BMO Financial Group Releases Provincial Economic Outlook



    TORONTO, Feb. 15 /CNW/ - The West should continue to ride high, growth in
Atlantic Canada will remain sturdy, while Central Canada faces a challenging
year, according to a provincial economics report released today by BMO
Financial Group.
    "Most provinces will see slower growth this year, but Ontario and Quebec
will face the brunt of the weakness as higher energy costs, a strong Canadian
dollar and a likely U.S. recession drag GDP growth in these provinces below
1 per cent," said Douglas Porter, Deputy Chief Economist, BMO Capital Markets.

    
    Highlights of the report include:

    -   The West should continue to ride high alongside strong commodity
        prices, with all provinces west of Ontario likely posting GDP growth
        of at least 3 per cent in 2007, and much of the strength carrying
        over into this year.
    -   With higher royalties in the energy sector and a cooling housing
        market, the fireworks of the past few years seen in Alberta are
        fading. Picking up the slack is Saskatchewan, where growth likely hit
        4.9 per cent in 2007 amid surging potash and uranium sectors and a
        white-hot housing market.
    -   Newfoundland and Labrador likely unseated Alberta as the country's
        growth leader in 2007 as output at the province's three major
        offshore oil projects rebounded.
    -   All provinces are projecting zero balances or surpluses for fiscal
        2007/2008, except PEI. All told, the combined 10-province surplus is
        now pegged at $7.7 billion for fiscal 2007/2008, down from
        $16.1 billion in the prior year.

    The complete report can be found at www.bmocm.com/economics.
    





For further information:

For further information: Media Contacts: Peter Scott, Toronto,
PeterE.Scott@bmo.com, (416) 867-3996; Lucie Gosselin, Montreal,
lucie.gosselin@bmo.com, (514) 877-8224; Laurie Grant, Vancouver,
laurie.grant@bmo.com, (604) 665-7596; Internet: www.bmo.com


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