Manufacturing sector weakens Quebec's economic growth



    MONTREAL, Jan. 11 /CNW/ - While Quebec's economic growth is expected to
drop to just under two per cent in 2008, it should grow marginally faster than
Ontario's, according to the latest provincial economic outlook released today
by RBC.
    "Since the Quebec economy shares similar challenges to those of Ontario
and its manufacturing sector, it is also feeling pressure from the strong
Canadian dollar and weaker U.S. market," said Craig Wright, senior
vice-president and chief economist, RBC. "However, the province remains
partially insulated due to its different mix of manufacturing activity, which
is significantly driven by sectors like aviation and biotech. With no auto
assembly plants and less direct exposure to the most challenged U.S.
industries, Quebec's economy may face fewer downside risks to growth than its
western neighbour."
    The report notes that the risks to manufacturers and manufacturing jobs
in central Canada are similar to the ones faced by most of the industrialized
world. In order to strengthen Quebec's economy, a greater number of
market-friendly policy measures are necessary to ease employment transitions
as workers shift across industries, and to provide a more competitive tax,
regulatory, and investment landscape.
    Quebec's housing market may also continue to operate at fairly elevated
levels since the release of pent-up demand started slightly later than other
regions across the country. Further support may well come from $950 million in
new tax cuts this year.
    Across Canada, Alberta leads all provinces with above-average economic
growth, followed by Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia. On the opposite end of the
scale, and showing a complete turnabout with its mega-projects now in
maturation, Newfoundland and Labrador is posting the slowest economic growth
rate of 0.5 per cent, and on its heels is P.E.I., as well as Quebec and
Ontario with its manufacturing woes. However, a more bullish outlook is in
store by the end of this decade for Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick,
Nova Scotia, and in particular Saskatchewan where there is a possibility for a
triple play of diamond mining, rich uranium deposits and a massive oil strike
in the southeastern part of the province.
    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.S.T., at
www.rbc.com/economics/market/pdf/provfcst.pdf), provincial forecast details
are as follows:

    
                       Real                Housing             Retail
                        GDP                 starts              sales

                                          Thousands
                  07     08     09     07     08     09     07     08     09
                  --     --     --     --     --     --     --     --     --
    NFLD.        9.0    0.5    1.0    2.5    2.2    1.9   10.0    6.0    2.0
    P.E.I.       1.9    1.2    1.4    0.7    0.6    0.5    9.1    4.5    3.7
    N.S.         2.4    3.0    3.5    4.8    4.5    4.1    4.4    4.9    6.5
    N.B.         2.5    2.5    2.6    4.1    3.8    3.4    6.7    4.5    4.0
    QUE.         1.9    1.7    2.5   49.4   46.9   40.4    4.4    4.0    4.1
    ONT.         1.7    1.4    2.6   68.1   66.2   60.2    3.9    3.5    4.7
    MAN.         3.4    3.1    2.5    5.7    5.7    5.0    9.0    5.3    3.4
    SASK.        4.6    3.8    3.3    5.9    6.1    4.5   12.2    8.5    6.5
    ALTA.        4.3    3.9    3.2   48.3   38.6   35.2    9.7    9.0    8.2
    B.C.         3.0    2.5    3.0   38.6   35.2   28.5    7.1    6.0    7.5
    CANADA       2.6    2.1    2.7    228    210    184    5.9    5.1    5.5


                     Employment              CPI

                  07     08     09     07     08     09
                  --     --     --     --     --     --
    NFLD.        0.7    0.1    0.3    1.5    1.0    1.2
    P.E.I.       1.3    0.4    0.2    1.8    1.3    1.6
    N.S.         1.3    1.8    2.0    1.9    1.1    2.0
    N.B.         1.9    1.7    0.9    2.0    1.2    1.6
    QUE.         2.2    1.2    0.9    1.6    1.1    1.6
    ONT.         1.6    1.0    1.1    1.9    1.0    1.7
    MAN.         1.5    1.2    1.5    2.2    1.7    1.6
    SASK.        2.3    1.6    0.8    3.0    2.4    2.4
    ALTA.        4.8    2.0    1.8    5.1    2.9    2.6
    B.C.         3.2    1.9    2.6    1.8    1.4    2.2
    CANADA       2.3    1.3    1.4    2.1    1.4    1.9
    





For further information:

For further information: Craig Wright, RBC Economics, (416) 974-7457;
Derek Holt, RBC Economics, (416) 974-6192; Jimmy Jean, RBC Economics, (416)
974-6525; Raymond Chouinard, RBC Media Relations, (514) 874-6556; Jimmy Jean
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