Despite some concern about whether the U.S. recovery is sustainable, Craig Wright, chief economist of Canada’s RBC Financial Group Inc. is optimistic about the prospects of economic growth worldwide, as well as in Georgia and the Southeast U.S.

Mr. Wright will be in Atlanta on Wednesday, April 7, to speak at a luncheon with clients and prospective clients of RBC Centura Banks Inc. at the Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center.

RBC Financial Group is the parent company of RBC Centura Banks, which has 25 branches in metro Atlanta.

During a telephone interview from the group’s headquarters in Toronto, Mr. Wright was enthusiastic about the rise of housing values in metro Atlanta, which would provide consumers with the confidence to purchase automobiles, a major Canadian export to Georgia.

“Housing prices are firm and rising,” he said. “And while there have been gains in the equity markets, the average household is more affected by housing prices.”

He said that Georgia has continued to increase its exports of household goods and furnishings to Canada, as well as auto parts and various types of machinery.

The decline in the value of the dollar will continue to affect Canada’s exports to Georgia and the U.S. he added. But he said that Canada’s current economic strength should be able to withstand any loss of exports to the U.S. He added that Canada’s strong dollar also would help Canadian firms import machinery and equipment on which they depend.

While the U.S. has had slow job growth, Mr. Wright said Canada leads the G8 countries in job growth and continues to have low interest rates. “Global growth seems firm,” he added, “and trade rises with global growth”- a positive for Canada, which is heavily dependent on trade.

Citing a six-and a-half year rise in trade between Canada and Georgia, he was optimistic that trade would continue to grow even in the face of lower value of the U.S. dollar.

He said that the current value of daily trade between Canada and Georgia amounts to US $22.9 million.

Canadian exports have risen by 70 percent from Canada to the U.S. since 1997, while Canadian exports to Georgia have risen 124 percent, he said.

Meanwhile, he also said, that Georgia exports to Canada have risen by 132 percent during the period.

Aside form the security issue, his main concern was whether the U.S. economy would experience job growth.

RBC Financial Group has had an operation in Atlanta since 1998.

For more information, contact Drew Putt at drew.putt@rbc.com