moyenne ; 46% va à l'impôt. L'Institut Fraser a fixé au 19 juin la journée d'affranchissement de l'impôt pour les Québécois. Cela constitue une amélioration par rapport à l'an dernier, cette journée étant alors tombée le 24 juin. Cette année, la famille québécoise moyenne gagnera 76 489 $. Elle paiera un total de 35 454 $ en impôts, soit 46,4 pour cent de son revenu total. A l'échelle nationale, la journée où les Canadiens finissent de payer leur fardeau fiscal imposé par le gouvernement et commencent enfin à travailler pour eux-mêmes, arrive le 14 juin, soit quatre jours plus tôt qu'en 2007. L'organisme indépendant de recherche fait remarquer que la baisse de la taxe sur les produits et services (TPS) par le gouvernement fédéral de six à cinq pour cent, en vigueur depuis le 1er janvier 2008, a devancé la journée d'affranchissement de l'impôt de deux jours. Le fait que 2008 soit une année bissextile permet également de devancer d'une journée la date de l'affranchissement de l'impôt. Le Québec, est l'une des trois dernières provinces canadiennes à atteindre l'affranchissement avec la Saskatchewan et Terre-Neuve-et-Labrador. Nathalie Elgrably-Lévy, économiste principale pour le Québec et la francophonie à l'Institut Fraser, souligne que le fardeau fiscal des Québécois est parmi les plus lourds au Canada. Elle fait remarquer qu'en Ontario, par exemple, les contribuables célèbrent la journée d'affranchissement de l'impôt 10 jours avant les Québécois. L'Alberta est la première province à atteindre la journée de l'affranchissement de l'impôt, soit le 28 mai. Elle est suivie par le Nouveau-Brunswick (3 juin) et l'Ile-du-Prince-Edouard (4 juin). Viennent ensuite le Manitoba (8 juin), l'Ontario (9 juin), la Nouvelle-Ecosse (12 juin), la Colombie-Britannique (13 juin) et le Québec (19 juin). La Saskatchewan arrive à l'avant-dernier rang (20 juin) et Terre-Neuve-et-Labrador est la dernière province à célébrer la journée d'affranchissement de l'impôt, soit le 30 juin. http://www.lesaffaires.com/article/0/gouvernement/2008-06-19/479160/aujourdhui--les-queteacutebeteacutecois-sont-affranchis-de-limpetocirct.fr.html
  16. not good gents.. Fitch Affirms Province of Quebec at 'AA-'; Outlook Revised to Negative Thu Dec 12, 2013 5:36pm EST * Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release. 0 COMMENTS Fitch Affirms Province of Quebec at 'AA-'; Outlook Revised to Negative Fitch Ratings affirms the 'AA-' long-term ratings on senior unsecured obligations of the Province of Quebec, Canada, as detailed at the end of this release. In addition, Fitch affirms the outstanding 'F1+' short-term ratings on the Province of Quebec. The Rating Outlook is revised to Negative from Stable. SECURITY Senior unsecured obligations are direct and unconditional obligations of the Province to which the Province's full faith and credit is pledged. Commercial paper notes are promissory notes ranking equally with Quebec's other unsubordinated and unsecured indebtedness. For Financement-Quebec, payment of debt service is unconditionally guaranteed by the Province from the consolidated revenue fund. KEY RATING DRIVERS NEGATIVE OUTLOOK BASED ON DELAYED FISCAL BALANCE: The revision of the Outlook on the Province's long-term rating, to Negative from Stable, reflects the delay in achieving budgetary balance, to fiscal 2016 from fiscal 2014. The delay is based on slower economic and revenue performance since the fiscal 2014 budget was tabled and the consequent reduction in forecast economic and revenue growth thereafter. HIGH DEBT: Debt is high relative to resources and has grown as the Province works toward budgetary balance. Debt management is strong and centralized, and the Province maintains ample access to liquidity for both operations and debt service requirements, supporting the 'F1+' short-term rating. FISCAL FLEXIBILITY: Fiscal flexibility has been provided by a willingness to date to adjust tax policy and by progress in constraining spending growth; budgeted contingency funds provide additional cushion. Longer term spending control remains the most persistent risk to fiscal balance, particularly given lower spending growth targets in the revised fiscal consolidation framework. DIVERSE ECONOMY: The economy is large and diverse, and historically slower growing and less wealthy than the Canadian average. Modestly paced growth continues. Vulnerabilities include global trade links, particularly with the U.S. market, and a significant manufacturing sector. SOVEREIGNTY MOVEMENT REMAINS: The sovereignty movement has been a source of uncertainty in the past although it is not a current issue. FINANCEMENT-QUEBEC'S RATING LINKED TO PROVINCE: The rating