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Manitoba’s economy expected mirror national economy in coming year: forecast

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Manitoba’s economy is expected to remain flat in 2014 compared to the previous year with GDP growth at 2.2 per cent according to the latest edition of the BMO Blue Book.

The bank’s economists believe that the slumping loonie and pickup in the U.S. economy will be a plus for the province’s manufacturing sector in 2014 after experiencing a 0.4 per cent fall-off in sales last year.

Falling agricultural commodity prices and transportation backlog might make it hard for agricultural receipts to match 2013 when there was a record harvest but bank officials expect the sector to continue to perform well with lots of expansion, land acquisitions and rising land prices.

"Manitoba’s diverse economy has long supported a wide variety of commercial clients," said John MacAulay, BMO’s senior vice-president, Prairies and Central Canada. "The situation for Manitoba business owners remains generally positive, although we are starting to see a little more caution expressed compared to this time last year. However, the turnaround in the U.S. economy, coupled with lower Canadian dollar, is leading directly to growing sales and improved profitability in manufacturing, distribution, trucking and service sectors."

BMO is forecasting GDP growth in Manitoba of 2.4 per cent in 2015.

As is often the case, Manitoba’s economy is expected to come close to mirroring the national economy next year.

Robert Kavcic, Senior Economist, BMO Capital Markets, noted that the Canadian economy continues to grow and is expected to come in at 2.3 per cent this year before rising to 2.5 per cent in 2015. "The stronger U.S. economy and weaker loonie remain key elements shaping economies across the country. The economic climate still varies by province and region, with Alberta outperforming the rest of Canada by a large margin, due in part to sturdy oil prices and a heavy dose of public-sector capital spending providing a boost."

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