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Atlantic growth below national average, says economic council

APEC
APEC

Atlantic Canada’s economic indicators for the first quarter of 2017 are consistent with growth forecasts below the national pace this year, says the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council (APEC).

“Employment and retail sales in early 2017 were generally below the Canadian pace, along with declines in real wages,” said Fred Bergman, APEC’s senior policy analyst. “Employment and residential construction declined in Newfoundland and Labrador, but oil output increased.”

However, housing starts in the three Maritime provinces are well above the national pace in the first quarter, and the Atlantic provinces except Nova Scotia show robust gains in manufacturing and exports, Bergman said.

Of the first quarter for Newfoundland and Labrador, APEC concluded:

  • Declining provincial employment combined with lower real wages reduced spending and housing investment in early 2017.

  • International exports of goods increased by almost one-half in the first quarter of 2017 as gains in energy and iron ore exports more than offset declines in shrimp and newsprint.

  • Dramatic reductions in both shrimp and crab stock assessments resulted in quota cuts, but higher crab prices will provide some offset.

In its 2017 Outlook released last fall, APEC predicted trade as a key downside risk. The recent announcement by the US Department of Commerce to impose countervailing duties on imported Canadian softwood lumber could price some Canadian lumber out of the US market. APEC says.

“If the current duties are made permanent, annualized duties on Atlantic softwood lumber exports to the U.S. will be about $85 million,” said Bergman.

New Brunswick (82 per cent ) and Nova Scotia (16 per cent) accounted for most of the region’s softwood exports in 2016.

 



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