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Found 72 results

  1. Prosperity gap to widen, Conference Board says Growth in Quebec expected to hit 1.4% DAVID AKIN, Canwest News Service Published: 8 hours ago Booming Saskatchewan will lead all provinces in economic growth this year, while Ontario and Quebec will suffer through a difficult year, said forecasters at the Conference Board of Canada. The widening prosperity gap between the West and those in central and eastern Canada presents federal policy-makers with some unique challenges. The West may need policies that slow growth and curb inflation, while central Canada has few inflationary worries but needs some economic stimulus to encourage growth. In its semi-annual provincial outlook, the Conference Board says Saskatchewan's economy is booming thanks to surging commodity prices, particularly oil and potash, and as a result, the provincial economy there will grow by 4.2 per cent this year. In fact, the Conference Board said workers are leaving Alberta and heading to Saskatchewan to make their fortune. The report says that, as a result, retailers in Canada's flattest province may be in for a particularly good year. "The positive labour outlook, combined with lofty wage gains, is spurring a spending spree. Retail sales are expected to soar by 12.2 per cent in 2008," it said. Meanwhile, in Quebec, things will be a bit better this year, where growth of 1.4 per cent is expected. "Since the middle of 2007, the Quebec economy has been at a near standstill. The weakness in the manufacturing sector has eroded economic gains made in other industries,' the report said. Next door in Ontario, where manufacturers had particular trouble coping with the one-two punch of a fast-rising loonie and skyrocketing energy prices, economic growth will be just 0.8 per cent, the Conference Board said. Only Newfoundland and Labrador will see slower economic growth than Ontario this year. After a stellar year in 2007 with double-digit economic growth, the Conference Board said the pace in Canada's most eastern province is stalled. It predicts growth there of just 0.2 per cent this year. Overall, the Conference Board believes Canada's economy will grow by 1.7 per cent. The forecasters at the independent think-tank are much more optimistic than the Bank of Canada, which said last month it believes Canada's economy will grow by one per cent.
  2. Wireless win will mean new growth for Quebecor: Peladeau VIRGINIA GALT Globe and Mail Update August 5, 2008 at 9:21 AM EDT Montreal-based media company Quebecor Inc. is “poised to embark on a new round of growth” as a result of its successful bid for a new wireless spectrum licences covering all of Quebec and part of the Toronto area, the company said Tuesday. “This is a key strategic development for Quebecor media, since consumer demand for advanced wireless services is expected to increase substantially in the coming years,” said chief executive officer Pierre Karl Paul Peladeau, in releasing the company's second quarter financial results. The company, which has gone through a major restructuring, reported consolidated net profit of $57.3-million, or 88 cents a share, compared with $43.2-million, or 77 cents a share, in the corresponding period a year earlier. The year-ago result was dragged down by a $6.7-million loss at the company's former printing subsidiary, Quebecor World Inc., which sought court protection from creditors earlier this year. “Once again, Quebecor's very positive results were spearheaded by robust numbers in the cable segment, which continued to log strong customer growth for all its services,” Mr. Peladeau said. Quebecor Inc. “At the conclusion of the spectrum auction for advanced wireless services, Quebecor Media held standing high bids on 17 operating licences, covering all of Quebec and part of the Toronto area.” Quebecor bid $554.6-million for the operating licences in the auction that closed late last month – an investment that pave the way for future growth by allowing the company to offer its customers “a still more complete and competitive array of cable and telecommunications services,” Mr. Peladeau said. The company reported that consolidated revenue from continuing operations increased to $942.3-million, up 15.6 per cent from the corresponding period a year ago. Revenue in the cable segment was up 20.3 per cent to $75.6-million, “reflecting continued customer growth for all services,” the company said. Newspaper revenue was up 27.2 per cent to $65.7-million, due primarily to the acquisition of Osprey Media Income Fund in August, 2007, and broadcasting revenue was up 4.2 per cent to $4.5-million.
  3. Best deals in real estate by Don Sutton, MoneySense Wednesday, June 16, 2010 It’s a crazy time for real estate in Canada. Prices are sky-high, people are feeling pressured into selling into a hot market and buyers fear purchasing an overpriced home only to see the bubble burst. But MoneySense magazine has come to the rescue and crunched the numbers to identify the best real estate deals in the best cities. Using hard data on 35 major housing markets, the magazine has awarded a letter grade based on how reasonable the house prices are, whether home prices are likely to rise and how prosperous the local economy is. Surprisingly, none of the winning cities are Canada’s largest, but instead reflect medium-sized cities with affordable house prices that have the ability to grow strongly with local economic conditions. The best deals in real estate in Canada are to be found in Moncton and Regina, both of whom received an A-, while Fredericton, St. John’s, Ottawa, Gatineau, Winnipeg, Guelph and Saint John all received a B+. The criteria for the study was strict and comprehensive. MoneySense compared average rents to average home prices, which gives a great indicator of how valuable a home is. Next it compared local wages as to average home prices to see how long it would take for a family to purchase a home. The magazine also evaluated how quickly homes sold and prices increased over the years. Last, the economic environment of the city was also analyzed. The magazine looked at how fast a community grew, what the unemployment rate was and what kind of discretionary income the citizens had. This method avoided identifying cheap real estate in communities where prices were unlikely to increase due to a poor local economy or widespread unemployment. The analysis gives a comprehensive overview of where to get the best real estate deals in Canada. The study is also useful for identifying which real estate markets to avoid. For example, Abbotsford and Montreal both only rated Cs. MoneySense’s study also identified overpriced markets. For instance, Kelowna, B.C., scored well in the category of growth potential and has a great local economy. But the average house price makes it hard for the typical family to buy into the market. With this aspect in mind, Kelowna rated a D+ in the value category and a C+ overall. Windsor, Ont., where house prices are among the best values in Canada, is in the opposite situation. It rated an A for affordability, but since the city is slowly recovering from deep layoffs in the car industry, it only rates a C in the momentum category and a C+ for local economy, giving it a B+ overall. In concrete terms, what the best cities for real estate like Regina and Moncton have going for them is big-city growth and opportunities without big-city prices. While the affordability and growth value of a home are not always the prime reasons to buy in a particular location, knowing that your home is a sound investment in an economically vibrant city offers great peace of mind. Top 5 cities: 1. Moncton A- 2. Regina A- 3. Fredericton B+ 4. St. John's B+ 5. Ottawa B+ http://ca.finance.yahoo.com/personal-finance/article/moneysense/1662/best-deals-in-real-estate
  4. voici le lien (foreign direct investment) :http://www.fdiintelligence.com Le Québec en tete en amerique du nord (growth of capital investment of 321%) pour 2014
