New Brunswick could emerge as regional energy hub, says RBC Economics



    TORONTO, June 22 /CNW/ - According to the latest provincial outlook
released today by RBC, New Brunswick's near term economic growth is expected
to remain close to 2.5 per cent.
    "A solid line-up of construction projects, combined with domestic
strength will support healthy growth for New Brunswick over the coming two
years," said Craig Wright, vice-president and chief economist, RBC. "These
promising developments could also help stem the number of workers leaving the
province for Alberta."
    RBC noted the Canaport LNG terminal is now about 30 per cent complete and
on schedule to start-up in late 2008. The potential for spin-off investment
from the terminal, as well as a second major oil refinery, add upside
potential to the medium term growth outlook and could position the province as
a regional energy hub.
    On the downside, RBC said the province's export sector dropped
1.4 per cent last year and a declining trend is likely to persist in 2007.
This is a result of decreased demand for non-energy exports due to the
stronger Canadian currency and soft U.S. housing markets. This is particularly
noteworthy as New Brunswick is Canada's most export-intensive provincial
economy.
    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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