Economist Michael Graham , in his third consecutive appearance at the Automotive Industries Association Annual Aftermarket Forum says that positive economic signs are coming, with an economic upturn next year or 2003.
"If the economy is going o turn sometime next year, the stock markets are going to turn six to 12 months ahead of time. That’s the time when, in a matter of days or weeks, you make huge gains," said Graham, the opening speaker at the event, held in Toronto today.
Right now, says Graham, Wall Street has one trillion dollars parked on the side in institutional cash; Canada about 100 billion dollars. "One day next year, something will happen, and all of that will start heading for the market together.
"Superior investing, is a long-term proposition made up of surprises, but if you’re properly positioned and prepared, you can withstand that sort of thing. And then the trends–last year I emphasized that the trend is everyone’s friend–but right now the turning points are there, and (you have to be prepared) to catch the sweet spot that becomes the trend.
"That is the stage that I believe our whole world is at right now."
In an economy where the U.S. dollar continues to be strong despite dropping interest rates–fueling a continued trade deficit–Graham gave the Canadian economy a resounding passing mark in his report card on our economy.
"The Goodship Canada is somewhat more fragile than Supertanker U.S.A.," but in very good shape, the further the Quebec referendum fades into the past. "But not the old Canada, the Canada that ran up those horrific deficits. No one will ever be that stupid again to do what we did to ourselves."
Debt to GDP is down to the mid-50 percentage area–a very respectable global level–as a result of which we are "no longer taxed to death."
Graham says he is stunned that Canada broke the trillion dollar market in GDP in 2000–and despite a slow down this year–next year estimated growth at less than 1.0%, with 2003 projected at 3.0%. The confluence of factors–the value of the Canadian dollar, our debt levels, our inflation rates, buoyant profits–makes Canada a powerful investment combination not yet recognized in the world at large.
International currency traders still think of us as drawers of water and hewers of wood, but pure natural resources are much less a part of our economy than even 20 years ago.
"We are a much better diversified economy than we were.
"Watch the productivity gap (with the U.S.) narrow. Watch Canadian profits perform better than U.S. profits–real true profits. Ultimately profits drive stock markets and Canadian profits much better than American profits.
"We have our fiscal side under control, and I don’t realize that the world knows that yet."
A complete report on the AIA forum will appear in the December issue of Jobber News Magazine, available exclusively to members of the automotive aftermarket distribution segment in Canada.
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