Oct. 30, 2020

ECONOMIC OUTLOOK TOUR 2020 – LOUIS VACHON, CEO, NATIONAL BANK OF CANADA AND STEFANE MARION, CHIEF ECONOMIST AND STRATEGIST, NATIONAL BANK OF CANADA AND NATIONAL BANK FINANCIAL

Louis Vachon

  • The northern hemisphere is in for a tough winter. We do not expect to have a widely available vaccine before late September 2021.
  • The volume of trade between Canada, US and China is at record levels. The new reality is that Canada will be more involved on a sector specific basis.
  • National Bank:
    • We had clear priorities at the start of the pandemic: clients, employees and regulators.
    • Technology transformation accelerated (it took 3 months to achieve results that were expected to take 2 – 4 years)
    • We are building a new head office and expect it to be completed in late 2022. Post-COVID, it will still be very important to have a head office even though most staff would like to be in the office for 3 days and work from home for 2.
    • We are well positioned for diversity, especially because of Canada’s successful immigration program. We need to improve with respect to women in senior positions.

Stefane Marion

  • This has been the worst recession in modern history.
  • The federal government stepped in quickly with historic levels of stimulus, but this cannot continue permanently.
  • Housing is inexpensive for 99.5% of Canada, with the exception of Vancouver and Toronto.
  • Overall, household spending has increased and shifted to goods from services.
  • Central banks will keep interest rates below inflation.

US ELECTIONS

  • So far 82 million Americans have voted in advance polls (227% more than 2016), either in person or by mail. 
  • Advance polls in Texas now represent 104% of all votes cast in 2016.
  • Election night’s most crucial number will be “Votes Yet To Be Counted”.
  • Each state has a different protocol for counting mail-in ballots: New York and Alaska will not report any on election night; Michigan and Pennsylvania say it could take several days; Arizona, Florida and North Carolina will report mail in votes once polls are closed, Virginia will report in-person votes first. 
  • Americans are concerned about the potential for widespread protests, regardless of who wins.
  • Walmart stores in the US have removed guns and ammunition from shelves as a precaution ahead of the US election.
  • Canada and the EU have expressed faith in the American people and their election process.

TIDBITS

  • Globe and Mail, Report on Business 50 Best Executive Awards named Kelly Blackett, Executive VP HR & Corp Comms, Canadian Western Bank ‘for believing everyone has a talent waiting to be found’.
  • Amazon is hiring 100,000 seasonal employees for the holiday season.
  • Experts are saying that the adjustment to ‘standard time’ may be minimal compared to the global upheaval of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Don’t forget to turn your clocks back Saturday night!)