British Columbians see opportunities ahead for growth and investment in their provinces, says Mike Bonner, BMO’s senior vice president in B.C. and Yukon.
“Businesses operating in knowledge-based industries, healthcare and franchising are particularly interested in expanding their operations,” he says.
Growth in British Columbia is stable and in line with the national average. The province’s real GDP will increase by 2.2% this year and by 2.5% in 2015, says Robert Kavcic, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets. But that’s slower than in past years because the housing market is cooling off, consumer spending and employment are down, and there’s less investment in mining.
Forestry exports should rise as the Canadian dollar drops and the U.S. housing market regains momentum in the spring, Kavcic says.
And forthcoming free trade agreements with South Korea and other Asian markets are an opportunity for B.C.’s soft fruit and wine industries, says Sean Armstrong, a regional vice president of Commercial Banking at BMO.
The formal approval of pending LNG energy projects will trigger additional economic expansion, adds Armstrong, particularly in the northern part of the province.