Western Canada Driving Economic Growth Says Report

04 May 2012 10:00am - Victoria Wedderburn

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Western Canada Driving Economic Growth Says Report

Canada’s Bank of Montreal has released its latest provincial outlook which says that Canada as a whole will expand by 2% this year, somewhat below the 2.4% forecasted by the Bank of Canada. According to the report, “The Canadian economy continues to grow at a moderate pace, and fiscal repair is broadly underway at both the provincial and federal levels. Across the regional landscape, however, there is a widening gap in economic and fiscal performance between commodity-rich Western provinces and the manufacturing-heavy provinces in Central and Atlantic Canada. This gap is unlikely to narrow in 2012.” The bank forecasts the four western provinces, led by Alberta and Saskatchewan, will be the only ones to recover growth above 2% in 2012. All the rest are below what the Bank of Canada considers the potential growth rate for the Canadian economy. Resources are the major reason for the superior prospects of the western provinces.

Alberta leads the way, after seeing a 5% growth rate last year it drops to 3.4% followed by Saskatchewan at 2.9%. Manitoba is predicted to grow by 2.6% and British Columbia by 2.3%. In Alberta the energy sector continues to drive growth in the province with oil production up 9.8% in 2011. On the other side of the scale, provinces that depend on manufacturing continue to trail despite some improving prospects in the south. Ontario leads the weaker group at 1.9% followed by Quebec at 1.6%, New Brunswick at 1.5%, Nova Scotia at 1.8%, Prince Edward Island at 1.4% and Newfoundland and Labrador at 1%.



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