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Short and shallow: economist (November 16, 2001)

TORONTO, Ont. -- The Loonie is looking more and more like a plucked chicken every day, but Dr. Sherry Cooper, one o...

TORONTO, Ont. — The Loonie is looking more and more like a plucked chicken every day, but Dr. Sherry Cooper, one of Canada’s top economists, is forecasting an economic boom by spring.

“This will be a short and shallow recession,” promises Cooper, who when she isn’t busy in her role as global economic strategist and executive vice-president of both Harris Bank in Chicago and the Bank of Montreal, also provides the economic and market analysis for BMO Nesbitt Burns Securities.

“Though I did revise downwards my estimates for this year, I also revised my estimates upwards for the next year,” she says. “The rebound will be spectacular … We are truly in a remarkable period.”

She indicates the North American economy will begin rebounding by the spring with it clearly on its feet by the summer.

“In fact, based on the most recent numbers,” she adds, “it’s already happening.”

The biggest challenges stem from life in the post Sept. 11 world, and migration of Just-In-Time delivery — at least in the short-term — to Just-In-Case, she adds.

“Manufacturers have had to wonder whether or not they’ll receive the inputs that are so vital to production,” says Cooper. “And retailers have had trouble stocking finished product.”

The current recession differs greatly from those of the past, as it was trigger by the success of the business community rather than consumers. In March 2000 — when the Nasdaq began its slide — and May 2000 — when the TSE followed suit, inventories were through the roof.

“It will take about a year before inventories are reduced,” she says, later adding the terrorist attacks took an economy flirting with collapse and thrust it over the edge. Thanks to the number of people with connections to the world’s markets, the result is household net worth has plummeted, to the point it’s being called the biggest drop in history.

“Many people are now living hand to mouth,” she says. “It’s not just an American or Canadian phenomenon — it’s global.”

Thanks to the many cuts to interest rates and a plunge in oil prices, heavy-duty trucking companies can expect the good old days to be just around the next corner.

“This will be a multi-decade period of tremendous wealth creation,” she concludes.

Mark Dailey, of Toronto’s City TV fame, adds any help the fleets can get would be welcome as, Truck transport companies are the oil, the fuel and indeed the antifreeze in our economic engine.”

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