CANADA’S STRONG ECONOMY OPENS ITSELF UP TO FOREIGN INVESTMENT

HEAD OF PRODUCT, BARCLAYS STOCKBROKERS

Last week, the London Stock Exchange struck a deal with TMX Group, the operator of the Toronto Stock Exchange.

The deal looks likely to reduce costs for users, offer greater levels of liquidity and provide broader access to mining and natural resources stocks.

For investors, this is particularly attractive at a time when commodity prices are front page news and exploration activity continues to thrive worldwide.

Mining and energy companies account for 34 per cent of the LSE’s FTSE 100 index at the moment and interest amongst investors continues to grow.

Canada has become a more attractive proposition for foreign investors since its relatively strong performance during the credit crisis.

Although the region still felt the effects of the global crisis, it has since been widely acknowledged that Canada emerged in a stronger position than at the start of the recession, particularly in the banking and financial sectors.

Major multinational companies are also improving Canada’s investment prospects for retail investors and putting their money where their mouth is. For example, the Canadian natural gas producer Encana (listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange), made the news last week after it was announced that PetroChina, China’s largest oil and gas producer, had paid $5.4bn for a 50 per cent stake in Encana-owned shale gas deposits.

This is just one example of the way in which Canada is increasingly on the international investor’s radar.

In fact, a large portion of the Canadian economy is now open to foreign investment, something that has not always been true.

Statistics Canada notes that the Canadian economy has undergone economic cycles that have changed the country’s ability to attract foreign investment. Currently, 22 per cent of business assets are owned by foreign investors and they receive 30 per cent of the profits.

For international investors, things in Canada are looking up.