for Financement-Quebec reflects the credit strength of the Province given the Province's unconditional guarantee. RATING SENSITIVITIES INABILITY TO ACHIEVE ECONOMIC AND FISCAL TARGETS: Additional near-term economic and revenue deterioration, or an inability to attain revised fiscal targets under current forecast trends would result in a rating downgrade. CREDIT PROFILE The revision of the Outlook on Quebec's long-term 'AA-' rating, to Negative from Stable, is based on weaker-than-planned economic and revenue performance since the fiscal 2014 budget was tabled, reducing the province's near-term revenue forecast and resulting in a two-year delay, to fiscal 2016, in achieving fiscal consolidation. Although the revised fiscal framework includes additional corrective actions to return to balance and offset the additional deficit borrowing now expected in fiscal years 2014 and 2015, a higher accumulated debt burden further reverses the progress on debt reduction made by the Province during the decade prior to the last recession. Despite the slow, uneven economic recovery now underway, Quebec's credit quality continues to be supported by careful fiscal and debt management, ample access to debt markets for liquidity needs, and past success of achieving progress in debt reduction and spending control. The Province has drawn on its considerable budgetary flexibility to date as it carries out its fiscal consolidation framework, including raising a variety of taxes and curbing spending growth. The latter is a particularly notable achievement, and Fitch believes the Province has additional flexibility to reduce spending. DEBT BURDEN WILL REMAIN HIGH The Province's high debt remains its most significant long-term credit challenge, in Fitch's view. Outstanding gross debt, including debt of consolidated entities and pension liabilities, was C$191.8 billion in fiscal 2013, equal to 53.6% of GDP. Debt service, at C$7.8 billion in fiscal 2013, consumed 11.5% of fiscal 2013 budgetary revenues, a high but manageable level. Much of the current debt burden stems from accumulated deficits built over prior decades and in the years since the 2008-2009 recession, amounting to C$118.1 billion in fiscal 2013 or 33% of GDP. Total public sector debt, at C$256.4 billion, equals 71.7% of GDP. Under the revised forecast through fiscal 2018, projected gross debt gradually flattens out, albeit at higher levels than envisioned in the government's previous plan. The government forecasts that gross debt will begin to decline as a percent of GDP in fiscal 2015, and its statutory debt burden target includes achieving a gross debt to GDP ratio of 45% and accumulated deficit to GDP of 17%, in fiscal 2026. Debt figures are net of the Generations Fund balance, a reserve for debt reduction, funded at about C$5.2 billion in fiscal 2013. Despite its high debt metrics, the Province has demonstrated broad market access for borrowing and is a sophisticated debt manager. ECONOMIC GROWTH CONTINUES AT SLOWER PACE As of its November 2013 forecast, Quebec's economic performance in 2013 is estimated to have slowed considerably compared to forecast expectations in March 2013 when the government last updated its economic outlook. After rising 1.5% in 2012, real GDP in 2013 is now estimated to rise only 0.9%. Real GDP growth in 2013 was expected to be 1.3% as of the government's March 2013 forecast, and 1.5% in November 2012, when the fiscal 2014 budget was tabled. The disappointing performance is attributed to numerous factors, including continuing weak global economic trends, more modest domestic consumption and much lower inflation. Economic gains are continuing, even if at a slower pace than expected. November 2013 employment rose 0.4% year over year, compared to 1% for Canada; unemployment, at 7.2% in November 2013, was ahead of the 6.9% Canadian level. The revised forecast assumes modest labor market gains through 2013, with the unemployment rate at 7.7% for the year. Forecast expectations for 2014 appear reasonable, in Fitch's view, with higher economic growth rates, albeit off the lower 2013 base. The update assumes real GDP growth accelerating to 1.8% in 2014, unchanged from the March 2013 forecast. Growth going forward is driven in part by the accelerating, but still slow, U.S. recovery, among other factors. The strength of the economic recovery in the U.S., Quebec's main international trading partner, remains a key uncertainty to achieving forecast expectations. The next forecast update will be released in spring 2014, when the fiscal 2015 budget is tabled. DELAYED FISCAL CONSOLIDATION Quebec, as with many Canadian provinces, has been on a multi-year path to