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05-Aug-2017 16:46 by 4 Comments

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Between the beginning of 2002 and the middle of last year, the Canadian terms of trade had risen by more than 30 per cent.

That said, Australia coped with the terms of trade upswing better this time than in some past episodes.

The economic weakness in the United States began to take root as problems in its housing sector and financial system emerged in 2007, reducing demand for Canadian exports and weighing on growth, even with the booming terms of trade.

In Australia's case, exports are not as large a share of the economy, as noted, and the destinations are both more diverse and more oriented to Asia (China and Korea account for more than a fifth of the value of Australian merchandise exports, and Japan accounts for another fifth).

As a one-time temporary resident of Canada and graduate of a Canadian university, it is pleasing for me to see the Canadian Australian Chamber of Commerce contributing to economic interaction between the two countries.

It is surprising that Australians and Canadians do not spend more time comparing notes, given the things we have in common.

That said, since Canada's trade share of the economy is considerably larger than Australia's, the smaller size of the terms of trade rise in Canada still imparted a pretty significant boost to national income.

Income gains driven by the terms of trade are generally expansionary.

Overall, Asia was initially relatively little affected by the problems in the major economies.

It was really only in the second half of 2008, as the financial turmoil led to a sharp drop in confidence among households and firms around the world, that a re-assessment about Asia's prospects began.

(a) Data may not be strictly comparable owing to differences in classification standards; ores, concentrates and scraps are included in the category for each metal (b) Contains some petroleum products (c) Resource, rural and manufactured exports not specified above Sources: ABS; Thomson Reuters Commodity prices tend to vary quite a bit, of course, driven largely by the ebb and flow of the world business cycle.

This means that fluctuations in the terms of trade have long been an important feature of both countries' economic experiences.

There are some interesting similarities, and the occasional informative difference, in experiences, and examining these is helpful for Australians to understand better the way the past six or seven years have evolved. Looking to the future, both our countries have reason to believe that we will come through this episode in reasonable shape.