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Canadian National Railway (CNR-T) is in a particularly strong position to monitor the undercurrents of both the Canadian and U.S. economies. And if Claude Mongeau, President and CEO of CN Rail, is correct, the future for the two countries is far from bright.
"Hopefully we will avoid a significant contraction, but we are in a world where demand and growth will be subpar for many years to come," he tells BNN. Mongeau believes the new normal for economic growth will be in the "two percent range as opposed three to three and half percent range as has been the case in previous cycles."
And while equity markets have in recent weeks been anticipating a sharp economic downturn similar to 2008, Mongeau says it's different this time.
"The last downturn was really a summation of a lot of things that went wrong at the same time," he says. If you look at it now…balance sheets of companies are very strong, inventories are still tight and end demand is certainly not in any bubble territory."
"If we had a downturn, it would be a shallower one," he adds.