Canadian Outlook Economic Forecast: Spring 2019

The Conference Board of Canada, 188 pages, May 1, 2019
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This quarterly economic forecast presents the short-term national outlook.

Document Highlights

  • The Canadian economy is projected to grow by just 1.4 per cent in 2019.
  • Consumer spending slowed sharply at the end of last year, but strong income growth will support a rebound in spending this year.
  • The housing market will continue to cool this year with a decline forecast in residential investment.
  • Business investment outside of the resource and residential sectors is set to improve this year, but oil and gas investment will post its fifth consecutive annual decline.
  • Given the economic slowdown, the Bank of Canada will remain on the sidelines this year. Rate hikes will return in 2020, assuming that the economy improves as expected over the second half of this year.
  • A turnaround in business investment will be required to push the economy to 2.0 per cent growth next year.

Table of Contents



Chapter 1—Household Income and Employment

  • Strong Labour Market Supporting Households’ Deleveraging Efforts
  • Good Last Six Months for Canada’s Labour Market
  • A Look at the Job Vacancy Survey
  • What Firms Can Expect Moving Forward: Employment, Labour Supply, and Wages
  • What Households Can Expect Moving Forward: Incomes, Debt Payments, and Inflation

Chapter 2—Household Consumption

  • Household Spending Growth Hits a Low
  • Household Spending Faltered at the End of 2018
  • Better Fundamentals Will Support a Rebound in Consumption Growth
  • A Look at Discretionary Spending
  • The Outlook for Consumer Spending

Chapter 3—Housing

  • Canada’s Housing Market Continues to Cool

Chapter 4—Government

  • Brighter Fiscal Picture Heading into Budget 2019
  • Federal Fiscal Outlook
  • Provincial Fiscal Outlook

Chapter 5—Business Investment

  • Evaluating Canada’s Investment Performance
  • Investment Drivers
  • Investment by Industry
  • Investment by Category

Chapter 6—International Trade

  • Challenges Continue to Undermine Growth
  • Trade Outlook
  • Non-energy Exports Keep Merchandise Exports Afloat
  • Growth in Merchandise Imports Stalling in 2019
  • Weaker Global Demand Eroding Services Deficit
  • Current Account Deficit Is Widening

Chapter 7—Energy

  • Outlook for 2019 Remains Weak
  • Global Oversupply of Oil Is Dampening Prices
  • Alberta’s Oil Sector in Crisis
  • Investment: The Glass Is Half Empty in Western Canada
  • Production Cuts Are Weighing Down Oil Output

Chapter 8—Industry Trends

  • Industry Growth Moderating in 2019
  • Uneven Outlook for Primary Resources
  • Construction Activity Plummets in 2019
  • Manufacturing Output Activity Slows
  • Commercial Services Bucks the National Trend
  • Demographic Trends Driving Outlook for Non-commercial Services
  • Slower Growth for Public Administration

Chapter 9—Financial Markets

  • Economic Slowdown Keeps Canadian Rate Hikes Off the Table this Year
  • Past Interest Rate Increases Starting to Bite
  • Federal Reserve Turns Dovish
  • Monetary Policy in Other Countries

Appendix A—Forecast Tables

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