  5. A new era of prosperity RICHARD FOOT, Canwest News Service Published: 8 hours ago Boom times for have-not provinces are redrawing Canada's economic and political map. The remarkable growth is resource-driven: potash and uranium in Saskatchewan, offshore oil in Newfoundland and Labrador To find the front lines of the global commodities boom, drive an hour east from Saskatoon on the Yellowhead Highway to Lanigan, Sask., home of the world's largest potash mine. Two huge, dome-covered warehouses, each about the size of a football field, stand on the mine site, eerily empty except for a few dusty sweepings of potash on the floors. "A decade ago there would have been a mountain of potash in here," said Will Brandsema, general manager of AMEC, whose engineering firm recently completed a $400-million expansion of the mine for the Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan. Potash Corp.'s Lanigan mine in Saskatchewan. The price of the mineral has soared to nearly $1,000 a tonne from about $100.View Larger Image View Today, worldwide demand for the pinkish, chalk-like mineral is so great, Potash Corp. can't keep its warehouses full. In the past four years, the price of potash - the basic ingredient of fertilizer - has soared to nearly $1,000 per tonne from about $100, largely because of rising populations in China and India and their sudden appetite for high-value, fertilizer-grown food. Thanks to a quirk of geologic good fortune, Saskatchewan is filled with potash and now produces more than a quarter of the world's supply. What was for years an unremarkable export has suddenly become one of the most treasured commodities on Earth - pink gold, you might call it - which, alongside surging sales of oil, uranium and even grain, is suddenly making Saskatchewan the economic envy of the nation. About 3,000 kilometres away, another once-poor province accustomed to life on the economic fringes is also reaping a windfall from its natural resources. Skyrocketing oil prices are fuelling an extraordinary economic turnaround in Newfoundland and Labrador, where a fourth offshore oil project will soon be in development. Petrodollars are transforming St. John's from a down-at-the-heels provincial capital into a bustling energy city brimming with stylish restaurants, affluent condo developments and a sense of euphoria not seen there since cod were first discovered on the Grand Banks. "The Newfoundland and Saskatchewan economies have gone from stagnant to stellar," Statistics Canada declared in its May Economic Observer. "These two provinces have moved beyond old stereotypes and stepped into a new era of prosperity." Both provinces led the country last year in growth of exports, in the rate of housing starts and in growth of gross domestic product - the only provinces, along with Alberta, whose per capita GDP was above the national average. In June, a report by the TD Bank Financial Group called Saskatchewan "Canada's commodity superstar" and said if the province were a country, it would rank fifth in the world among member nations of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, in terms of per capita GDP. It would trail only Luxembourg, Norway, the United States and Ireland. (Alberta would come second if ranked on the same list.) John Crosbie, who announced the cod fishery's shutdown as federal fisheries minister and is now the province's lieutenant-governor, expressed the mood of many Newfoundlanders while reading his government's throne speech in March: "Ours is not the province it was two decades ago," Crosbie said. "We are - for the first time in our history - poised to come off equalization very soon. This is a stunning achievement that will reinforce the bold new attitude of self-confidence that has taken hold among Newfoundlanders and Labradorians." What do such economic shifts mean for the country as a whole, and how will the rise of two weaker provinces, coupled with the manufacturing malaise in Ontario, affect the workings of confederation? First, many economists say it's a mistake to underestimate the resilience and strength of the huge Ontario economy. They also say the surging energy economies of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland face their own challenges, including cyclical commodity prices, the social costs of rapid development and severe labour shortages. Canada is already facing a labour crunch that's only going to worsen with time. In six years, said economist Brian Lee Crowley, president of the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies, there will be more people leaving the country's labour force than entering it. The new demand for workers in Saskatchewan and Newfoundland, especially in construction and engineering, can only exacerbate the problem. In 2006, for the first time in 23 years, Saskatchewan stopped losing people, on a net basis, to other provinces, thanks to the thousands of workers streaming home from Alberta to new jobs in Regina, Saskatoon, Moose Jaw and elsewhere. As job opportunities also grow in Newfoundland, and competition for skilled workers intensifies, the availability of labour will decline and the cost of it will increase, putting further pressures on the dollar and on manufacturers. The rampant growth of Canada's resource-rich economies is also expected to force changes to the federal equalization program. In April, the TD Bank forecast that Ontario, a longtime contributor to equalization, could become a recipient as early as 2010 - not because Ontario's economy is falling apart, but because it is slipping relative to the extraordinary growth of commodity-producing provinces. As the resource boom pushes the average level of provincial revenues higher, provinces like Ontario will fall below that average, and the cost of funding equalization will increase. Yet the federal government won't be able to afford the program, because Ottawa has no access to the commodity revenues that are driving up its cost; natural resource royalties flow only to the provinces. "The amount of money required for that program is going to get bigger and bigger," said Wade Locke, an economist at Memorial University in St. John's. As for Newfoundland and Labrador, over the past decade its per capita GDP has risen to $10,000 above the national average from $10,000 below - the fastest 10-year turnaround of any province in Canadian Newfoundland and Saskatchewan both reaped a bonanza last year from commodity royalties. Newfoundland posted a record $1.4-billion budget surplus; Saskatchewan announced a $641-million surplus plus a $1-billion infrastructure spending spree. While those two provinces enjoy their economic rebirth, recession stalks other regions of Canada, in particular the industrial heartland of Ontario. There, many manufacturers are struggling with high energy costs and a strong dollar, and the North American automakers - once Canada's economic engine - are shedding jobs and shutting factories. John Pollock, chairman of Electrohome Ltd. in Kitchener, Ont. - he is winding up the affairs of a once-proud consumer electronics maker forced to the sidelines by overseas competition - predicts Ontario is entering a period of perhaps a decade or more in which it will no longer drive the country's economy. "There's going to be a period of transition that's going to be tough," he said. "Ontario has supported the rest of the country - provinces like Saskatchewan and Newfoundland - for years. Maybe it's time for a shift." Global financier George Soros recently described Canada's economy as a split personality - half beleaguered by a sluggish manufacturing sector, and half enjoying the wonders of the worldwide resource boom. Never before have the fault lines between Central Canada's energy-dependent provinces and the far-flung energy-rich ones been so stark, says Brett Gartner, an economist with the Canada West Foundation, a Calgary think-tank. "Of course, Ontario's not about to fade away. It still accounts for more than 40 per cent of the national economy," Gartner said. "But let's not discount what's happening in the regions. It's quite astounding." In Saskatchewan, for example, Potash Corp., buoyed by a share price that has made it one of the leading companies on the Toronto Stock Exchange, is spending $3.2 billion to construct new mines and expand existing ones. Much of that work has gone to AMEC, an international engineering firm that recently refurbished a second mill at the Lanigan mine after the facility was closed in the 1980s because of lack of demand. Will Brandsema, who runs AMEC's Saskatoon office, says he can't hire engineers fast enough to fill the jobs created by mine expansions in the potash and uranium industries. Eight years ago, AMEC employed 64 people in Saskatoon; today that number is 325. "You talk about have-not provinces," he said. "Ten years ago, I spent most of my time in the office looking for business. Now I spend most of my time with human resources, looking for people to hire. "It's just amazing the growth here, and not only in potash. Thirty per cent of the world's uranium comes out of this province. And we have other commodities - oil, gas, coal and the whole agricultural side. All of these are going to grow." Saskatchewan left the ranks of equalization-receiving provinces in 2007. Newfoundland and Labrador is expected to become a "have" province this year or next, a startling change considering that the cod fishery - once the foundation of the province's economy - has not substantially reopened since its devastating closure by Ottawa in 1992. "It's currently $13 billion. It's going to be $30 billion in 10 years. The federal government doesn't have the financial wherewithal to fund that program." Yet abolishing or changing equalization, a program required by the constitution, presents huge political problems, particularly in Quebec, which receives the largest equalization payment, although the lowest per capita amount. "You're going to see some serious restructuring of equalization, but not before the next election," Locke said. "The Harper government is not going to do it." Changes to equalization, not to mention a realignment of "have" and "have-not" provinces, could also prompt a new wave of regional beefs and resentments - the bane of confederation. Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty is already complaining about how much his province's taxpayers contribute to national transfer programs, a system Ontario governments once supported in better economic times. Oil itself could become a flashpoint that divides the country. Public demands in Quebec, Ontario or British Columbia for a national carbon tax would now raise the ire of more than just one oil-producing province. In the meantime, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland, which typically wield little weight in national discussions, could use their new economic clout to campaign for a truly effective Senate, with real power to represent regional interests. "There is some realignment of economic power occurring that will influence the national political debate," said former Newfoundland premier Brian Peckford, who now works as a business consultant in British Columbia. "Premiers' meetings, for example, won't be dominated by only a few big provinces. Smaller provinces like Saskatchewan and Newfoundland won't have to shout and demand to be heard. We'll get noticed simply by being there." Still, Peckford - who grew up in a province so poor that he remembers, as a boy, studying his schoolbooks by kerosene lamp - warns Newfoundlanders not to let their budding affluence go to their heads. "I would caution them that as they grow financially, they must also grow emotionally and socially," he said. "The last thing Newfoundland and Labrador should do is get arrogant about this, because one never knows how long it will last. "A lot of Canadians helped us after we joined confederation, so it's our turn now to contribute back." Rags to resources: First of a series Boom times for the "have-nots" are redrawing Canada's economic and political map. Next: Day 2: Flush with commodities cash, Saskatchewan revels in its rebirth. Day 3: From misfit to petro-darling: Newfoundland's remarkable transformation. Day 4: Hard times in the industrial heartland: Ontario's painful transition. Day 5: The ''curse'' of resources: Post-fortune perils. Day 6: Finding new fortunes: Quebec's industrial heartland moves on. http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/story.html?id=6fd0d4f0-4e9c-462d-af41-4ae1b93545a0&p=3
  6. Desjardins financial grows outside Quebec The Gazette Published: 1 hour ago Desjardins Financial Security, the life and health insurance arm of the $152-billion Desjardins Group, said yesterday that business growth outside Quebec was strong in the second quarter. Premium income was up 6.1 per cent from a year earlier in Quebec, where it already has a large market presence, and rose 16.8 per cent in the rest of Canada. Desjardins Financial has been working hard to build market share outside Quebec, especially for group business. Desjardins Financial also sells group and individual retirement savings products, including mutual funds, and growth in this business came mainly from its new guaranteed investment contracts. "We continue to gain ground in an extremely competitive insurance market," chief operating officer Richard Fortier said. Second-quarter net income was $59.3 million vs. $68.4 million a year earlier.
  7. Montreal to host conference on reducing growth BY MICHELLE LALONDE, GAZETTE ENVIRONMENT REPORTER http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/Montreal+host+conference+degrowth/6600947/story.html MONTREAL - Just as events are forcing Quebecers to debate some fundamental questions about our economy and our future, five Montreal universities happen to be hosting a weeklong conference on “degrowth” – a movement that questions whether economic growth should be our society’s primary goal. “Degrowth is an attempt to force us out of this lock-step way of thinking that growth is always good,” said Peter Brown, a professor at McGill University’s School of Environment and one of the conference’s organizers. Brown said the conference – which starts Sunday and ends Saturday, May 19 – has been in the works for years and is modelled on similar conferences in Paris in 2008 and Barcelona in 2010, and is leading up to a global conference on the issue next fall in Venice. But he admits the timing is serendipitous. The Occupy movement, the recent record-breaking Earth Day march in Montreal, concerns over the push to develop northern Quebec and the continuing student strikes are all signs that many Quebecers are questioning the “business-as-usual” approach to economic development. Brown says all of these movements may find common ground in the notion that a narrow focus on growing the economy at any cost, while discounting effects on the environment and human well-being have led mankind to commit some catastrophic errors. Gross domestic product should not be used as the key measure of a country’s well being, because it ignores the cost of creating wealth (for some), such as environmental degradation and human suffering, say proponents of degrowth. Errors like runaway global warming, habitat destruction and a widening wage gap between rich and poor will lead to calamity for future generations, and a forced, unplanned “degrowth” period that will be painful, they warn. “Any healthy civilization looks after future generations ... we just don’t do that,” Brown told The Gazette on Thursday. The conference will feature panels and lectures by academics and activists prominent in the North American degrowth movement. The big draw will be a public lecture by ecologist David Suzuki called Humanity in Collision with the Biosphere: Is it Too Late? on Friday at 11 a.m. at UQÀM. (Admission to Suzuki’s talk is free, but registration is required). The conference, titled Less is More; Degrowth in the Americas, runs from May 13 to 19. Registration costs $200 per day, or $390 for all seven days, with reduced fees offered to students or members of “grassroots Montreal-based organizations.” Talks will be recorded and posted on the conference website (montreal.degrowth.org). [email protected] Twitter: @mrlalonde © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette ********************************************************************************************************************* Québec - Forward Never, Backwards Ever
  8. Quebec sees growth in English-speaking population Last Updated: Monday, December 21, 2009 | 9:20 PM ET CBC News The number of English-speaking Quebecers is on the increase for the first time in 30 years due to immigration, along with a slowdown in the outflow of Quebec anglophones. The number has grown by about 5.5 per cent between the censuses of 2001 and 2006, reversing a trend that began in the early 1970s when provincial language policies and a push for Quebec sovereignty prompted many English-speaking residents to move elsewhere. The influx includes people moving from other provinces, as well as an increase in immigration by English-speaking people from south Asian countries. CBC News interviewed several families who have made the move. Steve Clarke and his family moved to Quebec City from Oklahoma and are impressed by the city's safety, its old-world architecture and by what he calls a "benign" government. "When people move to New York City, other people in New York City don't ask them 'why did you move here?' They just understand — you'd move here because it's a great place to live," he said. "But people in Quebec, because it's unusual for people who aren't French as a mother language, I guess it's a curiosity," Clarke said. Carrie-Anne Golding and Ryan Hughes, who moved to Montreal from Vancouver, enjoy the low cost of housing and the city's vibrant, 24-hour lifestyle, but admit cultural change requires some adjustments. "I think the first few months was sort of the honeymoon phase of everything is wonderful," Golding said. "And the reality of, you know, as an anglophone, you are in a minority in comparison." "I thought that we would merge in with the cultures a lot quicker," she said. "But it is a little bit harder. There is definitely some inroads to do in merging in with the French culture." The increase in Quebec's English-speaking population comes as a surprise to Jack Jedwab, a demographer and executive-director of the Association for Canadian Studies. Jedwab is also surprised by how little attention has been paid to the trend by Quebec's English media, compared with 30-year spotlight they focused on the so-called Anglo Exodus. "The community psychology is such that it's very accustomed to this erosion," he said. "It has become part of the [anglophone] community's identity. The shock of that demographic decline, it's impact on our institutional life." Jedwab noted that Quebec's civil service is almost entirely francophone, which can exacerbate the feeling of alienation in the English-speaking community. He suggested it may be time for anglophones to try to build on their increase in numbers, instead of clinging to the old complaint that they're a disappearing breed.
