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Positive and negative business developments in 2012 Add to ...

Canadian executives were very clear about what has been good for business over the past year, and what was bad news in 2012.

Sustained low interest rates have been good for the economy, nine out of 10 executives said. Almost three-quarters also thought Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s moves to make mortgage lending more restrictive will help the economy in the long run.

At the other end of the spectrum, almost all say the political battle over the so-called fiscal cliff in the U.S. is hampering business. Mel Svendsen, chief executive officer of Standen’s Ltd., a Calgary-based maker of vehicle springs and suspensions, said it is clear his U.S. customers are delaying their spending decisions because of concerns over the budget impasse. That has forced his company to delay hiring until the issue is resolved.

The move by the Obama administration to turn down the Keystone XL pipeline last year was also almost universally viewed as bad news, although the oil industry is hopeful that a revamped version of the project will be accepted in the months ahead.

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