Economic Outlook

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Hear directly from RBC Global Asset Management Chief Economist, Eric Lascelles in his monthly and quarterly updates. Representing RBC GAM Investment Strategy Committee's (RISC) economic views, Eric shares timely insights and the expectations of RBC GAM on the global economy.

Monthly Economic Outlook Webcast

Monthly Economic Outlook Webcast

Economic strength continues - March 2017

Eric Lascelles, Chief Economist, RBC Global Asset Management, shares the latest views on the global economy and offers insight into today’s economic issues.

The webcast includes an audio and slide presentation.

Launch Presentation

Key Highlights

  • Global growth is still on an upswing as economic signals show manufacturing cranking higher, global inflation moving up and positive economic surprises increasing. However, downside risks remain, with protectionism and populist sentiment rising, the business cycle ageing and several important European elections looming.

  • U.S. regulatory burdens have worsened slightly over the past decade; but, the ease of doing business in the U.S. is still better than most countries. However, small business owners feel differently, saying "red tape" problems are more of a hindrance than usual. RBC GAM is expecting some economic boost in the future from the "less regulation" mantra of the Trump administration.

  • The U.S. job market is tightening, allowing for more wage growth. This is good for workers but not for companies' profit margins. If inflationary pressures are to be avoided down the road, the U.S. Federal Reserve needs to act to moderate this impact. Meanwhile, U.S. credit conditions have tightened in anticipation of higher rates.

  • The average U.S. household's debt burden is unusually low right now. The burden of paying mortgages is very low, but non-mortgage-debt servicing is tightening slightly. RBC GAM believes as gauge of the credit cycle moving forward, this is not something to worry too much about.

  • Eurozone growth continues to improve above-consensus forecast, and RBC GAM expects the euro to decline further. Across the Eurozone, inflation has been rising, yet at varying rates depending on the country, which is proving a challenge for the European Central Bank.

  • In China, the boost from government spending in early 2016 is waning. RBC GAM forecasts that the Chinese economy will most likely slow over the first half of 2017.

  • Effects of the Trump administration on Canada are both positive and negative, although RBC GAM believes they lean more towards the negative. Possibly affecting Canada positively are: faster short-term U.S. growth, a weaker Canadian dollar, the Keystone pipeline, and potentially less competition from Mexico and China. Negative factors include: higher interest rates, tax and environmental policy divergences, and higher NATO spending obligations.

  • Vancouver housing has softened, while Toronto remains unsustainably strong and the hottest market in Canada. Historically, Toronto home-price booms are brief and tend to cool abruptly.

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