Pandemic and Oil Collapse Lead to Surging Deficits: Alberta’s Two-Year Outlook—September 2020

The Conference Board of Canada, 14 pages, September 29, 2020
Issue briefing
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This quarterly economic forecast for the province of Alberta examines the economic outlook for the province, including gross domestic product (GDP), output by industry and labour market conditions.

Document Highlights

  • The provincial deficit will swell from $7 billion to an estimated $24 billion this year, as revenues dry up and the United Conservative Party government provides economic aid packages.
  • Employment will fall 6.9 per cent this year, but Alberta’s economic recovery is under way. The job losses are forecast to be recouped in full by the end of 2021.
  • Global benchmark crude prices won’t reach their pre-COVID levels until 2022, as sky-high inventories will empty at only a sluggish rate. Alberta’s oil and gas industry won’t be eager to invest until late 2022.
  • The number of active oil rigs remains dismal. But oil sands producers, which account for the vast majority of the province’s oil production, will reboot production at shut-in operations over the remainder of 2020.
  • The Keystone XL project continues, with construction begun on select routes that have received the necessary permits. U.S. President Donald Trump has issued a permit to increase the flow of oil through the Keystone Pipeline’s current infrastructure.

Table of Contents

Key findings

Alberta snapshot

Overview

Consumer outlook

Investment outlook

Government outlook

Trade and energy outlook

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