In Toronto, we have been experiencing warmer than normal weather recently. So much so, that even the snowflakes that speckled the home page of our very own Synergy Merchant Services website have all melted away!
Most Torontonians are hopeful that this is a surefire sign that winter is over and that spring is finally here. Similarly, most Canadians are hoping that along with the icy, cold and snowy conditions, the recession-impacted winter season is also gone.
In the March 18th, 2009 edition of The Toronto Sun, Julian Beltrame of The Canadian Press writes that this past winter was perhaps the worst in the history of the Canadian economy as a new report from Merrill Lynch notes that it is “shrinking faster than at any time since the Great Depression”.
The automotive industry, it seems, has taken one of the biggest hits financially, seeing a dip in wholesale sales by 23% this past January. This has impacted the entire countrys wholesale sales by 4.2% instead of the 0.9% it would have been had the automotive sector been excluded from consideration.
Writes Beltrame: “In dollar terms, wholesale sales fell to $41.1 billion in January, as the automotive products sector fell to $5 billion from $6.5 billion, and motor vehicles crashed to $3.37 billion from $4.8 billion.”
If the weather in Toronto is somehow a metaphorical sign of things to come, perhaps Canadas financial hardships will work themselves out sooner than expected. Beltrame writes that Merrill Lynch economist David Wolf believes that the economy should begin to grow again by the second half of 2009, although it will take until 2011 for Canadas economy to return to where it was in 2007.
To assist automakers with achieving this optimistic aim, the federal and provincial governments are preparing to offer billions of dollars in assistance to Chyrsler Canada and General Motors of Canada provided that they meet particular requirements like lowering their labour costs.
For the rest of this week, Torontos weather forecast indicates that temperatures are not set to dip below the freezing mark. As well, no snow is expected. Could things really be warming up?
Beltrame notes that in January, industries in the “other product” sector such as agricultural chemical and other farm supplies as well as seed wholesalers saw a 5.1% increase in sales after an 8.4% drop in December.
Surely, the nation collectively agrees that this occurrence hopefully does foreshadow a sunnier economic future.