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BMO Blue Book: Canadian Economy Posting Strong Growth as Gap in Provincial Output Narrows
  • Canada's real GDP is expected to grow 3.1 per cent this year
  • Consumer spending and fiscal stimulus to support strong performance
  • Alberta's economy is anticipated to grow 4.1 per cent, outperforming all provinces after a multi-year recession

TORONTO, Oct. 30, 2017 /CNW/ - The Canadian economy is on track to match its strongest annual growth performance since the financial crisis as the gap between provincial output shrinks, according to forecasts in the BMO Blue Book released today by BMO Capital Markets Economics and BMO Commercial Banking.

Much like the U.S. Federal Reserve's Beige Book, the BMO Blue Book combines the insights of BMO's economists with information on current national and provincial business conditions provided to BMO's commercial bankers by local businesspeople. The Blue Book features a report for Canada at large and each province.

"Real GDP is likely to expand 3.1 per cent this year," said Robert Kavcic, Senior Economist, BMO Capital Markets. "The big story at the regional level is a narrowing gap between the best and worst performers, as the recession fades in oil-producing provinces, while British Columbia and Central Canada should moderate after a few years of blistering growth."

Amid an economy showing good strength, Canadian business owners expect to see more opportunities to boost productivity and expand into new markets.

"Even those in export industries whose businesses have been challenged as a result of a relatively higher dollar are modernizing where they can and taking advantage of a low interest rate environment," said Andrew Irvine, Head of Business Banking and BMO Partners, BMO Bank of Montreal. "If there's an area of excitement we've picked up on, it lies in the growth of innovation – efficiencies that can position companies well now and in coming years."

2017 Provincial Forecasts At-a-Glance:

Western Canada:

  • Alberta's economy is anticipated to grow 4.1 per cent, outperforming all provinces after overcoming the negative impact of the wildfire last year.
  • British Columbia is positioned for growth in excess of 3 per cent for a fourth consecutive year, backed by strong labour market and consumer spending trends.
  • Saskatchewan is expected to return to modest growth of 1.7 per cent, as the effect of the oil price downturn lingers.

Central Canada:

  • Ontario is likely to expand 3 per cent, up from 2.6 per cent last year, backed by solid U.S. demand and improved population growth.
  • For the second year in a row, Quebec is expecting to accelerate with growth of 2.7 per cent as the labour market continues to thrive.
  • Growth in Manitoba should remain consistent, holding at just over 2 per cent as it benefits from low energy-sector exposure and a robust service sector.

Eastern Canada:

  • Momentum has carried into New Brunswick, with anticipated growth of 1.5 per cent, before decelerating to under 1 per cent next year as a result of demographic headwinds.
  • Nova Scotia and PEI are expected to experience growth close to 2 per cent and boast more favourable fiscal backdrops.
  • Newfoundland & Labrador GDP will likely contract 2 per cent, as major capital spending projects reach completion.

The full BMO Blue Book can be downloaded at: www.bmocm.com/economics.

About BMO Financial Group
Established in 1817, and currently marking its 200th year of operations, BMO Financial Group is a highly diversified financial services provider based in North America. With total assets of $709 billion as of July 31, 2017, and more than 45,000 employees, BMO provides a broad range of personal and business banking, wealth management and investment banking products and services to more than 12 million customers and conducts business through three operating groups: Personal and Commercial Banking, Wealth Management and BMO Capital Markets.

SOURCE BMO Financial Group

For further information: Media Contacts: Michelle Agnelo, Toronto, Michelle.Agnelo@bmo.com, (416) 867-3996; Matthew Duffin, Toronto, Matthew.Duffin@bmo.com, (416) 867-3996; Valérie Doucet, Montreal, Valerie.Doucet@bmo.com, 514-877-8224; Internet: www.bmo.com; Twitter: @BMOmedia

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