Saskatchewan to remain Canada's economic growth leader for next two years, says RBC Economics



    TORONTO, July 3 /CNW/ - According to the latest provincial economic
outlook released today by RBC, strong commodity exports will pump up
Saskatchewan's economy over the next two years, with growth expected to be 3.7
per cent for 2008, rising to 3.8 per cent in 2009.
    "Reaping the benefits of the positive terms of trade shock currently
playing out in the Canadian economy, the province is in the fortunate position
that virtually all of its major commodity exports - oil, grain, uranium and
potash - are recording historically high prices," said Craig Wright, senior
vice-president and chief economist, RBC. "This boost to the economy will help
Saskatchewan lead growth among all the provinces for the next couple of
years."
    Saskatchewan's nominal exports are on a tear, running at a 40 per cent
growth rate over the first four months of 2008, more than double the rate
posted for 2007. This largely reflects higher commodity prices, which in turn
are helping to boost household incomes and consumer spending. The province's
retail sales are 15 per cent higher on a year-to-date basis, the strongest
pace on record since the early 1990s. The positive impact of the terms of
trade shock is also being supplemented domestically by the one percentage
point cut to the GST earlier this year, ongoing job growth and the surge in
migration to the province. While a robust job market and wave of new residents
will continue to support residential investment, a deterioration in housing
affordability will likely dampen activity in 2009.
    Another benefit of the commodity boom is strong investment by businesses
over the next few years. Sizeable projects to further develop energy, potash
and uranium resources will boost near-term capital spending. Saskatchewan's
economic outlook in the medium term looks equally promising with the
development of various oil reserves, such as Bakken field in the southeastern
corner of the province.
    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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