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Alberta Economic Outlook March 2019

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Alberta Economic Outlook - March 2019 ATB Financial's Alberta Economic Outlook is released quarterly and is prepared by ATB's Economics and Research Team. While effort has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information and analysis herein, it should not be construed as financial advice. For more information on Alberta's economy, visit atb.com/economics ATB Financial is forecasting real GDP growth for Alberta of 1.4 per cent in 2019 and 1.7 per cent in 2020. The pace of growth in the province is lower than in 2018 due to oil production limits, falling capital investment in the oil sector and the spillover effects of both on other sectors. The lower forecast for 2019 is in keeping with the latest public and private sector estimates. Investment in the energy sector will continue to be curtailed until the lack of pipeline capacity is addressed. The delayed completion of the Line 3 pipeline until 2020 is an additional setback. Our current forecast has West Texas Intermediate prices landing between $US 50-60 per barrel and Western Canadian Select selling between $US 30-40 per barrel in 2019. Price improvements for Canadian natural gas are unlikely. Despite the frigid temperatures the province endured in February, supplies in inventory are still high. AECO natural gas prices are expected to stay between $US 1.00/MMBtu and $US 1.90/MMBtu. Alberta's labour market is facing reduced investment in its oil and gas sector, dampening employment growth in 2019. After averaging 6.6 per cent in 2018, the average provincial unemployment rate is forecast to stay at this level in 2019. Job-seekers can expect another frustrating year as uncertainty in the energy patch trickles down into other sectors. 1

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