RBC sees Quebec's economy marginally outpacing Ontario



    TORONTO, July 3 /CNW/ - According to the latest provincial economic
outlook released today by RBC, Quebec's economy is forecast to move at a slow
pace this year with growth of just one per cent, ahead of only Ontario and
Newfoundland and Labrador but is expected to pick up the pace slightly in
2009, helped by a rebounding U.S. economy.
    "Along with Ontario, Quebec is the other main provincial victim of the
storm hitting Canada's manufacturing exports," said Craig Wright, senior
vice-president and chief economist, RBC. "Fortunately, good market conditions
in the mining and metals, and aerospace industries - both key exporters in the
province - are offsetting some of the negative impact."
    Unlike Ontario, Quebec's economy is less exposed to the auto sector's
woes, but the report noted that the province's forest products sector is in
crisis largely due to the collapse of the U.S. housing market. Non-residential
construction will see a boost thanks to a myriad of infrastructure projects in
healthcare, education, transportation, energy and mining and metals sectors,
which is expected to more than compensate for the softening in home building
activity. These construction projects will also be supplemented by an expected
increase in spending on machinery and equipment, as Quebec firms take
advantage of new fiscal incentives and strive to boost productivity.
    Consumer spending is expected to remain firm, sustained by rising
household incomes. While unlikely to repeat the strong performance of 2007,
job growth should continue to do well thanks to vigour in the services sector.
    The main theme of the Provincial Outlook continues to be the different
paths the Eastern and Western parts of the country are taking. Record-high
commodity prices and strong global demand for resources sustain unprecedented
prosperity in the Western provinces, while the strong Canadian dollar,
downturn in the U.S. economy and high energy prices continue to cause hardship
in key sectors in provinces east of Manitoba. Saskatchewan is projected to
lead all of the provinces in economic growth for both 2008 and 2009, followed
by Alberta, while Newfoundland and Labrador and Ontario are expected to lag
the group this year, but should show some improvement next 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
                  07    08    09        07    08    09        07    08    09
                  --    --    --        --    --    --        --    --    --
    NFLD.        9.1   0.2   1.3       2.6   2.6   2.0       8.9   6.0   2.0
    P.E.I.       2.0   1.2   1.6       0.8   0.7   0.6       7.7   4.5   3.7
    N.S.         1.6   2.0   2.4       4.8   4.7   4.0       4.2   5.5   4.5
    N.B.         1.6   2.0   2.5       4.2   4.2   3.4       5.7   4.6   4.0
    QUE.         2.4   1.0   2.3      48.6  47.1  40.0       4.6   4.3   4.4
    ONT.         2.1   0.7   2.2      68.1  68.7  59.3       3.9   4.4   4.5
    MAN.         3.3   2.7   2.7       5.7   5.9   4.5       8.8   8.5   7.0
    SASK.        2.8   3.7   3.8       6.0   6.6   4.5      13.0  12.0  11.0
    ALTA.        3.3   3.1   3.0      48.3  38.3  35.1       9.3   4.5   7.0
    B.C.         3.1   2.2   2.9      39.2  37.2  30.5       6.7   4.5   7.5
    CANADA       2.7   1.4   2.5       228   216   184       5.8   5.2   5.6


                   Employment                CPI


                  07    08    09        07    08    09
                  --    --    --        --    --    --
    NFLD.        0.6   2.0   0.5       1.5   2.5   1.4
    P.E.I.       1.0   1.3   0.3       1.8   3.2   1.5
    N.S.         1.3   1.0   1.9       1.9   3.0   1.6
    N.B.         2.1   1.6   1.0       1.9   1.8   1.5
    QUE.         2.3   1.4   1.3       1.6   2.2   1.4
    ONT.         1.6   1.5   1.3       1.8   2.0   1.5
    MAN.         1.6   2.1   1.7       2.0   2.0   1.5
    SASK.        2.1   2.4   2.3       2.8   3.4   2.6
    ALTA.        4.7   3.0   2.1       5.0   3.3   2.5
    B.C.         3.2   2.6   2.5       1.8   2.0   1.5
    CANADA       2.3   1.9   1.6       2.1   2.3   1.6
    





For further information:

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


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