British Columbia's economic growth remains healthy for now, says RBC Economics



    B.C.'s economy is humming along, but amidst mounting risks

    TORONTO, June 22 /CNW/ - Despite the emergence of downward risks, British
Columbia's economy should still see expected growth of about 3.25 per cent in
2007 and 2008. This is according to a provincial economic outlook released
today by RBC.
    "B.C. has enough diversified sources of strength to keep growth humming
along this year but the shine on the province's economy has become somewhat
duller," said Craig Wright, vice-president and chief economist, RBC. "Of
particular concern is the forestry sector which is experiencing a cooling
trend in response to weaker U.S. housing markets."
    RBC notes that after a robust decade to date, the vital softwood lumber
industry may be at a turning point, with sawn lumber production down almost
nine per cent in the last year and weaker softwood lumber prices. Furthermore,
B.C.'s hot housing markets are still performing well, but not as well as last
year. Average house price gains are still running at a respectable
10 per cent, but this is half the pace at which gains were noted a year ago.
The main risks to economic growth include non-residential construction, which
has cooled from the hot pace of the past three years, manufacturing shipments
that are slipping in line with weaker U.S. markets, and the steep appreciation
in the Canadian dollar.
    On a positive note, RBC said natural gas production in the northeast is
running higher than a year ago and consumer spending continues at a healthy
pace due to strong labour markets. In addition, fiscal surpluses still portray
healthy government finances.
    Across Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador will be the provincial growth
leader in 2007 at 7.5 per cent before experiencing a dramatic pull back next
year, shifting the spotlight back onto the more sustainable growth in Western
Canada. Prince Edward Island and Ontario will be at the back of the pack, each
with growth rates just shy of two per cent this year.

    The RBC Economics Provincial Outlook assesses the provinces according to
economic growth, employment growth, unemployment rates, personal income
growth, retail sales, housing starts and the Consumer Price Index.
    According to the report (available online as of 8 a.m. E.D.T., at
www.rbc.com/economics/market/pdf/provfcst.pdf), provincial forecast details
are as follows:

    
                      Real GDP          Housing starts        Retail sales

                                          Thousands
                  06     07     08     06     07     08     06     07     08
                  --     --     --     --     --     --     --     --     --
    NFLD.        2.8    7.5    0.5    2.2    2.0    1.8    2.9    5.5    2.0
    P.E.I        2.0    1.9    1.7    0.7    0.6    0.6    4.1    4.5    3.7
    N.S.         1.1    2.4    2.3    4.9    4.5    4.4    6.3    3.1    3.3
    N.B.         2.6    2.5    2.6    4.1    3.8    3.7    5.5    3.9    4.0
    QUE.         1.7    2.1    2.6   47.9   42.1   39.6    4.5    4.7    4.8
    ONT.         1.9    1.9    2.7   73.4   63.9   60.0    4.0    3.5    4.9
    MAN.         3.3    3.0    3.2    5.0    5.3    4.4    5.8    6.1    6.0
    SASK.        0.4    4.0    3.6    3.7    4.6    3.9    5.9    7.4    6.0
    ALTA.        6.8    4.6    4.0   49.0   44.8   39.9   16.0    9.3    8.5
    B.C.         3.6    3.2    3.3   36.4   35.3   31.1    6.2    6.0    5.8
    CANADA       2.8    2.6    2.9    228    208    190    6.2    5.2    5.2

                     Employment              CPI

                  06     07     08     06     07     08
                  --     --     --     --     --     --
    NFLD.        0.7    1.2    0.1    1.8    2.0    1.4
    P.E.I        0.6    0.8    0.4    2.3    1.5    1.7
    N.S.        -0.3    1.1    0.3    2.0    1.4    1.3
    N.B.         1.4    0.8    0.4    1.7    1.5    1.4
    QUE.         1.3    2.0    0.9    1.7    2.3    1.8
    ONT.         1.5    1.3    1.0    1.8    2.1    2.1
    MAN.         1.2    1.1    0.9    2.0    2.3    2.5
    SASK.        1.7    3.0    1.0    2.1    3.5    2.8
    ALTA.        4.8    4.2    2.0    3.9    5.2    3.5
    B.C.         3.1    3.0    1.9    1.7    2.2    2.3
    CANADA       2.0    2.0    1.2    2.0    2.4    2.2
    





For further information:

For further information: Craig Wright, RBC Economics, (416) 974-7457;
Derek Holt, RBC Economics, (416) 974-6192; Jackie Braden, RBC Media Relations,
(416) 974-2124


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