Donna Stone, president of the St. Johns Board of Trade, was guest speaker at the Rotary luncheon meeting today in St. Johns. Photo by Gary Hebbard/The Telegram
Donna Stone, president of the St. John's Board of Trade, says the global financial crisis and economic slowdown will likely have some effect on the province, but businesses are still optimistic about their opportunities for growth.
Stone gave the lunchtime address at the Rotary Club of St. John's today.
"The market for borrowing has certainly tightened and this effect is being seen all over. The Board of Trade is certainly aware of the possibility that Newfoundland and Labrador's economy may experience some spin-off effects of this," Stone said.
"Our resource-based economy, combined with regulation in Canadian financial industry, may give us some help in this regard, but we probably will not go unscathed."
On the international markets, oil prices dipped below $50 a barrel today.
Stone said that because the provincial government's revenues were based on $87 dollars a barrel and the price remained well above that for the first half of the year, the province will not fall short of their revenue predictions.
"This still gives us some cause for concern, however. Given the volatility of oil prices, the province should look at a long-term plan that will diversify our economy and make us less dependent on this ever-changing commodity," Stone said.
As far as the effects on local businesses, Stone said people should see this as an opportunity to examine their business operations and finances to ensure they are getting the best rates on borrowing costs.
Now is also a good time to identify opportunities for debt payment or consolidation, Stone says, as well as using other financial management practices that can reduce the effect of the global situation.