The 'trickledown effect' of the low loonie

Lisa Goudy
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Moose Jaw chamber CEO says creativity is needed in these economic circumstances

With the loonie in rough shape, Moose Jaw and District Chamber of Commerce CEO Rob Clark believes novelty is key.

"Everybody has to watch what they're spending and what they're doing and be somewhat innovative and creative in their business and personalize," he said. "Patience is key. Ride it out the best you can."

According to the Canadian Press, as of Thursday, the Canadian dollar closed at its lowest point against the U.S. greenback since July 2003. Part of the lost loonie value is because of the drop in oil prices. The cost of oil has dropped from more than $105 per barrel in July 2014 to lower than $35.

Also because the dollar is cheaper, grocery prices are higher since now the loonie purchases less of the imported food, particularly from the United States. Vacations are also more expensive in the U.S., with the state of foreign exchange rates.

While Clark said he hasn't had a chance yet to get out and talk to local businesses to see how they're faring - he added he plans to do that next week - he said he hasn't heard of anything "overly earth shattering" in Moose Jaw yet.

"This is January blues as much as anything," said Clark, adding that there could be a boost to the tourism industry from Americans because of the low dollar.

"There's got to be a trickledown effect to local business," said Clark. "Sometimes with bad news, some people deter making purchases on toys or non-essentials, waiting to see what the outcome is too."

The current economic state certainly isn't good news for the stock market.

"It really hasn't been an overall great picture," said Clark. "I guess you can always find some good news but you can also find bad news in a situation like this."

However, there is still development ongoing in the city. Construction on the Civic Centre Plaza by the Town 'n' Country Mall is underway, as well as work on Rona. A Montana's Cookhouse restaurant also recently opened at 301 Thatcher Dr.

"For business closures, I haven't seen anything drastic," said Clark. "For Moose Jaw, I really haven't seen anything major happen. It's just probably a lot of small pockets, not that I have seen personally or had anything at the chamber office."

Follow Lisa Goudy on Twitter @lisagoudy

Organizations: Moose Jaw chamber, Canadian Press

Geographic location: United States, Moose Jaw, Country Mall Montana

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