  9. Mediocre job performance is better than the alternative JAY BRYAN, The Gazette Published: 7 hours ago Canada's job market is in mediocre shape, we discovered yesterday, and when you look at the alternative, this is wonderful news. For the past few weeks, many economic forecasters have been nervously asking themselves if Canada could resist the powerful recessionary undertow from a slumping U.S. economy or whether we'd fall into a downturn similar to the one that's under way south of the border. The final answer might not be available for a little longer, but yesterday's August job reports out of Ottawa and Washington make it clear that, for now, Canada is doing much better than the U.S. and is certainly nowhere near recession. In Canada, employment grew by a solid, if uninspiring, 15,200 jobs, returning to growth after two months of declines. That left the unemployment rate at 6.1 per cent, just above its record low of 5.8 per cent in February. So far this year, the Canadian economy has created 86,900 jobs. In the U.S, by contrast, August proved to be the eighth month in a row of shrinking employment, with 605,000 jobs lost (divide by 10 for a rough equivalence to Canadian numbers) since the beginning of this year. Unemployment south of the border jumped to a five-year high of 6.1 per cent - which sounds low to Canadians, but because of differences in measurement methods, is approximately equivalent to a Canadian unemployment rate of 7.1 per cent. Canada's modestly good job report reinforces the rationale for the Bank of Canada's decision to hold interest rates steady this week. The bank's targeted rate is already quite low at three per cent, and there's no clear need to pump emergency stimulus into the economy. Indeed, one of the the country's weakest sectors in recent years, manufacturing, has shown surprising resilience this year. As of August, factory employment was down by just 14,000, or 0.7 per cent, for this year. That's quite an accomplishment, given the plunge in car purchases by U.S. shoppers, who are the key market for Ontario's giant auto industry. In fact, Ontario has done quite well for a manufacturing province heavily dependent on U.S. customers. So far this year, it has created 51,900 jobs and its unemployment rate has actually edged down to 6.3 per cent from last December's 6.5 per cent, thanks to strong employment in construction and service industries. Ironically, Quebec, another big manufacturing province, hasn't done nearly as well, even though its big aerospace industry is much healthier than the auto industry, helping Quebec's factory sector create some jobs this year. Still, Quebec is one of the few provinces not to have enjoyed overall job growth so far in 2008. In fact, employment has shrunk by 25,200, while the unemployment rate has risen to 7.7 per cent from 7.0 per cent at the end of last year. Montreal's unemployment rate is up just 0.1 per cent so far this year, to 7.3 per cent in August, but this doesn't reflect any better performance than Quebec's on the employment front. The city actually lost 15,700 jobs in the first eight months of the year, but this was mostly offset by the 13,000 workers who abandoned the Montreal job market, making them disappear from the unemployment calculation. They might have found better opportunities elsewhere, gone back to school or simply stopped looking after a tough job search.On the provincial level, Quebec construction employment has been lukewarm and consumer-oriented service industries like retailiing have been shedding jobs, notes economist Sébastien Lavoie at Laurentian Bank Securities. As well, education employment has shrunk in Quebec as it grew in Ontario. Lavoie suggests that Quebec consumers may feeling worried enough to be cutting back on spending, while in Ontario's bigger, more diverse economy, there are still enough areas of growth to offset the auto industry's distress. Nevertheless, Ontario's ability to shrug off the U.S. economy's distress could be living on borrowed time, warns economist Douglas Porter at BMO Capital Markets. There are layoff announcements and factory closings that have yet to go into effect, he notes. And as for Ontario's boom in condo and office construction, "I have to wonder how long it can hang on."
  10. Montreal's Cogeco aquires Toronto Hydro Mike King, Montreal Gazette Published: Friday, June 13 MONTREAL - Cogeco Cable Inc. is spreading its network into Canada's biggest business telecommunications market with the purchase of Toronto Hydro Telecom Inc. "This acquisition is another step in the enrichment of the Cogeco Business Solutions Data offering," Louis Audet, president and CEO of the Montreal company, said yesterday in announcing the deal. He said THTI's state-of-the-art network, dedicated workforce and Toronto business market potential "should complement our existing business telecommunications activities in Ontario and allow future growth for Cogeco Cable in this line of business." Cogeco is the second-largest cable telecommunications operator in Ontario, Quebec and Portugal respectively based on the number of basic cable subscribers. Audet said the takeover "demontrates our willingness to seize upon external growth opportunities in our Canadian footprint when they arise and fit well with our business strategy." The deal provides Cogeco with a unique chance to add owned and operated points of presence throughout the greater Toronto area, linked to its other existing broadband facilities extending over the dense Ontario telecommunications corridor from Windsor to Cornwall. At the same time, THTI customers will be able to benefit from Cogeco's extensive fiber network spanning Ontario and Quebec. Shares closed at $39.89 on the Toronto Stock Exchange yesterday, up $1.08. [email protected] http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/business/story.html?id=8bb1d48f-5b0f-44ce-a31a-3ee91ef6ef00
  11. http://montrealgazette.com/business/local-business/quebec-is-slowing-spending-but-its-a-far-cry-from-european-style-austerity "Unfortunately, the private sector hasn’t kept the rendezvous. Stéfane Marion, chief economist at the National Bank, notes that net private-sector employment has fallen by 30,000 in the province so far this year while Ontario has added 80,000 such jobs. Marion points to lingering fallout over the bitter charter of values debate under the preceding Parti Québécois government. Quebec lost a net 10,000 people last spring to interprovincial migration — the worst outflows since 1995-96. That didn’t help the job market." On the plus side, the economy does seem to be improving and stimulus is coming from other sources. Exports to the U.S. and Ontario are growing at a healthy clip, the cheaper Canadian dollar is a boost to manufacturers and lower oil prices are an added bonus to both businesses and consumers. Marion figures that Quebecers have received a $300-million break at the gas pump so far this year as prices have declined. That will ease the pain from an expected two-cents-per-litre jump in gas prices in the New Year to cover the cost to distributors of Quebec’s new cap-and-trade system for carbon emissions. And if you can believe Finance Minister Carlos Leitão, the pain is about to end for taxpayers who are tired of paying more and receiving less. Most of the measures needed to go from the current-year deficit of $2.3 billion to a balanced budget have already been identified, he said. Another $1.1 billion will still have to be found in the budget next spring. It’s about time, says Norma Kozhaya, chief economist at the Conseil du patronat du Québec which represents the province’s largest employers. Quebec has reached the limit on what it can absorb in the way of further tax increases and spending cuts, she argued. Kozhaya is worried about slow growth in the economy, pegged at 1.6 per cent this year and 1.9 per cent in 2015. “What’s important is to get more revenue from economic growth and not from new taxes and fees.” She would like to hear more of a pro-investment discourse from the Couillard government, especially when it comes to natural resources. In the meantime, there’s always 2017-18 to look forward to. That’s when Leitão talks boldly of a surplus and maybe even a tax cut — in what will be an election year.