restore budgetary balance since the recession of 2008-2009. In its fiscal 2010 budget, the province announced a framework for returning to budgetary balance by fiscal 2014, with gradually diminishing annual deficits. Disappointing 2013 economic performance and its effect on recent actual revenue collections and forecast growth is now prompting a delay, to fiscal 2016, in achieving balance and requiring additional actions to consolidate the budget. To date, the province has relied on considerable fiscal flexibility to diminish projected operating deficits, although in Fitch's view much less flexibility now remains given the extent of actions taken to date. The Province estimates tax rate changes since the framework began will generate a cumulative $6.3 billion in revenues as of fiscal 2014; recent phased-in changes, notably in consumption taxes, are believed to have affected consumer demand, and the government's newly-revised consolidation plan avoids additional tax rate adjustments. Quebec has had notable success in reducing spending growth. The government's revised fiscal framework relies on additional spending controls both to offset lower revenues and absorb certain spending increases (including a recently-announced stimulus program and for retiree obligations). Program spending growth has fallen from an average of 5.6% annually during the fiscal 2007-2010 period, to 1.2% in fiscal 2013; lower than planned spending helped to absorb some of the unexpected revenue weakness experienced during fiscal 2013. The government's revised framework maintains fiscal 2014 spending at the budgeted level, while reducing projected annual growth in fiscal 2015 and beyond to 2%. Fiscal 2014 is now forecast to end with a deficit of $2.5 billion, essentially matching the November 2013 downward revision in own source revenues; fiscal 2014 own source revenue growth is now expected at 2.6%, down from 5.2% in the March 2013 plan. The revenue outlook in fiscal 2015 and beyond also has been lowered accordingly, although newly-announced budget measures reduce the projected fiscal 2015 deficit to $1.75 billion. To offset the higher near term deficits and resulting higher borrowing, the revised framework increases planned deposits to the Generations Fund beginning in fiscal 2017. AFFIRMED RATINGS Fitch's affirmation of the long-term 'AA-' rating and revision to Rating Outlook Negative applies to the following senior unsecured bonds of the Province of Quebec and Financement-Quebec, as follows: Province of Quebec: --Senior unsecured debt; --Local currency long-term rating; --Long-term issuer rating. Financement-Quebec: --Senior unsecured debt; --Local currency long-term rating; --Long-term issuer rating. In addition, Fitch affirms the short-term 'F1+' ratings on the Province of Quebec and Financement-Quebec, as follows: --Province of Quebec short-term issuer rating; --Province of Quebec short-term commercial paper; --Financement-Quebec short-term issuer rating. In accordance with Fitch's policies the issuer appealed and provided additional information to Fitch that resulted in a rating action that is different than the original rating committee outcome. Additional information is available at 'www.fitchratings.com'. Applicable Criteria and Related Research: --'Tax-Supported Rating Criteria', Aug. 14, 2012; --'International Local and Regional Governments Rating Criteria, Outside the United States', April 9, 2013. Applicable Criteria and Related Research: International Local and Regional Governments Rating Criteria http://www.fitchratings.com/creditdesk/reports/report_frame.cfm?rpt_id=704438 T
  17. Méga article très intéressant du magazine The Economist Lien The world economy A glimmer of hope? Apr 23rd 2009 From The Economist print edition The worst thing for the world economy would be to assume the worst is over THE rays are diffuse, but the specks of light are unmistakable. Share prices are up sharply. Even after slipping early this week, two-thirds of the 42 stockmarkets that The Economist tracks have risen in the past six weeks by more than 20%. Different economic indicators from different parts of the world have brightened. China’s economy is picking up. The slump in global manufacturing seems to be easing. Property markets in America and Britain are showing signs of life, as mortgage rates fall and homes become more affordable. Confidence is growing. A widely tracked index of investor sentiment in Germany has turned positive for the first time in almost two years. All this is welcome—not least because the slump has been made so much worse by panic and despair. When the financial system was on the brink of collapse in September, investors