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Found 14 results

  1. http://www.ottawacitizen.com/opinion/op-ed/Economics+lefties/1633305/story.html
  2. Shipping Costs Start to Crimp Globalization When Tesla Motors, a pioneer in electric-powered cars, set out to make a luxury roadster for the American market, it had the global supply chain in mind. Tesla planned to manufacture 1,000-pound battery packs in Thailand, ship them to Britain for installation, then bring the mostly assembled cars back to the United States. Bread in a New Zealand supermarket. Soaring transportation costs also have an impact on food, from bananas to salmon. But when it began production this spring, the company decided to make the batteries and assemble the cars near its home base in California, cutting more than 5,000 miles from the shipping bill for each vehicle. “It was kind of a no-brain decision for us,” said Darryl Siry, the company’s senior vice president of global sales, marketing and service. “A major reason was to avoid the transportation costs, which are terrible.” The world economy has become so integrated that shoppers find relatively few T-shirts and sneakers in Wal-Mart and Target carrying a “Made in the U.S.A.” label. But globalization may be losing some of the inexorable economic power it had for much of the past quarter-century, even as it faces fresh challenges as a political ideology. Cheap oil, the lubricant of quick, inexpensive transportation links across the world, may not return anytime soon, upsetting the logic of diffuse global supply chains that treat geography as a footnote in the pursuit of lower wages. Rising concern about global warming, the reaction against lost jobs in rich countries, worries about food safety and security, and the collapse of world trade talks in Geneva last week also signal that political and environmental concerns may make the calculus of globalization far more complex. “If we think about the Wal-Mart model, it is incredibly fuel-intensive at every stage, and at every one of those stages we are now seeing an inflation of the costs for boats, trucks, cars,” said Naomi Klein, the author of “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.” “That is necessarily leading to a rethinking of this emissions-intensive model, whether the increased interest in growing foods locally, producing locally or shopping locally, and I think that’s great.” Many economists argue that globalization will not shift into reverse even if oil prices continue their rising trend. But many see evidence that companies looking to keep prices low will have to move some production closer to consumers. Globe-spanning supply chains — Brazilian iron ore turned into Chinese steel used to make washing machines shipped to Long Beach, Calif., and then trucked to appliance stores in Chicago — make less sense today than they did a few years ago. To avoid having to ship all its products from abroad, the Swedish furniture manufacturer Ikea opened its first factory in the United States in May. Some electronics companies that left Mexico in recent years for the lower wages in China are now returning to Mexico, because they can lower costs by trucking their output overland to American consumers. Neighborhood Effect Decisions like those suggest that what some economists call a neighborhood effect — putting factories closer to components suppliers and to consumers, to reduce transportation costs — could grow in importance if oil remains expensive. A barrel sold for $125 on Friday, compared with lows of $10 a decade ago. “If prices stay at these levels, that could lead to some significant rearrangement of production, among sectors and countries,” said C. Fred Bergsten, author of “The United States and the World Economy” and director of the Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics, in Washington. “You could have a very significant shock to traditional consumption patterns and also some important growth effects.” The cost of shipping a 40-foot container from Shanghai to the United States has risen to $8,000, compared with $3,000 early in the decade, according to a recent study of transportation costs. Big container ships, the pack mules of the 21st-century economy, have shaved their top speed by nearly 20 percent to save on fuel costs, substantially slowing shipping times. The study, published in May by the Canadian investment bank CIBC World Markets, calculates that the recent surge in shipping costs is on average the equivalent of a 9 percent tariff on trade. “The cost of moving goods, not the cost of tariffs, is the largest barrier to global trade today,” the report concluded, and as a result “has effectively offset all the trade liberalization efforts of the last three decades.” The spike in shipping costs comes at a moment when concern about the environmental impact of globalization is also growing. Many companies have in recent years shifted production from countries with greater energy efficiency and more rigorous standards on carbon emissions, especially in Europe, to those that are more lax, like China and India But if the international community fulfills its pledge to negotiate a successor to the Kyoto Protocol to combat climate change, even China and India would have to reduce the growth of their emissions, and the relative costs of production in countries that use energy inefficiently could grow. The political landscape may also be changing. Dissatisfaction with globalization has led to the election