VICTORIA – The Economic Forecast Council has provided its annual pre-Budget update for B.C.’s economic outlook in 2015 and 2016.
The council is forecasting 2.6 per cent real GDP growth for B.C. in 2015, down from the 2.7 per cent forecast in December. The Economic Forecast Council’s revisions include lower forecasts for inflation, as low gasoline prices helped slow Canada’s inflation rate to 1.5 per cent in December from 2.0 per cent in November.
The council predicts B.C.’s real GDP growth will increase to 2.8 per cent in 2016, up 0.1 percentage points from their December 2014 estimates.
The outlook for 2017-19 remains unchanged at 2.5 per cent. The B.C. government’s provincial forecast will be published with Budget 2015.
Overall, the domestic and international market situation remains fluid, and the effect of significantly lower oil prices on the B.C. economy is uncertain. While the reduction in crude prices is generally not expected to have a significant negative effect on the province, it has increased uncertainty as low oil prices are accompanied with downward pressure on other commodity prices, including natural gas.
The Economic Forecast Council includes some of the most respected independent economic forecasters in Canada. The 14-member council’s mandate – as determined by the Budget Transparency and Accountability Act – is to provide economic advice to the minister of finance in developing each year’s budget and fiscal plan.