Thursday, November 20, 2008

Optimism shades view of the North coast economy for local accountant

A few weeks ago the Daily News provided the economic forecast of UNBC Economics professor Paul Bowles, who suggested that the North was in for a rough ride in the current global economic climate. It was followed by an editorial in the paper bracing for tougher times in the region.

However, on the local scene, if you were to define the economic view of local accountant Praveen Vohora, it would be a glass half full kind of outlook on what is in store for the North coast during these tumultuous economic times.

Vohora provided what is becoming a regular review of the economy for the Daily News (August 8, June 30, June 3) with his thoughts on the state of the economy for the North coast and what may be in store for the near term and beyond.

He believes that the growth potential for the Fairview container Port remains strong and with the Canpotex terminal still on track, in his opinion the North coast will do just fine.

He outlined his economic forecast in Wednesday’s edition of the paper.

An outlook that may have a few folks wondering if his reading of the economic tea leaves has factored in all of the current troubles facing the global economy, the ramping up of a battle for container traffic from southern ports suddenly aware of the Prince Rupert option, the current local housing slump and any other unexpected bumps in the financial road yet to come.

His review doesn’t outline to any great degree a jobs forecast for the area, nor if there will be any influx of residents to the area, both of which would go a long way towards rebuilding the local economy which has been hammered by out migration and job losses for a number of years now.

One of his indicators is the June report from the B. C. Major Project Inventory, a listing of the numerous projects in BC in the incubation stage or on the drawing boards. A giant to do list, which sometimes carries the same projects on from year to year, projects that seem to be perpetually in the planning stage.

Of course since June the global economy has suffered a rather serious downturn, requiring cash injections for banks, insurance agencies, car makers and such. With the credit markets tightening and corporations forced to rethink their long term plans, one wonders if that list of June will have much of the same make up next year when the annual report is listed.

As always time will be the test of all theories, though many in Rupert are probably hoping that Mr. Vohora is on track and that his optimism will be rewarded in the months and years to come.

Finance expert looks on the bright side
Praveen Vohora feels optimistic Rupert will end up in great shape
By George T. Baker
The Daily News
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Pages one and five

Esteemed local accountant Praveen Vohora believes Prince Rupert’s economy will be in good shape after the current world economic downturn.

Vohora’s comments come after a month of serious economic concerns after consumer markets softened and housing sales dropped.

Vohora says Prince Rupert residents should not worry too much because the port will see increased traffic, the Canpotex terminal will happen and Rupert will come out of the downturn just fine.

“Things are happening in our economy. I mean, there is still the talk of the third ship coming in to town,” he said.

“And then there is Canpotex, the potash operation on Ridley Island and there are a couple of more people looking at the port. Because of that we will be better off than some of the other areas in B. C.”

Vohora, who is also the North’s representative on the Council of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of British Columbia (ICABC), said that the amount of sizable growth in construction projects in the North Coast region was going to be strong.

Vohora pointed to the June 2008 report B. C. Major Project Inventory which claims that there is currently $19.5 billion worth of projects proposed for the region – with some $990 million- worth already under way.

But fears over how the Chinese export market will affect the young container port has some worried that business will not be as strong in 2009.

According to a New York Times report, the situation in China is bleak.

The New York Times report said circumstances in the Pearl River Delta – the mother region of all Chinese exports – have worsened since the beginning of the year, when the slow-down of exports saw 67,000 factories close down in the region during the fist six months.

Vohora says locals should not spend too much time worrying about that situation because he expects that economy to return stronger than ever.

“Yes, the Chinese economy is definitely still going to be good. The growth rate is forecasted to be in the 9 or 10 per cent and its economy is still growing,” said Vohora. “In spite of the world’s economic problems, the Chinese still need to export a whole bunch of stuff. So they will still be using these ports to get their goods out.

While the Port of Prince Rupert may still be running at only one-fifth capacity, the port has seen a large increase in traffic since the first quarter of 2008. Since the beginning of the year, the port’s growth rate is 261 per cent.

No comments: