Saskatchewan poised for strong economic growth, says RBC Economics



    Diversified economic drivers boost growth

    TORONTO, March 30 /CNW/ - Saskatchewan's economy is well positioned for
solid growth of 2.8 per cent in 2007 and 2.9 per cent in 2008, according to a
provincial economic outlook released today by RBC.
    "Saskatchewan's economy is powering ahead and is expected to remain above
the national growth average in 2007," said Craig Wright, vice-president and
chief economist, RBC. "A buoyant natural resources sector should combine with
early optimism on crop conditions, and ongoing strength in consumer spending,
to boost Saskatchewan's economic growth performance."
    RBC notes that production at the flooded Cigar Lake uranium mine is now
targeted to commence in 2010, subject to regulatory approval and timely
remediation. In the meantime, robust global demand for uranium and potash,
combined with diamond mining activity should raise the serious possibility of
Saskatchewan experiencing strong growth for years to come.
    With the country's second largest oil reserves - behind Alberta - the
province is also seeing its share of investment including the start of
construction on a heavy oil upgrader in Lloydminster this year. Added capital
projects include new ethanol and canola crushing plants.
    While still early in the year, Saskatchewan's agricultural conditions are
encouraging, heading into the crucial spring planting season, the RBC report
says. Selling last year's grain inventories at elevated prices, decent
precipitation readings and relatively high current grain prices should leave
farm cash flows in a better position, acting as a good support to consumer
spending.
    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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