For the first time in at least nine decades, Canada has more assets abroad than foreigners have here. These include direct investments, stocks, foreign currency reserves and the like.
Statistics Canada reported Thursday that the country had net assets of $26.7-billion at the end of last year, up from a net liability position of $302.1-billion at the end of 2012.
Senior economist Peter Buchanan of CIBC World Markets noted that Canada has been an international debtor every year since at least 1926. It’s likely the country was in a similar position for even longer given the payments toward the massive debt to build the continental railway.
“Canada is now a net creditor to the rest of the world,” said Bank of Montreal chief economist Douglas Porter.
Mr. Porter reckons it’s the first time that’s happened in decades, and “back at least to the days when the Hudson Bay Co. was shipping beaver pelts to Europe.”
The reason for the dramatic turnaround is a combination of strong foreign stock market gains in the U.S. and elsewhere coupled with a roughly 10-per-cent decline in the Canadian dollar since mid-2013.
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