  12. Edmonton's economy hottest in Canada: CIBC Western city tops ranking for first time as Calgary slips into second spot OTTAWA -- Edmonton's weather may be cold but its economy isn't, says CIBC World Markets, which reported Monday that the Alberta capital has the hottest local economy in Canada, surpassing Calgary. Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver also rank high in economic activity, while there's little economic momentum in the national capital region of Ottawa-Gatineau, according to CIBC's economic activity index, which is based on nine economic variables. "For the first time on record, the city of Edmonton tops our city ranking in terms of economic momentum," it said, crediting strong population growth, impressive employment gains, low unemployment rate, and below-average personal and corporate insolvency rates. Calgary, meanwhile, slipped into second spot with a score of 24.5, compared with 30.1 for Edmonton. Calgary's slippage reflects what the report said was a slowdown in the pace of job creation momentum in the city -- less than that of Edmonton, Saskatoon and Victoria -- and a cooler housing market. Saskatoon reached third spot with a score of 23.7, propelled by strong job and population growth, and the hottest housing market in the country. "Interestingly, Montreal is currently enjoying some renewed momentum," the report said, noting that Montreal's third-place score of 22.8 -- the only other city with a ranking above 20 -- indicated improvement in labour and housing market activity. However, the report cautioned that the momentum in Montreal's industrial economy -- based on data up to September -- is not likely sustainable with a loonie at or near parity with the U.S. dollar. Toronto, the country's largest city, had a consistently strong showing in the rankings with a score of 17.5. This reflects the growing diversity of the city, which has the fourth-fastest population growth in the country, and which boasts relatively high-quality employment. However, its labour market is softening with below-average job growth and above-average unemployment of 7%. Vancouver's ranking, at 17.3, just slightly below Toronto's, is due to the fact that -- while it did not excel in any area -- the city was above average in many areas, including strong population and job growth. Among the larger cities, Ottawa-Gatineau had the lowest ranking at just 4.7, reflecting what the report's author CIBC economist Benjamin Tal said was "some softening in employment growth, housing activity and non-residential building permits." There has been a cooling in the city's large high-tech sector, which was very strong over the past two years. The other cities and their rankings were: Sherbrooke 16.3, Victoria 15.8, Trois-Rivieres 13.6, Regina 12.5, Saint John 11.4, Quebec City 10.2, Halifax 9.1, Kitchener 8.8, Greater Sudbury 7.9, London 7.8, Hamilton 6.0, St. John's 5.5, Kingston 3.4, Thunder Bay 3.0, St. Catharines-Niagara 2.4. Two cities had negative readings -- Saguenay -2.8 and Windsor -3.3 -- highlighting the difficulties in their manufacturing sectors. "The recent appreciation in the dollar and the weakening in the U.S. economy are probably adding another layer of difficulties facing those cities," the report said.
  13. (Courtesy of The Financial Post) :eek: I wish I knew about these people a little sooner. Man I need money now to buy some shares. I just hope its not to late.
  14. Ca prenait un fil pour discuter du métro je trouve... Avec la densification de l'ile des soeurs ainsi que le project de 1.3$milliard pour Griffintown, je crois qu'une ligne pour cibler ces deux régions pourrait être une bonne idée. Ca ne serait pas totalement absurde. 1. Encourage development to the south east, which is the future extension of Montreal's CBD anyway 2. Encourage growth via transit-oriented development Voici mon ébauche. (Puisque la carte du métro est stylisée, les emplacement des stations sur la carte ne correspondent pas éxactement a 100% aux lieux réels.) What do you think?
  15. (Courtesy of eitb.com) I hope Telefonica suffers for this. I feel bad for the people who use them. From what I read Telefonica operates 75% of Spains communications
  16. http://www.thestranger.com/news/2016/05/04/24039262/more-growth-please More Growth Please The "Yes in My Backyard" Movement Builds in Seattle by Heidi Groover "Meditate on this," San Francisco activist Sonja Trauss tells a crowd in a conference room overlooking Lake Union. "What's the difference between being able to afford something that's not available... and not being able to afford something that is available?" The room sits in polite quiet. "Nothing," Trauss says emphatically. "There's no difference. These are both ways that [housing] shortage manifests." Trauss is preaching to the choir: a room of mostly white, mostly male Seattle developers working on plates of steak and green beans. You don't have to tell this group twice about the rules of supply and demand. But in another way, Trauss is screaming into the void. All across Seattle, small fights are playing out over whether new buildings—new housing—should be built. These are fights about the scale and height of new buildings, neighborhood character, and whether Seattle is losing its "soul." They are tedious and they are hurting housing affordability in this city. But for the most part, the only people paying attention to these fights are the people who want to stop the growth. People like the developers in this room, who believe Seattle needs more growth to meet its massive influx of new residents, rarely show up to advocate for new housing unless it's their own project in question. The rest of the city's residents—who, if recent city council election results are any indication, favor new density over parochial NIMBYism—don't often show up, either. Trauss, 34, is trying to change that in San Francisco and encouraging urbanists in Seattle to do the same. Trauss founded the San Francisco Bay Area Renters Federation, a blunt, tech-funded, grassroots organization that advocates for more housing in and around San Francisco and was recently profiled in the New York Times as an indication of that city's "cries to build, baby, build." The group is one of many across the country organizing under the banner of YIMBY ("yes in my backyard"). Next month, YIMBYs will convene in Boulder, Colorado, for a conference with discussion topics like "forging healthy alliances between housing advocates and housing developers" and "responding to anti-housing ballot measures." "You guys actually have some non-industry pro-growth people," Trauss tells the Seattle developers. "Seattle has a lot of urbanists. It's just a matter of Laura actually starting a mailing list, and pretty soon you'll have your own pro-development citizen group." In the crowd sits Laura Bernstein, a 40-year-old renter in the University District who recently quit grad school to spend this year studying urbanism on her own and figuring out how to expand the YIMBY movement in Seattle. Before becoming a middle-school teacher, Bernstein studied opera and plant biology. Now she spends her days having coffee with other urbanists, going to community meetings, and running the Twitter account @YIMBYsea. At this time last year, Bernstein wouldn't be showing up in a story about YIMBYs. Then, she was working for a city council candidate who embodies the "not in my backyard" movement—Tony Provine. (By the end of his campaign, Provine was sending out mailers depicting bulldozers threatening to tear down single-family zones across the city. He lost in the primary with just 14 percent of the vote in his district.) Bernstein says when she started working for Provine, she thought he could serve as a bridge between pro-density urbanists and neighborhood advocates afraid of change. With enough reasoning, she thought, anybody could be convinced to welcome growth in their neighborhood. "All of that idealism went right out the window the minute I started knocking on doors and talking to voters," Bernstein tells me over Skype while she's in Vancouver to see an interactive art exhibit about growth there. Knocking on doors is when Bernstein says she began "hearing how cynical of downtown, cynical of politicians, and so put upon [homeowners were], like 'They're doing this to us.'" By "this," the neighbors mean growth. It's a common refrain in Seattle's density debate that developers or city officials are inflicting growth onto neighborhoods. In fact, of course, new people will move to Seattle whether we build for them or not. The only thing we have control over—unless we decide to build a wall—is whether we're prepared for those new residents. But Bernstein is holding on to some of her idealism. She doesn't like to use the term "NIMBY" and is deliberate about trying to meet with people she disagrees with. That