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B.C. downgrades economic projections over global uncertainty

Last Updated Sep 10, 2019 at 2:10 pm PDT

B.C.'s finance minister Carole James gives the province's first quarterly report. (Liza Yuzda, NEWS 1130)
Summary

B.C.'s finance minister is downgrading economic projections with a forecast of lower growth and a reduced budget surplus

She says global uncertainty is a key factor in the changes

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) — British Columbia’s finance minister is downgrading economic projections with a forecast of lower growth and a reduced budget surplus, saying global economic uncertainty is a factor.

Carole James presented the revised financial forecast in her first quarterly budget update in Victoria, saying the province is doing well, but there are “challenges.” She says the struggling forest industry, dips in commodity exports and lower retail sales have prompted the economic revisions.

B.C.’s budget surplus for 2019-2020 is predicted to be $179 million — which is $95 million less than the estimate in February’s budget.

As for ICBC, she says while work is continuing to improve it, there are outstanding court cases that could mean a hit to that challenge.

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A good wildfire season has also saved the province money, she says: the total bill so far this year is $121 million, which is $92 million less than the province planned for.

The economic growth for the province is now forecast at 1.7 per cent this year and 1.9 per cent in 2020, down from earlier projection.

James says the provincial economy is staying strong with an increase in employment of more than three per cent.

– With files from Liza Yuzda