indicatorThe Owl

The top economic stories of 2020 part 3 of 5

Even though Japan is still the third largest economy in the world, China has emerged as both a regional and global economic power

By ATB Economics 16 December 2020 2 min read

It’s that time of the year when we take a look back—from an Alberta perspective—at the top economic stories that took place over the previous 12 months. Each Owl this week will examine one story.

The full list, along with other observations about the year that was, are discussed in the latest edition of ATB’s The Future Of podcast hosted by our Chief Economist Todd Hirsch. The year-end edition can be found here and features commentary from energy guru Jackie Forrest.

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China has become, and will continue to be, a source of important economic news. From a trade war with the United States to its rapid economic recovery in the face of COVID to the signing of the The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), China continues to make large economic waves with ripple effects felt around the world, including Alberta.


Some of us on The Owl team are long enough in the tooth to remember when the big economic player and newsmaker in Asia was Japan. China was barely on the radar.

Fast forward to today, and even though Japan is still the third largest economy in the world, China has emerged as both a regional and global economic power locked in a prolonged battle with the United States for global economic dominance.

When it comes to Canada, if our relationship with China was a Facebook status, it would be “it’s complicated.”

On the one hand, the Chinese market represents a massive opportunity for Canadian exporters. And as China solidifies its role in the global economy, it makes sense for Canada to be on China’s good side.

On the other hand, China presents a long list of challenges that include human rights issues, tensions with our largest trading partner, the banning of Canadian canola (the ban has been lifted but it remains a red flag), security concerns related to 5G network technology, and the detention of Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor and the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou.

One thing is clear, China’s role in the world is evolving, growing and—regardless of how well we do or do not navigate the tricky waters ahead—will have a large impact on our economy going forward.

ANSWER to Tuesday’s trivia question: When was The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) founded? September 14, 1960 in Baghdad

Today’s question: Approximately what share of the world’s population lives in China?

If our relationship with China was a Facebook status, it would be “it’s complicated.”

If our relationship with China was a Facebook status, it would be “it’s complicated.”


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