What a new NAFTA may mean for Canadian investors in 2017

January 27, 2017 by Andy Penkalski

The United States White House where NAFTA discussions are being had

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Andy Penkalski

Demand generation lead

Andy oversees all automated marketing initiatives. He is interested in always discovering new tools for brands and businesses to more effectively reach their audience and improve metrics for success within their own organization.

The past year has been a boon for regulatory changes in the North American financial services industry. The Investment Industry Association of Canada implemented the final phase of its Client Relationship Model (CRM) framework in July. This April, The U.S. Department of Labor's fiduciary rule will go into effect. Amidst these changes, Donald Trump's victory in November's U.S. presidential election immediately sent waves of retroactive concern among the American financial services sector that had spent half a year preparing for the threat of new compliance standards.

Whether or not the Trump administration dials back the extent of that April ruling remains to be seen. He has, however, made plenty of noise over the state of U.S. trade agreements since election day. After axing U.S. involvement in the already-controversial Transpacific Trade Agreement during his first week, Trump has moved on the 20-plus-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement at a similar clip. So with pre-inaugural markets maintaining stability, in what ways will Trump's "America-first" policy reshape investments in North American markets at large?

Traditional energy bets could be a positive for Canada

The recent re-commitment to progress on TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline may prove to be a positive for Canada's energy sector, which accounts for 20 percent of the nation's stock market. Additionally, the new administration's repeated commitment to domestic infrastructure improvement also may yield a positive for Canada's commodity market as American government contracts trend upwards through the next four years.

Disrupting a delicate manufacturing eco-system

Outside of commodities, the well-established ecosystem designed around NAFTA's preexisting manufacturing chain could prove disruptive to businesses throughout Canada, the U.S., and Mexico. From Original Equipment Manufacturers to Maintenance Repair & Operation companies, part procurement remains a vital portion of Trump's congruent promises to American production. In his first post-inaugural call with Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reminded the president that Canada is the top buyer of U.S. goods overall. Far-reaching tariffs put forth by the Trump administration could send waves of unforeseen operational costs throughout both markets.

If all else fails, gold may not

Going back to the commodity market, early weeks of 2017 have demonstrated strong recovery of the Canada’s gold stocks, which witnessed demonstrable growth already throughout 2016. This was not the case immediately following the election, but Canadian miners like Yamana, have spent much of the past calendar year streamlining balance sheets while exploring more lucrative mining opportunities and offloading pricier digs. Gold, not entirely unlike the oil futures in a post-Trump world, may be one of few predictable investments moving into 2017.

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