sounds cheesy, but it makes her a rarity among the city's hardcore urbanists. On social media, Seattle urbanists can be a condescending, dick-swinging crowd, dismissing the lived experiences of displaced and struggling renters because they're busy shouting about the faultless wisdom of the free market. ("NIMBYs are literally the worst," one tweeted as I was writing this story. "Economic terrorists.") The city's well-meaning pro-tenants movement, meanwhile, peddles tired caricatures of greedy developers and focuses almost exclusively on rent control as the solution to Seattle's housing crisis. It's an exhausting split that accomplishes little, except alienating everyone in the middle. A group like SFBARF, led by renters and fighting for growth, could bridge some of that divide. Trauss is wholly pro-development—all types of it—but she also supports increased protections to keep renters from being "economically evicted" (when landlords dramatically raise rents to push out low-income tenants) and temporary rent control while supply catches up with demand. Some local density advocates are skeptical of the YIMBY movement. "Look at the math," Ben Schiendelman, a Seattle tech worker and outspoken pro-density provocateur, says of Trauss's efforts in San Francisco. "They don't win fights, and when they do, it's like for a handful of units in a building. In the time it takes to win those fights, you lose thousands of people out of the city." Schiendelman, 34, believes the only answer in Seattle and San Francisco alike is to get rid of zoning altogether. (Trauss's group is trying to sue the suburbs for restricting growth; Schiendelman supports that and says he's working on a similar lawsuit against Seattle.) Killing zoning would allow all sorts of building all over the city, he argues, creating a denser, more transit-rich city where poor and rich people live alongside each other. He has little patience for community organizing like Bernstein and others are doing. "People are becoming NIMBYs at a faster rate than you could talk them out of it," Schiendelman says. "The rate at which you could possibly organize [pro-growth] people is slower than the rate at which the city becomes less affordable." But a look at the public reaction to modest moves toward more density in Seattle shows what an unwinnable fight getting rid of zoning altogether could be. Last year, Mayor Ed Murray's housing affordability committee—known as HALA—recommended upzones to make certain parts of the city denser, reductions of expensive parking quotas, and new requirements that developers include affordable units in new apartment buildings or pay fees to help pay for new affordable housing. The neighborhood backlash was immediate, particularly against the recommendation to allow duplexes, triplexes, and backyard cottages in some of the city's single-family zones—which make up 65 percent of land (including parks) in Seattle. Meanwhile, others opposed HALA for different reasons. Developer lobbyist Roger Valdez argued the affordability requirements would make housing more expensive. Jon Grant, the former head of the Tenants Union of Washington State and a member of the HALA committee, criticized the recommendations for not including rent control and not charging enough fees on developers. In the middle, a coalition of developers and housing advocates have joined to form a group called "Seattle for Everyone," which encourages lawmakers and the public to support the HALA recommendations. In response to neighborhood backlash, Murray, joined by Council Members Tim Burgess and Mike O'Brien (who claims to be the council's environmental leader), backed away from the HALA recommendations. It will be up to activists like Bernstein to force that discussion back onto the table. With calls to abandon all zoning set as the extreme, allowing backyard cottages and duplexes becomes the moderate position in this debate. Bernstein says she's focused on what happens after HALA is done. The YIMBY movement "is here," she says. "I think we're a super YIMBY city." Back at the developer dinner, Trauss urges builders to show up at meetings and comment in favor of each other's projects and to do an industry survey of their salaries to try to make the point that they're not all getting rich. In San Francisco, she's looking ahead to May 10, when she's asking YIMBYs to all show up and vote in an election on the same day to show that they're a real constituency. "At the end of the day, some people just hate growth and there's nothing you can do," she tells the room. "You're never going to convince that person, so that's fine. Don't waste your energy. You just have to say, 'See you at the ballot box.'" recommended Sent from my SM-T330NU using Tapatalk
  17. Less Charter, more economy. MONTREAL — There was an initial sense among many observers that the Liberal election victory would be good for the economy, at least in the short run. It’s true that some measure of political stability will return to the province as the PQ’s divisive Charter of Quebec Values is thrown in the wastebasket and as the immediate risk of a referendum on sovereignty is removed. But the sobering truth is that Quebec could face years of mediocre economic growth unless it undertakes some major structural reforms. That warning came this week from Glen Hodgson, senior economist at the Conference Board of Canada, who said Quebec is heading for a prolonged period of economic underperformance unless decisive steps are taken by government and the private sector. “Quebecers could face the disagreeable prospect of deteriorating public services combined with a rise in income taxes” unless the province’s competitive position improves, he wrote in an opinion piece in La Presse. Interviewed Tuesday, Hodgson noted that over the past couple of years, during a period of economic recovery, Quebec has been unable to do better than a growth rate of around one per cent. That raises the question: What’s in store once the North American economic cycle shifts back to recession? The current underperformance has weakened the government’s fiscal position and made it less able to withstand the next economic downturn. Combined with a slowdown in private investment and little growth in the job market, this is playing havoc with government revenues. There are reports that the $2.5 billion deficit projected for 2013-14 may run as high as $3.3 billion once the Liberals get a full picture of public finances. Meanwhile, Quebec’s public debt is the highest in Canada, equalling about 50 per cent of its economic production. The Conference Board estimates growth of two per cent this year as the recovery in the United States picks up steam and extends into next year. “But the recovery will not last,” said Hodgson, “because the foundation for growth in Quebec is not solid.” The province’s long-term growth potential is around 1.5 per cent, he says, which will put it behind the eight ball. “You can’t grow at 1.5 per cent and be able to pay for health care when it’s growing at five per cent.” One doesn’t have to look far to find the reasons for Quebec’s troubles. “It’s really driven by demographics, private investment and productivity,” Hodgson said. Demographic forces are hitting Quebec harder than Ontario, which is also struggling with a weak economy. As active participation in the Quebec labour force declines, paying for expensive government programs like health care and education will get more difficult. The Conference Board projects growth in the labour force of just 0.5 per cent after 2015 as baby-boomer retirements kick in. Compensating for that reduction will require integrating more immigrants into the economy, providing more job training and boosting productivity. Former Liberal finance minister Raymond Bachand says he’s optimistic that some of those hurdles can be overcome. Bachand has agreed to head a new economic think tank called the Institut du Québec, which will be a joint venture between the Conference Board and the HEC business school in Montreal. The goal, he says, is to stimulate public debate with evidence-based research on the economy and public finances. Too many think tanks these days have a political bias, he believes. “We’re going to come up with a fiscal outlook in the next few weeks as our first piece of research,” Bachand said. “We know that we have a demographic challenge. We need the labour market to be healthy. “We have to get private investment back and we have to get our health costs under control. That’s the real goal of the Institut: to contribute to the debate from a fact-based point of view.” Between the Conference Board and HEC, the joint venture will have 400 researchers at its disposal to try to contribute to the debate. That should help the new finance minister and other government players get a better sense of the policy options available.
