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



    Amidst growing pressures, prudent planning key to continued growth

    TORONTO, March 30 /CNW/ - British Columbia's economy remains healthy with
expected growth of 3.4 per cent in 2007 and 2008, according to a provincial
economic outlook released today by RBC.
    "B.C. is enjoying a decade of robust economic growth thanks to elevated
commodity prices, tight labour markets, booming construction markets, and a
major turnaround in government fiscal finances," said Craig Wright,
vice-president and chief economist, RBC. "To maintain the good times, the
province requires prudent planning and strategic assumptions going forward."
    RBC notes that while B.C.'s government is mostly adhering to implementing
policies geared toward long-term sustainability, the temptation to overheat
the economy with short-lived measures appears to be growing.
    According to the report, the main long-term risks to economic growth
include the threat from the pine beetle epidemic, which has already affected
about 9.2 million hectares of forest, volatile commodity prices, rising
construction costs, labour shortages, and the potential for the economy to
overheat while ramping up to the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter
Games.
    On a positive note, B.C.'s fiscal turnaround and declining debt burden
continue to strengthen its ability to cope with these challenges and hopefully
avoid a boom-bust scenario.
    For the overall Canadian economy, RBC forecasts that the gap between
growth in the more heavily resource based provinces and central Canada will
narrow over 2007-08. Newfoundland and Labrador will be the leader this year
with growth of four per cent followed by Alberta at 3.6 per cent. Prince
Edward Island and Ontario will be at the back of the pack, each with growth
rates of about two per cent.
    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                Housing              Retail
                     GDP                 starts               sales

                                        Thousands
               06     07     08     06     07     08     06     07     08
               --     --     --     --     --     --     --     --     --
    NFLD.     3.5    4.0    1.5    2.2    2.1    2.0    2.9    2.0    2.0
    P.E.I     1.9    1.9    1.7    0.7    0.7    0.7    4.0    2.1    2.1
    N.S.      2.4    2.4    2.3    4.9    4.5    4.4    6.3    3.5    3.0
    N.B.      2.5    2.4    2.6    4.1    3.8    3.9    5.5    3.2    3.2
    QUE.      2.0    2.1    2.7   47.9   42.1   43.0    4.6    4.1    4.0
    ONT.      1.3    2.0    3.1   73.4   66.8   67.7    4.0    4.2    5.8
    MAN.      3.4    2.7    2.9    5.0    4.5    4.3    5.8    4.2    4.1
    SASK.     3.6    2.8    2.9    3.7    3.4    3.3    5.9    5.0    4.5
    ALTA.     6.5    3.6    3.2   49.0   44.0   41.4   16.0    9.3    8.0
    B.C.      4.7    3.4    3.4   36.4   33.9   33.8    6.2    6.6    6.3
    CANADA    2.7    2.5    3.0    229    207    206    6.2    5.2    5.2


                  Employment              CPI

               06     07     08     06     07     08
               --     --     --     --     --     --
    NFLD.     0.7    0.5    0.1    1.8    1.2    1.4
    P.E.I.    0.6    0.6    0.4    2.2    1.0    1.3
    N.S.     -0.3    0.8    0.3    2.1    1.3    1.3
    N.B.      1.4    1.2    0.4    1.6    1.1    1.4
    QUE.      1.3    1.2    0.9    1.7    0.8    2.2
    ONT.      1.5    1.4    1.2    1.8    1.0    2.4
    MAN.      1.2    0.8    0.6    1.9    0.9    1.8
    SASK.     1.7    2.1    0.8    2.0    1.2    2.0
    ALTA.     4.8    3.8    1.6    3.9    3.0    2.6
    B.C.      3.1    3.0    2.0    1.8    1.9    2.8
    CANADA    2.0    1.8    1.2    2.0    1.7    2.4
    





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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