of governments in Latin America hostile to the process. A somewhat similar reaction can be seen in the United States, where both Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton promised during the Democratic primary season to “re-evaluate” the nation’s existing free trade agreements. Last week, efforts to complete what is known as the Doha round of trade talks collapsed in acrimony, dealing a serious blow to tariff reduction. The negotiations, begun in 2001, failed after China and India battled the United States over agricultural tariffs, with the two developing countries insisting on broad rights to protect themselves against surges of food imports that could hurt their farmers. Some critics of globalization are encouraged by those developments, which they see as a welcome check on the process. On environmentalist blogs, some are even gleefully promoting a “globalization death watch.” Many leading economists say such predictions are probably overblown. “It would be a mistake, a misinterpretation, to think that a huge rollback or reversal of fundamental trends is under way,” said Jeffrey D. Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University. “Distance and trade costs do matter, but we are still in a globalized era.” As economists and business executives well know, shipping costs are only one factor in determining the flow of international trade. When companies decide where to invest in a new factory or from whom to buy a product, they also take into account exchange rates, consumer confidence, labor costs, government regulations and the availability of skilled managers. ‘People Were Profligate’ What may be coming to an end are price-driven oddities like chicken and fish crossing the ocean from the Western Hemisphere to be filleted and packaged in Asia not to be consumed there, but to be shipped back across the Pacific again. “Because of low costs, people were profligate,” said Nayan Chanda, author of “Bound Together,” a history of globalization. The industries most likely to be affected by the sharp rise in transportation costs are those producing heavy or bulky goods that are particularly expensive to ship relative to their sale price. Steel is an example. China’s steel exports to the United States are now tumbling by more than 20 percent on a year-over-year basis, their worst performance in a decade, while American steel production has been rising after years of decline. Motors and machinery of all types, car parts, industrial presses, refrigerators, television sets and other home appliances could also be affected. Plants in industries that require relatively less investment in infrastructure, like furniture, footwear and toys, are already showing signs of mobility as shipping costs rise. Until recently, standard practice in the furniture industry was to ship American timber from ports like Norfolk, Baltimore and Charleston to China, where oak and cherry would be milled into sofas, beds, tables, cabinets and chairs, which were then shipped back to the United States. But with transportation costs rising, more wood is now going to traditional domestic furniture-making centers in North Carolina and Virginia, where the industry had all but been wiped out. While the opening of the American Ikea plant, in Danville, Va., a traditional furniture-producing center hit hard by the outsourcing of production to Asia, is perhaps most emblematic of such changes, other manufacturers are also shifting some production back to the United States. Among them is Craftmaster Furniture, a company founded in North Carolina but now Chinese-owned. And at an industry fair in April, La-Z-Boy announced a new line that will begin production in North Carolina this month. “There’s just a handful of us left, but it has become easier for us domestic folks to compete,” said Steven Kincaid of Kincaid Furniture in Hudson, N.C., a division of La-Z-Boy. Avocado Salad in January Soaring transportation costs also have an impact on food, from bananas to salmon. Higher shipping rates could eventually transform some items now found in the typical middle-class pantry into luxuries and further promote the so-called local food movement popular in many American and European cities. “This is not just about steel, but also maple syrup and avocados and blueberries at the grocery store,” shipped from places like Chile and South Africa, said Jeff Rubin, chief economist at CIBC World Markets and co-author of its recent study on transport costs and globalization. “Avocado salad in Minneapolis in January is just not going to work in this new world, because flying it in is going to make it cost as much as a rib eye.” Global companies like General Electric, DuPont, Alcoa and Procter & Gamble are beginning to respond to the simultaneous increases in shipping and environmental costs with green policies meant to reduce both fuel consumption and carbon emissions. That pressure is likely to increase as both manufacturers and retailers seek ways to tighten the global supply chain. “Being green is in their best interests not so much in making money as saving money,” said Gary Yohe, an environmental economist at Wesleyan University. “Green companies are likely to be a permanent trend, as these vulnerabilities continue, but it’s going to take a long time for all this to settle down.” In addition, the sharp increase in transportation costs has implications for the “just-in-time” system pioneered in Japan and later adopted the world over. It is a highly profitable