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BMO Economics: Saskatchewan Economy Among Top Performers in Canada

- Oil & gas sector to show double digit growth in fiscal 2012/2013

- Strong gains for farm sector

- Real GDP growth of 3.1 per cent in 2012, 2.7 per cent in 2013 (Canada's at 2.2 per cent in 2012, 2.0 per cent in 2013)



REGINA, SASKATCHEWAN--(Marketwire - Oct. 9, 2012) - Saskatchewan's economy remains among the top performers in Canada, even with some softening of momentum, according to the Provincial Monitor report released today by BMO Economics. Real GDP is expected to expand 3.1 per cent in 2012, and should reach 2.7 per cent in 2013.

"Activity in the oil & gas sector is still strong, and the Province is expecting double-digit growth in oil production in fiscal 2012-2013," said Robert Kavcic, Economist, BMO Capital Markets. "Meanwhile, while drought ravaged much of the U.S. Midwest this summer, more than 80 per cent of most crop activities in Saskatchewan are in good-to-excellent condition, with adequate moisture across the vast majority of the province. This, combined with elevated prices, has allowed much of the farm sector to reap significant income gains this year."

"With a solid economic and fiscal foundation, Saskatchewan continues to be a very attractive place to live, work and invest," said Mike Darling, District Vice President, Saskatchewan, BMO Bank of Montreal. "Businesses are continuing to invest and build for future growth - not just in the resources sector, but across the entire spectrum. When we look at small businesses across the Prairies, our recent BMO Small Business Confidence Report shows 80 per cent of entrepreneurs are confident and the majority expects their business to grow next year."

Employment growth remains solid in the province, rising 2.0 per cent year-over-year in September - keeping the jobless rate below 5 per cent for much of the year. "The broader Saskatchewan economy is also performing well, with strong retail sales growth, firm population trends and a healthy housing market," stated Mr. Kavcic. "Existing home sales were up 24 per cent year-over-year through August, but more supply has helped balance the market in recent months."

While resource-sector activity is still robust in the province, activity has shown signs of moderating in recent months; a soft pricing environment has led some potash producers to curtail production. "Potash Corp. temporarily shuttered production at two mines earlier this year, while BHP Billiton may delay the approval of its $12 billion Jansen mine," noted Mr. Kavcic.

The full Provincial Monitor can be downloaded at www.bmocm.com/economics.

About BMO Financial Group

Established in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, BMO Financial Group is a highly diversified North American financial services organization. With total assets of $542 billion as at July 31, 2012, and more than 46,000 employees, BMO Financial Group provides a broad range of retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and solutions.

Media contact:
Peter Scott, Toronto
(416) 867-3996
PeterE.Scott@bmo.com
Internet: www.bmo.com
Twitter: @BMOmedia