  18. China's fastest-changing cities Hong Kong Skyline MATT WOOLSEY Forbes.com November 5, 2008 at 2:09 PM EST Ten years ago, the Minnan Hotel dominated the skyline in Xiamen, a special economic zone on the Taiwan Strait. At 168 metres tall – about the size of the skyscrapers that abut New York's Central Park – it was a conspicuous outlier in a developing city. Now, it's beginning to look like a tree in a forest, as buildings just as tall have popped up across the waterfront and in the city centre. But development in Xiamen hasn't been nearly as rapid as in Shenzhen or Guangzhou, two cities on the Pearl River Delta. With dynamic economies based on industry, service, shipping and logistics, they are China's fastest-changing cities by our measures. Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing round out the top five. They're followed by Dalian and Nanjing, two cities that have emerged as factory-based growth centres, but are also turning into vibrant markets for consumer goods. Behind the numbers These rankings are based on three measures of China's 20 most populous cities. To gauge recent change, we looked at economic growth using indexed data from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), a state research agency. Smaller industrial boomtowns like Hefei and Suzhou scored particularly well by this measure. We also examined the growth of each city as a market, which symbolizes the changing of cities from industrial centres to service-driven economies. For this measure, we looked at data from CASS as an indicator of where growth and change would continue. With global growth slowing, Chinese cities are going to become more reliant on domestic spending. “In the global slowdown, China's domestic market is the key linchpin,” says Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, economic adviser for MasterCard Worldwide. “There's a lot of government spending right now on social welfare programs to try and unlock households' savings.” Finally, we looked at the most obvious and aesthetic indicator of change in China: the cities' skylines. The government that didn't officially use the word “urbanization” until the late ‘90s and that was founded on Mao Zedong's agrarian principles now rules a country more than 50 per cent urban in its population distribution. Skyscrapers and cranes may be the best marker of globalization's effect on China. Using data from Emporis, a global builder based in Germany, we ranked each city by the aggregate height of its skyline. What the future holds If industrialized expansion was the tale of the last 10 years, consolidation will be the story of the next decade. Shenzhen, once a fishing village, has been competing for logistics, financial and technology services with Hong Kong ever since the 1997 changeover. Shenzhen, which borders Hong Kong to its north, has grown at an annual clip of 18 per cent since the 1997 changeover, according to the Asia Development Bank. Shenzhen was the mainland Chinese rival to Hong Kong before that city became part of China, but has only recently decided to move toward economic co-operation, instead of competition, with the special administrative region. That means ceding financial services to Hong Kong and enhancing logistical and shipping services in Shenzhen, says Yan Xiopei, vice-mayor of Shenzhen. “We want to connect Shenzhen and Hong Kong,” says Xiaopei. “We will make endeavours for building Shenzhen and Hong Kong into a world-class metropolis.” Not far from Shenzhen, a massive railway and port expansion development across the Pearl River Delta, slated for completion in 2010, will connect the east- and west-bank factory facilities, which manufacture everything from Apple electronics to Wal-Mart products, to the deep-water shipping ports on the east bank. “Factories on the western bank have always been at a disadvantage, because they don't have access to the deep-water ports on the east bank,” says Andrew Ness, executive director of C.B. Richard Ellis, an international commercial real estate firm. “The railway will change that.” Even more obvious in the next decade will be the economic integration of small villages and cities into major metropolises in parts of the Yangtze River Delta outside of Shanghai and in the periphery of the Beijing-Tianjin corridor in the north. Of course, keep in mind that China's idea of a small village can have a population close to one million. “Five-hundred thousand to 800,000 [resident] towns aren't even considered cities, but small townships,” says Fan Gong, director of the National Economic Research Institute in China. “We will see several regions grab together on the river areas and form large metropolitan areas.” According to Mr. Gong, the government is abandoning past policies like the urban registration system, which kept farmers in the country, and is instead encouraging urbanization. Mr. Gong estimates that by 2050, 75 per cent of China's population will live in cities. The rapidly changing nation may no longer be recognizable to Mao, though reformer Deng Xiaoping might enjoy the 92 cities with one-million-plus people.
