Southern B.C. to lead growth

B.C.’s economy will grow at a “modest” 2.7 per cent this year

B.C.’s economy will grow at a “modest” 2.7 per cent this year, then accelerate above three per cent as major projects in northern B.C. get going in late 2016, according to the latest forecast by Central 1 Credit Union.

Low interest rates, a low dollar and recovering demand in the U.S. will help the Vancouver and southern B.C region’s export and service industries most this year, said Bryan Yu, senior economist with the trade association for B.C. credit unions. Manufacturing, tourism, TV and film and agriculture are expected to lead the way.

Slow global demand, particularly from China, is expected to dampen growth in northern B.C. and the Kootenays, where mining and resources are key drivers.

“Northern B.C. is poised to grow at a faster rate in late 2016 onwards with the start of one liquefied natural gas terminal and pipeline, the Site C dam and other major projects,” Yu said.

While B.C. residents working in the oil sands are at greater risk, low oil prices are generally positive for the B.C. economy, with lower costs for businesses and consumers.