Conference Board of Canada spring outlook says all provinces can expect slower economic growth

Mario ToneguzziAlberta’s economy is performing well but a lack of investment in the energy sector is dimming economic prospects, says a new report released on Tuesday by the Conference Board of Canada.

“Pipeline capacity issues are cooling oil producers’ appetite for new investment and drilling was also slightly down in the last winter season. While Alberta bounced back from recession in 2017 growing by 4.9 per cent, economic growth is expected to be weaker this year, at 1.9 per cent. 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,” said the conference board.

All provinces can expect slower economic growth this year as a number of factors – ranging from uncertainty over the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), stalled oil pipeline projects, cooling housing markets and weak business investment – weigh on the provincial economies, said the board’s Provincial Outlook: Spring 2018 report.

“Weaker economic growth is forecast across the country, with only British Columbia, Prince Edward Island, Ontario and Quebec expected to see growth above three per cent this year,” said Marie-Christine Bernard, director of provincial forecast at the Conference Board.

British Columbia and Prince Edward Island will have the fastest growing provincial economies in 2018, with real gross domestic product growth of 2.6 per cent. Ontario and Quebec’s economies will advance at a more moderate pace of 2.2 per cent.

Respected business writer Mario Toneguzzi is a veteran Calgary-based journalist who worked for 35 years for the Calgary Herald in various capacities, including 12 years as a senior business writer.

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