shunned all but the safest assets, consumers stopped spending and firms shut down. That plunge into the depths could be succeeded by a virtuous cycle, where the wheels of finance turn again, cheerier consumers open their wallets and ambitious firms turn from hoarding cash to pursuing profits. But, welcome as it is, optimism contains two traps, one obvious, the other more subtle. The obvious trap is that confidence proves misplaced—that the glimmers of hope are misinterpreted as the beginnings of a strong recovery when all they really show is that the rate of decline is slowing. The subtler trap, particularly for politicians, is that confidence and better news create ruinous complacency. Optimism is one thing, but hubris that the world economy is returning to normal could hinder recovery and block policies to protect against a further plunge into the depths. Luminous indicators Begin with those glimmers. It is easy to read too much into the gain in share prices. Stockmarkets usually rally before economies improve, because investors spy the promise of fatter profits before the statisticians document a turnaround. But plenty of rallies fizzle into nothing. Between 1929 and 1932, the Dow Jones Industrial Average soared by more than 20% four times, only to fall back below its previous lows. Today’s crisis has seen five separate rallies in which share prices rose more than 10% only to subside again. The economic statistics are hard to interpret, too. The past six months have seen several slumps, each with a different trajectory. The plunge in manufacturing is in part the result of a huge global inventory adjustment. With unsold goods piling up and finance hard to come by, firms around the world have slashed production even faster than demand has fallen. Once firms have run down their stocks they will start making things again and the manufacturing recession will be past its worst. Even if that moment is at hand, two other slumps are likely to poison the economy for much longer. The most important is the banking crisis and the purge of debt in the bubble economies, especially America and Britain. Demand has plummeted as tighter credit and sinking asset prices have exposed consumers’ excessive borrowing and scared them into saving more. History suggests that such balance-sheet recessions are long and that the recoveries which eventually follow them are feeble. The second slump is in the emerging world, where many economies have been hit by the sudden fall in private cross-border capital flows. Emerging economies, which imported capital worth 5% of their GDP in 2007, now face a world where cautious investors keep their money at home. According to the IMF, banks, firms and governments in the emerging world have some $1.8 trillion-worth of borrowing to roll over this year, much of that in central and eastern Europe. Even if emerging markets escape a full-blown debt crisis, investors’ confidence is unlikely to recover for years. These crises sent the world economy into a decline that, on several measures, has been steeper than the onset of the Depression. The IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook expects global output to shrink by 1.3% this year, its first fall in 60 years. But the collapse has been countered by the most ambitious policy response in history. Central banks have pumped out trillions of dollars of liquidity and, in rising numbers, have resorted to an increasingly exotic arsenal of “unconventional” firepower to ease credit markets and loosen monetary conditions even as policy rates approach zero. Governments have battled to prop up their banks, committing trillions of dollars in the process. The IMF has new money. Every big rich country has bolstered demand with fiscal stimulus (and so have many emerging ones). The rich world’s budget deficits will, on average, reach almost 9% of GDP, six times higher than before the crisis hit. The Depression showed how damaging it can be if governments don’t step in when the rest of the economy seizes up. Yet action on the current scale has never been tried before and nobody knows when it will have an effect—let alone how much difference it will make. Whatever the impact, it would be a mistake to confuse the twitches of an economy on life-support with a lasting recovery. A real recovery depends on government demand being supplanted by sustainable sources of private spending. And here the news is almost uniformly grim. Searching for new demand Take the country many are pinning their hopes on: America. The adjustment in the housing market began earlier there than anywhere else. Prices peaked almost three years ago, and are now down by 30%. Manufacturing