All provinces can expect slower growth for 2018 due to factors such as NAFTA, stalled oil pipeline projects, cooling housing markets and weak business investment, says the Conference Board of Canada’s Provincial Outlook: Spring 2018, released May 29.
"Weaker economic growth is forecast across the country, with only British Columbia, Prince Edward Island, Ontario and Quebec expected to see growth above two per cent this year," said Marie-Christine Bernard, director, provincial forecast, The Conference Board of Canada.
Fastest growth rates
The provinces with the fastest growth rates are expected to be Prince Edward Island and British Columbia, with GDP growth of 2.6 per cent. “With B.C.'s strong economic performance in the last few years tied to the housing market, economic growth will moderate in line with a cooling housing market facing new policies. Still, the province will continue to benefit from strength in the services sector and solid growth in exports as duties placed on softwood lumber have not been as damaging to the industry as anticipated,” says the Conference Board.
PEI’s economy will be supported by population gains due to immigration, record-breaking tourism numbers and elevated demand for P.E.I. products, says the report.
Ontario and Quebec’s economies are forecast to expand by 2.2 per cent, and Alberta’s economy is expected to grow 1.9 per cent. However, the Conference Board says, there are “upside risks to the forecast as the price of West Texas Intermediate is averaging around US$70 per barrel and could continue to increase.”
Declines in uranium production
In the prairies, Manitoba’s economy is expected to grow by 2.1 per cent this year, and Saskatchewan, by just 1.3 per cent due to declines in uranium production and weaker public-sector infrastructure spending.
In the Maritimes, apart from PEI, economic growth is expected to be slow for the provinces. Nova Scotia’s economy is expected to grow by 0.8 per cent, and New Brunswick’s is expected to see a 1.3 per cent increase. Newfoundland and Labrador’s economy is expected to grow by 1.6 per cent for 2018.