Canadian economists see U.S. rebound helping Canada in 2013

Fri Jan 11, 2013 2:20pm EST
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* Global economy seen moderately stronger in 2013

* United States expected to lead advanced economy gains

* CIBC says stock pickers to favor growth over dividends

By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO, Jan 11 (Reuters) - A U.S. housing recovery and a broader global rebound from the second half of this year will likely prop up Canada's sluggish domestic economy, economists at Canada's largest banks said on Friday in cautiously optimistic forecasts.

The economists admitted they were troubled by signs of a slowdown in Canadian housing and by a currency widely considered overvalued. But the consensus was for gradual economic improvement as the year goes on.

"2013 is a year where the pendulum is likely to swing back towards a stronger global economy, but gradually over the course of the year, gaining momentum as we head into 2014," said Craig Alexander, chief economist at Toronto-Dominion Bank.

Perhaps surprisingly, given the current focus on U.S. fiscal brinkmanship and soft economic data, the economists mostly pointed to the situation in the United States as the source of most Canadian growth.

"Up until this point it may have seemed like the U.S. recovery has had all the vim and vigor of a slug waking up after a five-year nap, but we think that will change in 2013," said Doug Porter, deputy chief economist at BMO Capital Markets.   Continued...