Insights from the OECD’s Pensions at a Glance 2017

On December 5th, the OECD published its biennial flagship publication Pensions at a Glance. The 2017 edition again provides a trove of interesting data; here are a few highlights from this year’s survey (all figures below are from OECD Pensions at a Glance 2017). [Read more…]

Vampire Beaver or Cuddly Canadian? The ‘Maple Revolutionaries’ Face an Identity Crisis

Canadians collectively hold some USD $2.4 trillion in assets in funded and private pension arrangements, representing 160% of GDP. Over USD $420 billion of these assets are held abroad, and many of Canada’s largest pension funds invest a significant portion of this capital in illiquid, long-term assets, such as transportation and municipal infrastructure. Investors favour these assets, since they tend to generate solid, stable returns over long periods of time.

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Global Economy: Headed in the Wrong Direction

This week, the OECD released its Economic Outlook for November 2015, revising 2016 real GDP growth in the OECD area downward from 2.5% to 2.2%, following its June 2015 report. The OECD noted a collapse in import volumes in emerging markets (especially China), and the sort of slowdown in global trade growth that has historically accompanied recessions. Real fixed investment was again disappointing, and the OECD once more pleaded with countries to take advantage of low interest rates and increase public infrastructure investment, in part to tackle climate change.

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OECD: World Economy Stuck in a Low-Growth, Low-Investment Equilibrium

This week, the OECD released its twice-yearly Economic Outlook. Following the contraction of the Canadian and US economies in the first quarter of 2015, what was the weakest period of global growth since the Great Recession, the OECD downgraded its forecast for global growth to 3.1% in 2015, from 3.7% projected last November. Six years into the “recovery,” 40 million people in the OECD remain unemployed, 7.5 million more than the pre-crisis peak. The unemployment rate remains above 11% in the Eurozone. Summing up the global economy, the OECD writes, “in effect, many economies have become stuck in a low-growth and low-investment equilibrium, with persistent unemployment, stagnant wages, and non-robust consumption.”

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