Gazing deeply into his crystal ball, a noted and respected financial and economic expert told the Wetaskiwin Chamber of Commerce what he sees in store for 2020.
And it didn’t sound that bad.
National Bank Financial’s Angus Watt, who also spearheads the Angus Watt Advisory Group and appears regularly in Edmonton media, gave chamber members an overview of what’s been happening in the provincial, national and international economies, plus a look at what could happen in 2020.
Watt took a quick look at third quarter manufacturing data, and for the United States and China, things looked okay; he also noted the economy has stabilized. The fact that the United States has full employment right now is helping.
Watt said if inflation doesn’t show up in 2020, then it very likely “won’t show up for a long time.”
Of great interest to Albertans, the price of a barrel of crude oil is a subject of debate Watt said; he noted the price needs to go up because oil is under-invested and under-valued right now. However, investors can get better returns overseas in places like Africa he noted.
He did state, however, that demand for oil has continued to grow and will continue doing that.
Watt discussed how certain online retail businesses function, and how the items purchased are delivered. He pointed out the huge transport ships that move cargo, and how much pollution they generate, and that such things could come to a head.
The issue of water supplies was also mentioned. Watt said a looming crisis surrounds water and economies, noting in his presentation that it requires 4,385 gallons of water in the manufacture of a single pair of leather shoes. “The demand is going to continue,” he said, noting Alberta has excellent water resources and some foreign nations know it.
Alberta unemployment last year was higher than other provinces while crude oil production stalled.
Watt said, domestically, Canada enjoys strong population growth and core inflation is near a cyclical high.
He noted that global populations continue to move away from rural areas into urban areas, while populations in many nations around the world continue to shrink. Lower birthrates in some nations, he stated, are sometimes attributed to less influence from kin, organized religion and an increase in women’s rights.
Watt also discussed an aging population; he pointed out right now there are 6.1 people working for every retired person. By 2050, it’s projected there will be only 3.4 for every retired person, making it that much more challenging for retired people to be supported.