business strategy aimed at reducing warehousing and inventory costs by arranging for raw materials and other supplies to arrive only when needed, and not before. Jeffrey E. Garten, the author of “World View: Global Strategies for the New Economy” and a former dean of the Yale School of Management, said that companies “cannot take a risk that the just-in-time system won’t function, because the whole global trading system is based on that notion.” As a result, he said, “they are going to have to have redundancies in the supply chain, like more warehousing and multiple sources of supply and even production.” One likely outcome if transportation rates stay high, economists said, would be a strengthening of the neighborhood effect. Instead of seeking supplies wherever they can be bought most cheaply, regardless of location, and outsourcing the assembly of products all over the world, manufacturers would instead concentrate on performing those activities as close to home as possible. In a more regionalized trading world, economists say, China would probably end up buying more of the iron ore it needs from Australia and less from Brazil, and farming out an even greater proportion of its manufacturing work to places like Vietnam and Thailand. Similarly, Mexico’s maquiladora sector, the assembly plants concentrated near its border with the United States, would become more attractive to manufacturers with an eye on the American market. But a trend toward regionalization would not necessarily benefit the United States, economists caution. Not only has it lost some of its manufacturing base and skills over the past quarter-century, and experienced a decline in consumer confidence as part of the current slowdown, but it is also far from the economies that have become the most dynamic in the world, those of Asia. “Despite everything, the American economy is still the biggest Rottweiler on the block,” said Jagdish N. Bhagwati, the author of “In Defense of Globalization” and a professor of economics at Columbia. “But if it’s expensive to get products from there to here, it’s also expensive to get them from here to there.” http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/03/business/worldbusiness/03global.html?pagewanted=1&em
  3. https://blog.cogecopeer1.com/why-montreal-is-fast-emerging-as-canadas-cloud-hub?utm_campaign=FY16%20Inbound%20GLOBAL%20Mar%20Colocation%20Digital&utm_content=31021264&utm_medium=social&utm_source=linkedin So, what makes Montreal attractive for tech startups and cloud providers? The city has low power and real estate costs, making Canada’s second largest financial center more attractive to Canadian organizations. The city’s cold climate is a big advantage. One of the largest costs of running a data center is providing cooling for hardware, and having a supply of freezing cold air for much of the year helps. Montreal, with a population of a million and a half, has a plentiful supply of engineers, and is home to the largest concentration of research complexes in Canada, so is not short of skilled workers. Then there is the abundant supply of green power. It is one of the most inexpensive means of generating electricity, and for organizations requiring power hungry SANs and scaled out storage, cheap power is more attractive than the cheap connectivity offered by a city with a peering exchange.
  4. Deflation a concern in North America By Paul Vieira, Financial Post February 20, 2009 OTTAWA -- Inflation in North America is to remain benign for the months -- and perhaps years -- ahead, analysts say, as a shrinking global economy undercuts commodity prices and inventories in Canada remain at excess levels. Data were released in both Canada and the United States on Friday. The Canadian numbers, Bay Street economists say, further strengthen the case for the Bank of Canada to cut its key lending rate by a further 50 basis points on March 3. Further, the data indicate deflation remains a concern for policy-makers on both sides of the border. Statistics Canada said the headline inflation rate dropped for a fourth consecutive month, to 1.1% from 1.2%. The Bank of Canada’s core rate, which removes elements subject to volatile prices, such as energy, dropped to 1.9% from 2.4%. That is in contrast to the United States, where the cost of living rose 0.3% in January, the first climb in six months based on stronger energy prices. Last month, prices fell 0.8%. The U.S. numbers initially eased deflationary fears. Analysts, however, were not so confident. "The near-term risk has lightened a little bit, but if anything the medium-term risk may have been ramped up a notch or two by the clear evidence about how the global economy is sliding," Douglas Porter, deputy chief economist at BMO Capital Markets, said. "The deep dive in the global economy threatens to further undercut commodity prices, and more broadly, pricing power in other industrial goods." Mr. Porter said the BMO economics team envisages the global economy shrinking 0.5% this year. As it happens, economists at Toronto-Dominion Bank issued an updated outlook that forecasts a similar contraction in the world economy -- the first since the Second World War. "Deflation is not a paramount risk right now -- but it is a risk when you are looking at a global contraction," said Richard Kelly, the TD senior economist who issued the revised global forecast. The Bank of Canada had forecast inflation would dip below zero for two quarters this year, largely based on