This is a post from Alex Carrick's blog that covers the Canadian construction industry.

Since 1985, Mr. Carrick has held the position of Canadian Chief Economist with Reed Construction Data's CanaData, the leading supplier of statistics and forecasting information for the Canadian construction industry.

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Construction Industry Forecasts

Notes from Alex Carrick - Sep 22, 2009

Alex Carrick
Questions to be addressed at CanaData’s 24th Annual Construction Industry Forecasts Conference

CanaData’s 24th annual Construction Industry Forecasts Conference will be held on Thursday, September 24th, at the Liberty Grand in Toronto. The following are some key questions and themes that will be addressed and dealt with during the day by the high-powered roster of speakers. Delegate networking will also be an important source of market intelligence.

1) There is a sense that global economic recovery has begun. But how seriously will it be affected by the overhang and aftermath of the recession?

2) Is “fragile” the right word to describe consumer, business and investor confidence at this time?

3) Or is it more the case that there is huge excess capacity in the system – both in terms of laid-off workers and low factory utilization rates - that everyone knows will have to be worked off?

4) What will be the nature of the recovery, V (quick) U (prolonged) or W (fits and starts)?

5) What’s the prognosis for inflation longer-term, given all the government stimulus that has been injected into the economy in North America and elsewhere?

6) Will the Bank of Canada be able to hold the course on its very low and stimulative interest rate policy through June of next year, as earlier targeted?

7) What’s the future for housing markets in terms of starts, new and existing home prices and renovation projects? Will starts continue to languish around 150,000 units annualized or will they move back above 200,000 units within a year or two?

8) What action should Canada take (and can Canada take) if the loonie shoots past parity with the U.S. dollar?

9) It’s a timing question. Will government stimulus projects fill in the gap while private sector planning and financing picks up? Or will the public sector projects come on-stream in a lagged fashion so that they add to and heat up the market (for materials and labour) just as private sector investing is starting to recover, say in the middle of next year?

10) Will demand and recovering growth in China, Southeast Asia, India, Brazil, etc. cause a return to overheated world commodity markets? If so, how soon?

11) With respect to commodity markets and prices, construction costs have been restrained this year but what is the outlook from early 2010 on?

12) Will Alberta return to its former status as a booming economy as the international price of oil ratchets up again?

13) How seriously will environmental initiatives (e.g., the Waxman-Markey legislation in the U.S.) impact the Oil Sands?

14) Will there soon be a repeat of the regional disparities – the faster-growing raw materials rich West versus the lagging industrial East – that characterized the previous better times?

15) U.S. and world-wide regulatory reform for the financial sector is coming, but what form will it take and how restrictive will it be?

16) Will the government rescues of auto sector firms prove to be effective over more than just the short term?

17) What are the leading technology issues that the design professions, contractors and building product manufacturers will have to deal with and, in many instances, will want to tackle as a more sustainable future moves up society’s list of priorities?

This is a full plate. It should be interesting to acquire a sense of what everyone is thinking. Hope to see you there.

Alex Carrick

Find Canadian construction-related economic articles in Canadian Construction Market News and in the Economic Outlook section of Daily Commercial News. Mr. Carrick also has a lifestyle blog that can be reached by clicking here.


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