Canada ETF Continues to Head North: Outlook Remains Good

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iShares' Canada ETF (NYSEARCA:EWC) has been a fairly solid one year-to-date, gaining about 4.5% in that time and 13.5% in the last three months. What’s got our neighbors to the north feeling so plucky?

Employment is Rising. Canada had the biggest jump in employment on record last month, led by service providers, increasing pressure on the central bank to raise interest rates at its next decision on June 1.

Private-sector employment in Canada increased by 108,700 in April, the highest increase since records first started to be kept in 1976, and joblessness fell to 8.1% from 8.2% in March, writes Greg Quinn for BusinessWeek. The positive economic news may prompt the Bank of Canada to raise key interest rates as early as next month. Public-sector work dropped by 1,800 in April, Part-time work rose by 64,800 and full-time employment by 43,800.

Retail and wholesale companies led the increase in the work force, followed by business, building and other support services, and construction companies. The largest decline was in manufacturing. Average hourly wage growth slowed to 2% in April year-over-year as compared to 2.2% in March.

They’re on Track for Faster Growth. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has stated that Canada will be the fastest-growing member among the Group of Seven countries this year and the next, with a projected 3.1% expansion in 2010 and 3.2% in 2011.

Craig Wright, senior vice-president and chief economist for RBC, believes Canadian province Alberta, a producer of natural gas, will be the “top of the pack,” with 4.2% economic expansion, reports Mario Toneguzzi for Calgary Herald. However, the province will lag behind the overall economy for 2010. Adam Legge, vice-president and chief economist with Calgary Economic Development, says that a higher employment rate and oil prices that will hover around the “new normal” of $85 a barrel will help sustain growth in Alberta.

  • iShares MSCI Canada (EWC)

Max Chen contributed to this article.

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