the big drop in energy prices. However, the central bank has dismissed concerns about deflation, calling risk "remote." Mr. Porter said he believes Canada can avoid deflation, "but my conviction is weakening given just how weak the global economy has become." In a related report, David Wolf, chief Canadian economist at Bank of America Securities-Merrill Lynch, said inventory held by Canadian companies remains at higher levels compared with their U.S. counterparts. As a result, this excess supply will attract lower prices -- which will further drive down inflation. Mr. Wolf added there remains an "excess" overbuilding of housing supply in Canada. "That will continue to be a factor that will put a lot of downward pressure on prices," he said, adding that new house prices make up a small component of the consumer price index. © Copyright © National Post
  5. The Ugly Canadian at global trade talks in Geneva Jeffrey Simpson Editorial - The Globe and Mail mardi 29 juillet 2008 When is failure a success ? For the Harper government, as for previous Canadian governments, failure in international trade negotiations means political success. Failure prevents the government from having to face the ire and political retribution of Canada’s supply management groups, which govern the production, sale and pricing of eggs, poultry and dairy. These are the lobby groups Canadian politicians bow down before. In 2005, the House of Commons unanimously passed a resolution instructing negotiators to defend the existing supply management arrangements. Any change, according to the Commons, would be unacceptable. This from a group who couldn’t agree today is Tuesday. Canada’s negotiators at the last-gasp meetings in Geneva this week are taking a position to defend supply management that will in effect lead to failure at the talks. After all, how do you negotiate in good faith when your negotiating instructions are that no changes must be made, ever, under any circumstances to the status quo ? Whenever International Trade Minister Michael Fortier and Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz appear in public in Geneva, they are questioned, badgered and otherwise verbally accosted by the legions of supply management representatives who have descended on the city. Back home, these organizations issue threatening press releases at the hint of change to their cozy arrangements. On Saturday, when it looked as if progress was being made at the talks, Quebec’s farmers’ union denounced an "agreement concocted in secret" and demanded that Canada repudiate it. What are the supply management arrangements ? In part, they allow tiny levels of imports, after which tariffs are imposed at 299 per cent for butter, 246 per cent for cheese and at astronomical levels for other dairy products, turkeys, chickens, eggs. Every other advanced industrial country, including the United States and European Union members, are proposing cuts to subsidies and other barriers. Only Canada is against any change in its domestic arrangements. Predictably, Canada is completely isolated at Geneva. Canada stands hypocritically before the world. Canada’s negotiators demand that other countries lower their subsides and protection for agricultural products that we export (grains, pork, cattle and the like), while insisting that whole sections of Canada’s agricultural market remain effectively closed to imports. This hypocrisy has been widely noted abroad, but it apparently causes no ripples in Canada, where people either do not know about it or believe that Canada, being a moral superpower in its own mind, can afford the occasional lapse from unsullied virtue. An early text of a possible agreement would have lowered tariffs gradually by 23 per cent, thereby still leaving them for many products in the range of 150 to 225 per cent - still astronomically higher than for any other products. This possibility sent the supply-managed groups into paroxysms of anger. Dairy, poultry and egg producers jointly said such proposals would "destroy our farms by allowing Canada to be flooded with imported food." Such grotesque hyperbole is the stock and trade of these groups, but it frightens politicians of all stripes. Stephen Harper’s government is supposed to be a free-trading group, proposing new deals with Colombia, Peru, the Caribbean and the EU, and waxing indignant at any threats to NAFTA. But when it comes to supply management, it nervously eyes seats it must win in rural Quebec and Ontario and acquiesces to the demands of farmers. Quebec is the greatest beneficiary of supply management, since 47 per cent of the quota for industrial milk used to make butter, cheese, yogurt and other dairy products belongs to Quebec farmers. Half of Quebec’s production is therefore "exported" to the rest of Canada, which under supply management cannot import the same product from cheaper suppliers. It’s an across-the-board, across-the-country racket. Political will being completely absent in Canada, the only hope for trimming supply management lies in success at the WTO. If international trade talks succeed, Canada could never walk away from the entire agreement. If Canada tried, it would be outside the entire framework of international trading rules, a disaster for a trade-dependent economy. So what Canadian ministers must do, as they are doing now, is put forth a position on supply management designed to prevent success while publicly insisting on striving for it. It is the Ugly Canadian position.