production has been falling at an annualised rate of more than 20% for the past three months. And the government’s offsetting policy offensive has been the rich world’s boldest. As the inventory adjustment ends and the stimuli kick in, America’s slump is sure to ease. Cushioned by the government, the economy may even begin to grow again before too long. But it is hard to see the ingredients for a recovery that is robust enough to stop unemployment rising. Weakness abroad will crimp exports. America’s banks are propped up with public capital, but their balance-sheets are clogged with toxic assets. Consumer spending and firms’ investment will be dragged lower by the need to pay back debt and restore savings. This will be a long slog. Private-sector leverage, which rose by 70% of GDP between 2000 and 2008, has barely begun to unwind. At 4%, the household savings rate has jumped sharply from its low of near zero, but it is still far below its post-war average of 7%. Higher unemployment and rising bankruptcies could easily cause a vicious new downward lurch. In Britain, given the size of its finance industry, housing boom and consumer debt, the balance-sheet adjustment will, if anything, be greater. The weaker pound will buoy exports, but fragile public finances suggest that Britain has much less scope to use government spending to cushion the private sector than America does—as this week’s flawed budget made painfully clear (see article). The outlook should in theory be brighter for Germany and Japan. Both have seen output slump faster than in other rich countries because of the collapse in trade and manufacturing, but neither has the huge private borrowing of the sort that haunts the Anglo-Saxon world. Once inventories have adjusted, recovery should come quickly. In practice, though, that seems unlikely, especially in Germany. As the output slump sends Germany’s jobless rate towards double-digits, it is hard to see consumers going on a spending spree. Nor has the government shown much appetite for boosting demand. Germany’s fiscal stimulus, although large by European standards, falls well short of what it could afford. Worse, the country’s banks are still in trouble. Germans did not behave recklessly, but their banks did—along with many others in continental Europe. New figures from the IMF suggest that European banks face some $1.1 trillion in losses, hardly any of which have yet been recognised (see article). This week’s German plan to set up several bad banks was no more than a down payment on the restructuring ahead. Japan has acted more boldly. Its latest package of tax cuts and government spending, unveiled in early April, will provide the biggest fiscal boost, relative to GDP, of any rich country this year. Its economy is likely to perk up, temporarily at least. But its public-debt stock is approaching 200% of GDP, so Japan has scant room for more fiscal stimulus. With export markets weak, demand will soon need to be privately generated at home. But the past two decades offer little evidence that Japan can make that shift. For the time being, the brightest light glows in China, where a huge inventory adjustment has exaggerated the impact of falling foreign demand, and where the government has the cash and determination to prop up domestic spending. China’s stimulus is already bearing fruit. Loans are soaring and infrastructure investment is growing smartly. The IMF’s latest forecast, that China’s economy will grow by 6.5% this year, may prove conservative. Yet even China has its difficulties. Perhaps three-quarters of the growth will come from government demand, particularly infrastructure spending. Not much to glow about Add all this up and the case for optimism fades quickly. The worst is over only in the narrowest sense that the pace of global decline has peaked. Thanks to massive—and unsustainable—fiscal and monetary transfusions, output will eventually stabilise. But in many ways, darker days lie ahead. Despite the scale of the slump, no conventional recovery is in sight. Growth, when it comes, will be too feeble to stop unemployment rising and idle capacity swelling. And for years most of the world’s economies will depend on their governments. Consider what that means. Much of the rich world will see jobless rates that reach double-digits, and then stay there. Deflation—a devastating disease in debt-laden economies—could set in as record economic slack pushes down prices and wages, particularly since headline inflation has already plunged thanks to sinking fuel costs. Public debt will soar because of weak growth, prolonged stimulus spending and the growing costs of cleaning up the financial mess. The