Canada seen moving up in economic rankings

Thu Aug 13, 2009 2:03pm EDT
 
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TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada is expected to move up in global economic rankings in 2009 and 2010 as the recession lingers in other countries, buoyed by a stable bank sector and lower unemployment, a study showed on Thursday.

After ranking 11th of 17 developed countries in the Conference Board of Canada's 2008 report card, Canada is expected to vault to 5th place in 2010, based on economic forecasts by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the Conference Board said.

Using the OECD's forecasts for growth, unemployment and other economic factors over the next two years, the board found Canada was poised to come out of the global recession ahead of many peers, pushing it up the rankings for international economic performance.

Belgium and the United States were also expected to move up, while Britain, the Netherlands and Switzerland are expected to fall, it said.

"Canada is expected to weather the global recession better than most of its peers, which is a credit to its stable financial sector and a relatively healthier economic position upon entering the downturn," said Conference Board Chief Economist Glen Hodgson.

Despite substantial movement among the 17 countries, the top and bottom positions are not expected to change between 2008 and 2010. Norway is expected to retain first place in both 2009 and 2010, buoyed by its resilient economy and large petroleum sector. Ireland is forecast to remain in 17th place both years.

A separate report issued on Thursday showed a growing number of Canadians are upbeat about the prospects for the national economy and employment situation in six months.

The TNS Canadian Facts' Consumer Confidence Index rose to 99.2 in August, up six percentage points from July's 93.4 reading.

"Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney declared last month that the recession is over. While unemployed Canadians may not agree with this assessment, the fact is consumer confidence has been trending upward since it fell to an all-time low last December," said Michael Antecol, director of the marketing research company's monthly tracking study.

"Canadians are increasingly optimistic. Their battered investment portfolios have recovered somewhat since last fall, housing prices are up in several markets, and the key lending rate is at historic lows," he added.

(Reporting by Andrea Hopkins; editing by Peter Galloway)

 
<p>Skyscrapers loom over a flagpole carrying the Canadian flag in the financial district in Toronto in this March 11, 2009 file photo. REUTERS/Mark Blinch</p>