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The North American economy is leading a stronger-than-expected rebound in growth among western countries, though serious risks remain in the global economy due to the Europe-centred debt crisis and overheating in emerging market economies, a Paris-based think-tank warned here Wednesday.


The Canadian economy is particularly strong this year, aided by a healthy banking sector and low government deficits relative to its competitors, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.


"I think Canada looks good - it shines, actually," said Alexandra Bibbee, who heads the group that analyses the Canadian economy for the OECD, a research body funded by 31 member countries in Europe, North America and Asia.


"Canada could even be considered a safe haven."


Canada's growth, which fell 2.7 per cent in 2009, is projected to grow by 3.6 per cent this year and ease to 3.2 per cent in 2011.


The U.S. economy is expected to grow by 3.2 per cent in both years, while Japan's will grow by 3.0 per cent in 2010 and 2.0 per cent in 2011.


The European members of the OECD, weighed down by the debt crisis that has plagued countries such as Greece, Portugal, Spain and Ireland, are the laggards with growth projected at 1.2 per cent this year and 1.8 per cent in 2011.


Surging economies in China and other emerging markets are lifting the global economy, according to the OECD.


But the debt crisis, and the risk of the bubble bursting in those emerging economies, represent serious risks and requires careful policy co-ordination, said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria.


"This is a critical time for the world economy."


(Courtesy of The Financial Post)

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