OECD’s member countries began the crisis with debt stocks, on average, at 75% of GDP; by 2010 they will reach 100%. One analysis suggests persistent weakness could push the biggest economies’ debt ratios to 140% by 2014. Continuing joblessness, years of weak investment and higher public-debt burdens, in turn, will dent economies’ underlying potential. Although there is no sign that the world economy will return to its trend rate of growth any time soon, it is already clear that this speed limit will be lower than before the crisis hit. Start preparing for the next decade Welcome to an era of diminished expectations and continuing dangers; a world where policymakers must steer between the imminent threat of deflation while countering investors’ (reasonable) fears that swelling public debts and massive monetary easing could eventually lead to high inflation; an uncharted world where government borrowing reaches a scale not seen since the second world war, when capital controls ensured that savings stayed at home. How to cope with these dangers? Certainly not by clutching at scraps of better news. That risks leading to less action right now. Warding off deflation, for instance, will demand more unconventional steps from more central banks for longer than many now seem to foresee. Laggards, such as the European Central Bank, do themselves and the world no favours by holding back. Nor should governments immediately seek to take back the fiscal stimulus. Prolonged economic weakness does far greater damage to public finances than temporary fiscal activism. Remember how Japan snuffed out its recovery in the 1990s by rushing to raise taxes. Japan also put off bank reform. Countries facing big balance-sheet adjustments should heed that lesson and nudge reform along, in particular by doing more to clean up and restructure the banks. Countries with surpluses must encourage private spending at home more vigorously. China’s leaders are still doing too little to boost private citizens’ income and their spending by fostering reforms, from widening health-care coverage to forcing state-owned firms to pay higher dividends. At the same time policymakers must give themselves room to change course in the future. Central banks need to lay out the rules that will govern their exit from exotic forms of policy easing (see article). That may require new tools: the Federal Reserve would gain from being able to issue bonds that could mop up liquidity. All governments, especially those with the ropiest public finances, should think boldly about how to lower their debt ratios in the medium term—in ways that do not choke off nascent private demand. Rather than pushing up tax rates, they should think about raising retirement ages, reining in health costs and broadening the tax base. This weekend many of the world’s finance ministers and central bankers will meet in Washington, DC, for the spring meetings of the IMF and World Bank. Amid rising confidence, they will be tempted to pat themselves on the back. There is no time for that. The worst global slump since the Depression is far from finished. There is work to do.
  18. No surprise here: Harper remains fiscally off balance with Quebec JEFFREY SIMPSON September 24, 2008 at 11:00 PM EDT Right there, in bold type on page 144 of the 2007 budget, the Harper government declared: "Fiscal Balance Has Been Restored." Everywhere Prime Minister Stephen Harper goes in Quebec - the issue being of interest only in that province - he affirms that "we solved the problem of the fiscal imbalance." His Quebec ministers repeat the mantra; his candidates hammer home the message. The inference: Vote for us because we handed over all that money to Quebec (and the other provinces), just as we promised in the 2006 campaign. Case closed. Except that, as anyone with the slightest sense of Quebec could have predicted, the appetite there only grows with the eating. "The fiscal imbalance, according to us, is not yet solved," proclaims Quebec Finance Minister Monique Jérôme-Forget. Things are much better, she acknowledges. But, "is it finished?" she asks. "No." Quebec Premier Jean Charest also insists more money is needed to "solve" the problem. And, by the way, how about handing over all money and federal jurisdiction over "culture and communications," so that Quebec can achieve "cultural sovereignty"? And, while you're at it, Mr. Harper, hurry up with that promise to eliminate Ottawa's power to spend any money in areas of provincial jurisdiction. Mr. Charest has learned the ways of a Quebec premier. Always demand. Never be satisfied. Keep the heat on. Position yourself as the "defender" of Quebec's interests. Insist