A Canadian comeback on the horizon?

OTTAWA — The Bank of Canada’s quarterly monetary report predicts economic growth to turn positive in the third quarter this year, after posting negative results since the last quarter of 2008.

Overall, the Bank of Canada expects real GDP to contract by 2.3 percent this year, followed by growth of 3 percent in 2010 and by 3.5 percent in 2011.

Growth in the third quarter of 2009 would officially signal an end to the recession, which is classified as two consecutive quarters of shrinkage.

Results from the latest Ontario Trucking Association Business Pulse e-Survey shared similar positive results. The survey of trucking companies conducted between July 6 and July 20 indicates that the industry is less pessimistic heading into the third quarter.

A slight majority – 52 percent – of respondents felt the Canadian economy had hit bottom, which is a big jump from the 25 percent who felt the national economy had hit bottom at the beginning of the second quarter.

The news is not so good for Ontario. A majority of carriers at 54 percent still feel the province has not hit bottom.

While the Canadian economy shows signs of promise, the Bank of Canada and the OTA survey predict still predict some time before we see a U.S. recovery.

“While the results may indicate that the economy is inching its way towards staunching the bleeding, things are still very uncertain, especially for Ontario,” says David Bradley, president of the OTA. “What we are seeing is an indication that economic activity may have or may be approaching the point where it has found the bottom; we are not seeing signs of meaningful growth and recovery at this point.

“There are so many variables right now – the U.S. economy, the recent appreciation of the dollar, the availability of credit – that continue to overhang our view of things. I would characterize our outlook as being slightly more hopeful than optimistic at this point,” he adds.

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