Robust picture painted for Alberta’s future

A senior economist with ATB painted a fairly bright financial picture for Alberta to a crowd of about 100 people attending a presentation

A senior economist with ATB painted a fairly bright financial picture for Alberta to a crowd of about 100 people attending a presentation in Sylvan Lake, last Thursday.

“Alberta is all about oil and crude oil prices are pretty solid right now,” said Todd Hirsch, in his presentation sponsored by Sylvan Lake Chamber of Commerce and the local ATB branch. “Albertans are spending a lot and feeling very confident. They are secure in their jobs. Retail is robust and the population is growing.”

Hirsch said Albertans have a right to feel confident because they are situated well in Western Canada.

Alberta is all about oil, he noted, adding tension in the Middle East has moved prices up.

“The Middle East is a big supply for crude oil.”

While oil prices are not expected to fall, they are volatile.

“I would like to say oil prices would never tumble, but they could,” he added.

“One thing I know for sure, oil could be between zero and a million dollars a barrel,” he joked. “(It could become a) touch softer than it is now, but we will continue to see investment in oil sands and conventional drilling.”

The agriculture picture is looking brighter than it has in the past, he added.

“Things are looking a little brighter for agriculture. Prices are rising.”

He attributed the higher prices to a higher standard of living in China and India.

“They want more food and better quality of food,” he said. “Western Canada is situated well to take advantage of that.”

On the livestock front, Hirsch suggested the e coli situation is not a real cause for alarm economically.

“I don’t think there will be a real economic fallout because of e coli. At this point it is not a reason for concern.”

Mortgage rates in Canada should remain constant in 2013, he said.

“There is not a whiff of inflation in the Canadian economy. I can’t see much movement in mortgage rates for 12 to 15 months,” he said.

The U.S. economy is only okay, he noted.

“The best you can say for the U.S. economy is they are treading water. It is not operating where it should.”

The employment picture in the U.S. doesn’t seem to be particularly bright, he said.

“Jobs are not coming back to the U.S. and discouraged workers are dropping out of the work force.”

While Hirsch emphasized that locally, the economy is strong and stable, he said global economy might feel like a mess, and the traditional tools of monetary policy don’t appear to be working. Hirsch compared the global economy to eating in a restaurant where there were no utensils and no accommodating waiters or waitresses.

He said compromise and co-operation among the chiefs of global economy is the only way to prevent a major economic downturn.

Carlo Simonot, past president of Sylvan Lake Chamber of Commerce said Hirsch’s presentation was informative and interesting.

“We were fortunate to have a high level economist speak to us and it was nice to hear facts that weren’t all gloom and doom. It was nice to hear his opinions on local and global economy from someone with their feet on the ground; someone who is here in Alberta versus someone from Toronto.

Simonot said after listening to Hirsch he sees Alberta in a positive, economic cycle and the rest of Canada sitting on a nice, steady incline.

Just Posted

Certified Sustainable Beef Workshop introduces new approach

Alberta beef industry is one of the most sustainable industries in the province

Council reallocates funds to purchase portable amphitheatre

$100,000 entrusted from Heart of Town Association will be used for the purchase

Fentanyl information session gives parents a new perspective

Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools partnered with RCMP and Turning Point

The Little Mermaid comes to Sylvan

The Ecole Mother Teresa Performing Arts Department performed the musical

Multi-sport event approved for August-long weekend

Multi-Sport at the Lake will include a triathlon to be held on Aug. 4

WATCH: Record number of nominees for Women of Excellence

Various Central Alberta women recognized for their different contributions

Notorious Russian troll farm also took swipes at Canadian targets

Targets included oil infrastructure and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Cirque du Soleil aerialist dies after fall during Florida show

Longtime performer fell while performing in VOLTA

Canadian Paralympic team picked up record 28 medals

The 55 athletes strong had set a cautious goal of 17 medals for PyeongChang

Canadian comic Mike MacDonald dies at 63

Ottawa-born comedian had performed on David Letterman

Young Jersey cow takes Saturday night walk through Ponoka

Ponoka residents help police locate runaway bovine, which was safely collected.

4 facts to ring in St. Patrick’s Day

What do you really know about the Irish celebration?

PHOTOS: Team Tanner takes in northern lights in Yellowknife

The aurora borealis and storm hunters photograph Yellowknife’s picturesque night skies

Search continues for 10-year-old Montreal boy missing since Monday

Montreal police said they are exploring every possibility in search for Ariel Jeffrey Kouakou

Most Read