Halifax – The Canadian economy needs to be more international and grow its exports to markets other than the United States, Scotiabank chief executive Rick Waugh said.
“We are several decades into globalization and still roughly three quarters of our exports go to the United States,” Waugh told the bank’s annual meeting on April 9, 2013.
“It’s no wonder Canada’s export performance is second to last in the G20 …. Relying on one customer is never good strategy.”
Waugh, who heads Canada’s most international bank, said he sees the most potential in emerging markets.
“This year we expect GDP growth in our key international markets to be more than twice what it is in Canada and the US,” he said.
Waugh noted that the private loan market for Canada and the US is saturated, but the bank has room to grow in Colombia, Peru and Mexico.
Now that Canada is through the recession, he said there is a window of opportunity for more in exports and investments overseas.
“The timing is right …. People want to do business with us,” he said.
In Canada, Waugh said he expects the Canadian housing market will have a “soft landing” rather than face a major downturn this year.
He noted that delinquency rates with its clients are “slightly elevated,” but appear to be under control and did not anticipate the bank will endure any significant losses from unpaid mortgages.