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Econowatch: An economic scorecard for the month

The good and bad news from North America and beyond


 

The good news

  • Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz says the economy will soon “normalize,” eliminating the need for ultra-low interest rates. Never has normal sounded so good.
  • Ford Motor Co. is investing $700 million to retool its Oakville, Ont., assembly plant, helping to keep it on the cutting edge. Better yet, the money will go a long way toward securing more than 2,800 Canadian jobs.
  • A longer version of Boeing’s trouble-plagued 787 Dreamliner has successfully completed its first test flight. The 290-passenger plane promises to provide additional lift for 787 sales.
  • Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced the creation of a national securities regulator last week. Only Ontario and B.C. have signed on, but other provinces are sure to fall in line.

The bad news

  • Canada’s bubbly housing market continues to inflate. Sales in Toronto were up 29 per cent in mid-September, while a luxury Vancouver condo just sold for a record $40 million. Here’s hoping nobody has a pin.
  • U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke balked at plans to start winding down an $85-billion-a-month bond-buying program. The U.S. economic recovery still comes with an asterisk.
  • Roughly one in six Canadians believe they will never be able to retire, working right up until the bitter end. Time for company cafeterias to add prune juice to the menu.
  • Canadian manufacturers may be in for a hard landing. New factory orders fell 1.7 per cent to $49.8 billion in July, led by a decline in the aerospace industry.
  • Canadians made 4.7 million trips to the U.S. in July, down 2.1 per cent from June. Meanwhile, travel to Canada from overseas was down nearly one per cent. Fewer vacations abroad could suggest increasingly tough times at home.

 
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