  19. China’s Stock Market Passes US as Leading Indicator Published: Wednesday, 4 Aug 2010 | 12:43 PM ET By: John Melloy Executive Producer, Fast Money China may be the second biggest economy in the world behind the US, but it is No. 1 in terms of influence over global stock markets, analysts said. “The Chinese equity market has shown signs of ‘leading’ global equity markets at turning points over the past three years,” wrote Geoffrey Dennis, Citigroup’s emerging markets strategist. “As a result, the 13 percent rally in the Shanghai Composite since early-July has been a major support for improved overall global sentiment over the past month.” It’s only natural China’s stock market would take a leading role following structural changes such as a jump in listings and the allowance of short sales. After all, the economic influence speaks for itself. Among other things, China is the biggest consumer of energy products, accounts for 70 percent of iron ore demand, and in 2009, became the No. 1 auto market, according to analysts’ reports. The Shanghai Composite Index has led the US market back from its 2010 low. It’s no coincidence that the leading US stocks during this comeback have come from the stocks in the industrial and raw material industries such as Caterpillar [CAT 71.56 -0.40 (-0.56%) ] and Freeport-McMoRan [FCX 74.61 0.54 (+0.73%) ]. Ford [F 13.04 0.06 (+0.46%) ] shares are up 30 percent in one month. “China’s rapid growth in auto sales is merely a reflection of the rise of middle class consumption patterns,” wrote Marshall Adkins, Raymond James energy analyst. “Add in increasing Chinese trucking, petrochemical and aviation consumption, and total Chinese oil demand growth in 2011 should be well north of 500,000 barrels per day and could drive over half of the global oil demand growth next year.” It’s no coincidence then that oil topped $80 this week before retreating today. The iShares FTSE/Xinhua China 25 Index [FXI 41.95 -0.08 (-0.19%) ], an ETF traded here on the NYSE, is supposed to be a direct play on the Chinese market, but it has underperformed China’s local market over the past month. The ETF contains only the large Chinese stocks that are listed as ADRs on US exchanges. What this data shows is that you may be better off buying a US index fund, industrial stocks or a broader emerging market ETF if you believe China is going higher. Citigroup sees the Chinese stock market rising five to 15 percent higher by the end of the year as fears of an economic slowdown are priced in. "Based on a 'no double-dip' scenario, solid growth in emerging markets, low interest rates 'for longer' and attractive valuations, we remain bullish on emerging market for the long-term, including Chinese equities," wrote Citi's Dennis. The closing bell of the New York Stock Exchange used to ripple through the rest of the world, dictating trading in Australia, Asia and Europe that followed it. No longer. The US traders’ day may be decided before he or she even wakes up. http://www.cnbc.com/id/38558580
  20. Financial crisis bringing global economy to standstill: IMF By Veronica Smith WASHINGTON (AFP) – The International Monetary Fund slashed its economic growth forecasts Wednesday, predicting the severe financial crisis would brake global growth to the slowest pace in six decades. "World growth is projected to fall to 0.5 percent in 2009, its lowest rate since World War II," the IMF said in a sharp 1.75-point downward revision of November forecasts. "The world economy is facing a deep recession" under continued financial stress, it warned. The advanced economies were expected to contract by 2.0 percent, their first annual contraction in the post-war period and far more than the negative 0.3 percent the IMF estimated less than three months ago. "Despite wide-ranging policy actions, financial strains remain acute, pulling down the real economy," the 185-nation institution said, warning its projections were made in a "highly uncertain outlook."
  21. Toronto a suburb? It's begun RENÉ JOHNSTON/TORONTO STAR Apr 08, 2009 04:30 AM Vanessa Lu city hall bureau chief Toronto is at risk of becoming a bedroom community for the booming 905 regions, warns a new report by the Toronto Board of Trade. Cities that were once outer suburbs are now growing employment areas as more businesses have pulled up stakes in the downtown core for cheaper real estate. Meanwhile, the city itself faces increasing disparity between the wealthy, who buy downtown condos where factories once stood, and the poor who inhabit the increasingly deprived inner suburbs. So Toronto remains an attractive place to live, but struggles to keep up with its neighbours on key economic indicators such as employment, productivity and income growth. "It's a tale of two cities," president and CEO Carol Wilding said at yesterday's release. "We see the reverse, or mirror images, from the city proper versus the 905." Wilding agreed with a release for the report that said Toronto has become a "magnet for living, while the surrounding municipalities form the more powerful economic engine." "If you stand back, the data shows that at this point," said Wilding. "Given the employment growth that isn't there in the city centre – yet it is a hugely attractive place – suggests the doughnut effect. ... People flock to and live in the city ... but are actually travelling outwards in the region for employment opportunities." The split between the two regions is reflected in a prosperity scorecard that compares the Toronto region with 20 others around the world on 25 important indicators. While the Toronto region scored very well overall – tying for fourth place with Boston, New York and London, but behind Calgary, Dallas and Hong Kong – the findings show a growing gap between the city itself and surrounding communities. (The study is based on the Toronto Census Metropolitan Area, a tract that includes most of the GTA except Burlington and Oshawa.) If the 416 and 905 area codes were ranked separately, the suburban regions would have taken second place on the world list – after Calgary – and Toronto would have fallen into the bottom half. But Wilding credited Toronto city hall for taking steps to counteract the trend and boost economic growth, including a policy of gradually shifting more of the property tax burden from commercial and industrial property onto homeowners. "I think from a policy perspective, we've put in place many of the changes the data would have suggested we do ... two years ago. We didn't wait," Mayor David Miller said yesterday, reacting to the report. However, he said, "Toronto starts from a very good place" as Canada's financial capital and the third biggest centre of information communications technology in North America. "Council adopted a strategy two years ago because we didn't believe we could take success for granted," he added. "And I think the underlying data says we took the right step and we're on the right path." He noted both the tax rate cuts and the creation of two new agencies, Build Toronto and Invest Toronto, to lure business and investment to the city. Given that traffic is now jammed both ways on the Gardiner Expressway and the Don Valley Parkway in the morning rush hour, it hardly comes as a surprise that employment growth has been strong outside Toronto proper. But the data shows the gap is "far larger than people would have expected it to be," Wilding said. Employment in the suburban regions grew by an average of 2.8 per cent a year between 2002 and 2007, compared with 1.1 per cent in the city of Toronto. In fact, most of the employment growth over the past two decades has occurred outside Toronto. "That's a significant divide. Until we start to narrow that, then we aren't serving the interests of the region as a whole," Wilding said. Average real GDP growth during the same period was just 1.2 per cent in Toronto – compared with 4.2 per cent in neighbouring cities. After-tax income growth over the same period was 3.5 per cent in Toronto, compared with 5.9 per cent outside. Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone said the report's data is already a couple of years old and doesn't reflect recent actions the city has taken to stem the flow of jobs. The report cites a 10.2 per cent growth in non-residential building permits in the surrounding regions, versus only 8.9 per cent in the city. But Pantalone pointed out that today, 4 million square feet of office buildings are under construction in Toronto, compared with only 1.5 million square feet in the 905. "That's a historical reversal. It shows those policies are working," he said. "We have established new trend lines to correct that. And it seems to be working." As Miller pointed out, the report isn't all bad news for the city. It notes that Toronto is "a study in contrasts, struggling to keep pace on the economic fundamentals but scoring well on all the attributes of an attractive city." Using research from the Conference Board of Canada, the report points out the city is doing well on indicators such as commuter travel choices, a young labour force, university education and percentage of jobs in the cultural industry. New infrastructure investments by the province, notably in transit, will also help make Toronto more competitive. Some 44 per cent of Toronto residents walk, bike or take transit to work, while only 13 per cent of residents outside Toronto do. One of Toronto's biggest advantages is its diversity, with immigrants making up close to half of the city's residents. That puts it at Number 1 among the 21 global cities, above Los Angeles at 41 per cent and New York at 36 per cent. But Board of Trade chair Paul Massara warned that the talent that exists among newcomers must not be squandered – and their integration has to be ensured. "It's absolutely essential that we get this productive part of the economy working and enhance that," Massara said, noting governments have been working to improve settlement services. With files from Paul Moloney