  6. Calgary population surge shows signs of slowing DAWN WALTON From Tuesday's Globe and Mail July 22, 2008 at 4:17 AM EDT CALGARY — Calgary's stunning population growth continues, according to the city's latest census, but boomtown is starting to show signs of a slowdown. Fewer people are pulling up stakes to move to the country's oil and gas capital, and the city's housing frenzy, which saw unprecedented bidding wars and zero vacancy rates, is a thing of the past, according to figures released yesterday. But with the addition of 22,950 new residents in the 12 months preceding April of 2008, bringing the city's population to 1,042,892, it's too early to say the boom is going bust. "Calgary still remains the trendsetter in the nation in terms of not only population growth, but those who are moving to our city," Calgary Mayor Dave Bronconnier told reporters yesterday. Affordable housing is finally easier to find in Calgary, as supply starts to catch up with demand. Chris Bolin for The Globe and Mail Enlarge Image Affordable housing is finally easier to find in Calgary, as supply starts to catch up with demand. (Chris Bolin for The Globe and Mail) The Globe and Mail The 2.3-per-cent population increase was fuelled by the birth of about 27 babies each day and about 34 people moving here daily. The pace is still slightly higher than the 10-year average, but 2007-08 marked the second consecutive year population growth did not amount to what the mayor called a "phenomenal" year in 2005-06, when the city added 35,681 new residents. In 2006, the city surpassed one million residents, two years earlier than projected. But as more and more people were lured to Calgary amid an acute labour shortage, newcomers arrived to find apartments converted to condominiums and home prices out of reach for many first-time buyers. Calgary's latest census figures show that affordable housing is finally easier to find. "[The market] couldn't maintain the frantic and hectic pace through 2008," said Gerry Baxter, executive director of the Calgary Apartment Association. "The whole housing industry had gone crazy." According to the census, the city's vacancy rate increased to more than 2.2 per cent in April, 2008, up from almost 1.5 per cent 12 months earlier. Meanwhile, the number of housing units - both existing residences and those under construction - jumped to 432,997 from 420,311. "After such a record growth in the last few years, you're finally starting to see supply catch up with demand," Mr. Bronconnier said. Still, Calgary's population growth continues at the fringes of the city where new suburbs are being built. The city faces about $7.5-billion to keep up with infrastructure demands over the next decade. "I think growth is a good thing in a lot of ways as opposed to a bad thing," said David Watson, the city's general manager for planning, assessment and development, "The challenge is of course the farther out you go there's more and more requirements for infrastructure." http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080722.wcalgary22/BNStory/National/home
  7. Man Enters Brothel To Find Wife Working There Thursday January 10, 2008 CityNews.ca Staff A Polish man got the shock of his life Wednesday when he did something he knows he shouldn't have - cheated on his wife. The unnamed gentleman decided to visit a Warsaw brothel and take advantage of the services provided in the not-so-legal establishment. But when he walked in the door, any lascivious thoughts he may have had turned to anger, after he recognized one of the people working inside - his own spouse. It turns out his wife had decided to make a little extra money on the side, telling her husband she was working at a nearby store to explain where she disappeared to every day and where her supply of cash came from. "I was dumfounded. I thought I was dreaming," the husband told a local newspaper. The couple has been married for 14 years, but it's unlikely they'll be celebrating a 15th anniversary. After their mutual discovery of what each other was up to, they've now filed for divorce.
  8. (Courtesy of The Financial Post) Plus they forgot, soon to be one of the largest producers of lithium. Thing is the US could get all their "black gold" from the Bakken Formation (part of it is in Canada but the rest is in the US). Here some info on the Bakken: Research
  9. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/investment-ideas/features/at-the-bell/torontos-moving-on-up-and-up/article2343503/ how the hell is Toronto's real estate market going to stay intact with this kind of new supply on the market? I look how people in the media and banks defend that this is not a bubble. When Toronto has more new real construction than NYC+Chicago put together??
  10. (Courtesy of The Huffington Post) Plus there is a little demonstration how the system works, if you go to the link
  11. http://www.mercer.com/qualityoflivingpr#city-rankings Montréal figure assez bien pour les infrastructures en 13e position, et devant Toronto. Les infrastructures sont definis comme tel: 'electricity supply, water availability, telephone and mail services, public transportation, traffic congestion and the range of international flights from local airports'.
  12. https://blog.cogecopeer1.com/why-montreal-is-fast-emerging-as-canadas-cloud-hub?utm_campaign=FY16%20Inbound%20GLOBAL%20Mar%20Colocation%20Digital&utm_content=32715745&utm_medium=social&utm_source=linkedin
  13. Solar shingles from Dow Chemical make Top 10 tech list By Jeff Kart | The Bay City Times October 12, 2009, 2:44PM The Saginaw News A concept illustration of the Dow Chemical solar shingle. A clean tech blog called CleanTechnica has a post up on the "Top 10 Solar Technologies to Watch Out For." Coming in at No. 3: "Solar Roof Shingles, Printable and Paintable Solar Panels ... Solar shingles, by Dow Chemical, should be available in limited supply by mid 2010 and then readily available by 2011, says the company." Dow officials showed off the company's solar shingles to Gov. Jennifer Granholm in Midland earlier this month. The company launched a $53.5 million solar shingle initiative in 2008, with help from a $20 million U.S. Department of Energy grant. http://www.mlive.com/mudpuppy/index.ssf/2009/10/solar_shingles_from_dow_chemic.html