on more money and power from Ottawa. Mr. Harper ought to have seen this coming. No federal prime minister can ever out-national the nationalists, and none can ever satisfy any premier, at least not for long. As a result, he and Mr. Charest are no longer political allies, because it does not suit Mr. Charest to be other than a demandeur. Instead, the Action Démocratique has become the Conservatives' closest political ally in Quebec, especially in the rural and small-town ridings the Conservatives target. This is the crowd that whipped up alarm over immigration. This is the party that wants a separate constitution for Quebec, talks always of "autonomy" for Quebec, wants Quebec citizenship, demands a massive transfer of power (and money, of course) from Ottawa to Quebec, and sees Canada as a very loose association of two states. Mr. Harper has never repudiated any of these demands/statements from his erstwhile allies. Mr. Harper, as is his wont, plays with slippery language in Quebec, often using the word "autonomy." Of course, he reminds everyone that he got passed the resolution describing the Québécois as a "nation" within Canada. And he brags about having "solved" the "fiscal imbalance." These ADQ/Conservative voters are exactly those for whom artists whining about cuts to their subsidies are figures of scorn. The brouhaha about Mr. Harper's $46-million in cuts to the arts goes right over their heads, or even fires them up more to support the Conservatives. Mr. Harper says his government has increased cultural spending by 8 per cent. Where he gets that number from is unknown. He did increase the Canada Council's budget over two years by $50-million, and he put $60-million into "local arts and festivals" in the 2007 budget. But the biggest increase this year was for the Francophone Summit in Quebec City, which will happen just after the election - $38-million in 2008 and $13-million in 2007. Is that culture? The $46-million cut is a drop in the bucket of the tens of billions transferred to Quebec and the other provinces to "solve" the fiscal imbalance. The attention being paid to it represents a classic example of the urgent but minor driving out the huge and important. The whole fiscal imbalance was an invention that became a mythology in Quebec: Big, bad, fat Ottawa was rolling in dough, while the poor, beleaguered provinces had too little. A commission, established under the separatist government, produced a sum it claimed would resolve the problem. But even after the Paul Martin government transferred a larger sum than the commission had demanded, the mythology held. Still more was required to solve the "problem," claimed Quebec and those provinces that clung to Quebec's coattails. Mr. Harper, fishing for votes in Quebec and desirous of slimming the federal government anyway, obliged with a cool $40-billion in transfers. "We have solved the fiscal imbalance," he proclaimed. Nice try.
  19. Le Canada occupe la 3e place parmi 10 pays où le fardeau fiscal des entreprises est le plus léger, selon une nouvelle étude. Pour en lire plus...
  20. Les entreprises au pays sont peu imposées 28 juillet 2008 - 11h44 LaPresseAffaires.com Olivier Bourque L'étude confirme, par ailleurs, l'avance de Montréal en matière de recherche et développement. Voilà une étude qui va déboulonner un vieux mythe, celui d’un Canada socialisant et étatisant qui impose lourdement ses entreprises. Selon une étude de KPMG, le Canada occupe la troisième place parmi 10 pays où le fardeau fiscal des entreprises est le plus léger. Seules les entreprises du Mexique et des Pays-Bas sont moins imposées que celles du Canada, indique l’étude. Suivent l’Australie, les États-Unis, le Royaume-Uni, le Japon, l’Allemagne, l’Italie et la France. L’étude a en outre comparé le régime fiscal de 102 villes de 10 pays, en se concentrant sur 35 grandes villes (plus de 2 millions d’habitants). Les experts ont analysé le fardeau fiscal des entreprises dont l’impôt sur les bénéfices, l’impôt sur le capital, les taxes de vente et la taxe foncière. En bref, plus un résultat est bas, plus les taxes imposées aux entreprises sont basses. Sur les 35 grandes villes étudiées, Vancouver arrive quatrième, Montréal, sixième, et Toronto, septième. Les trois premières places vont à des villes de Puerto Rico et du Mexique. L’étude contient une bonne nouvelle pour Montréal. La ville se débrouille très bien dans le domaine de la recherche et du développement où elle se classe au premier rang. Ailleurs au Québec, les villes de Sherbrooke et de Québec se comparent avantageusement à leurs contreparties américaines, notamment en recherche et développement, souligne le rapport de KPMG.
