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Improved prospects for Alberta and Saskatchewan markets this year

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Improved prospects for Alberta and Saskatchewan markets this year

Alberta and Saskatchewan are poised to lead the rest of the country in terms of provincial economic growth this year, according to The Conference Board of Canada.

In its latest report “Provincial Outlook: Spring 2017”, the Board outlined what it saw as a promising trend for the two provinces, whose housing markets have experienced relatively sedate housing growth and activity over the past few quarters.

“The difficulties in the resources sector are slowly dissipating and helping Alberta and Saskatchewan emerge out of recession. However, the turnaround is still in its early stages and a full recovery will take time,” according to Marie-Christine Bernard, who serves as associate director (provincial forecast) for The Conference Board of Canada.

“Economic prospects are also improving across the country, but continued weakness in business investment—both in and out of the resources sector—could hurt economic growth in all provinces down the road.”

Alberta’s real GDP is forecast to grow by 3.3 per cent in 2017.

“Alberta’s economy is expected to outperform all provinces and grow by 3.3 per cent this year. Non-conventional oil production in the province will see a big increase this year thanks to new capacity coming online, while energy investment is expected to make a comeback this year and next,” the Board explained.

“Outside of the energy sector, Alberta is benefiting from improvements in labour markets, consumer demand, and the housing sector. A bright outlook for the province’s manufacturing sector as a result of the new Sturgeon refinery, along with the rebuilding efforts in Fort McMurray, will also contribute to Alberta’s strong economic growth this year. 

Meanwhile, Saskatchewan will tie with British Columbia as the provinces with the second fastest economic growth this year at 2.5 per cent.

“Saskatchewan’s economy is on a more solid foundation than it was one year ago. The energy outlook is more positive as drilling bounced back last winter and oil production is expected to increase at a good pace over the near term,” the Board stated.

“As well, adaptation to the low-oil-price environment has led to growing investment into cost-effective thermal extraction technology, which will provide a significant boost to construction over the next three years. The province’s labour markets are also starting to turn around, boosting growth in household spending.”

The full report can be viewed here.