  21. America’s triple A rating is at risk By David Walker Published: May 12 2009 20:06 | Last updated: May 12 2009 20:06 Long before the current financial crisis, nearly two years ago, a little-noticed cloud darkened the horizon for the US government. It was ignored. But now that shadow, in the form of a warning from a top credit rating agency that the nation risked losing its triple A rating if it did not start putting its finances in order, is coming back to haunt us. That warning from Moody’s focused on the exploding healthcare and Social Security costs that threaten to engulf the federal government in debt over coming decades. The facts show we’re in even worse shape now, and there are signs that confidence in America’s ability to control its finances is eroding. Prices have risen on credit default insurance on US government bonds, meaning it costs investors more to protect their investment in Treasury bonds against default than before the crisis hit. It even, briefly, cost more to buy protection on US government debt than on debt issued by McDonald’s. Another warning sign has come from across the Pacific, where the Chinese premier and the head of the People’s Bank of China have expressed concern about America’s longer-term credit worthiness and the value of the dollar. The US, despite the downturn, has the resources, expertise and resilience to restore its economy and meet its obligations. Moreover, many of the trillions of dollars recently funnelled into the financial system will hopefully rescue it and stimulate our economy. The US government has had a triple A credit rating since 1917, but it is unclear how long this will continue to be the case. In my view, either one of two developments could be enough to cause us to lose our top rating. First, while comprehensive healthcare reform is needed, it must not further harm our nation’s financial condition. Doing so would send a signal that fiscal prudence is being ignored in the drive to meet societal wants, further mortgaging the country’s future. Second, failure by the federal government to create a process that would enable tough spending, tax and budget control choices to be made after we turn the corner on the economy would send a signal that our political system is not up to the task of addressing the large, known and growing structural imbalances confronting us. For too long, the US has delayed making the tough but necessary choices needed to reverse its deteriorating financial condition. One could even argue that our government does not deserve a triple A credit rating based on our current financial condition, structural fiscal imbalances and political stalemate. The credit rating agencies have been wildly wrong before, not least with mortgage-backed securities. How can one justify bestowing a triple A rating on an entity with an accumulated negative net worth of more than $11,000bn (€8,000bn, £7,000bn) and additional off-balance sheet obligations of $45,000bn? An entity that is set to run a $1,800bn-plus deficit for the current year and trillion dollar-plus deficits for years to come? I have fought on the front lines of the war for fiscal responsibility for almost six years. We should have been more wary of tax cuts in 2001 without matching spending cuts that would have prevented the budget going deeply into deficit. That mistake was compounded in 2003, when President George W. Bush proposed expanding Medicare to include a prescription drug benefit. We must learn from past mistakes. Fiscal irresponsibility comes in two primary forms – acts of commission and of omission. Both are in danger of undermining our future. First, Washington is about to embark on another major healthcare reform debate, this time over the need for comprehensive healthcare reform. The debate is driven, in large part, by the recognition that healthcare costs are the single largest contributor to our nation’s fiscal imbalance. It also recognises that the US is the only large industrialised nation without some level of guaranteed health coverage. There is no question that this nation needs to pursue comprehensive healthcare reform that should address the important dimensions of coverage, cost, quality and personal responsibility. But while comprehensive reform is called for and some basic level of universal coverage is appropriate, it is critically important that we not shoot ourselves again. Comprehensive healthcare reform should significantly reduce the huge unfunded healthcare promises we already have (over $36,000bn for Medicare alone as of last September), as well as the large and growing structural deficits that threaten our future. One way out of these problems is for the president and Congress to create a “fiscal future commission” where everything is on the table, including budget controls, entitlement programme reforms and tax increases. This commission should venture beyond Washington’s Beltway to engage the American people, using digital technologies in an unparalleled manner. If it can achieve a predetermined super-majority vote on a package of recommendations, they should be guaranteed a vote in Congress. Recent research conducted for the Peterson Foundation shows that 90 per cent of Americans want the federal government to put its own financial house in order. It also shows that the public supports the creation of a fiscal commission by a two-to-one margin. Yet Washington still sleeps, and it is clear that we cannot count on politicians to make tough transformational changes on multiple fronts using the regular legislative process. We have to act before we face a much larger economic crisis. Let’s not wait until a credit rating downgrade. The time for Washington to wake up is now. David Walker is chief executive of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation and former comptroller general of the US
  22. http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20090508/Toyota_loss_090508/20090508?hub=World