SOURCE: Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia

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September 13, 2017 12:31 ET

B.C.'s economy expected to ease

CPAs say recent wildfires will have long-term economic impact

VANCOUVER, BC--(Marketwired - September 13, 2017) - According to the BC Check-Up, an annual economic report released by the Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia (CPABC), provincial GDP is forecasted to decline from 3.7 per cent in 2016, to 2.9 per cent in 2017, and 2.0 per cent in 2018. While there were bright spots noted in some of the economic indicators, trade and investment uncertainty and the provincial wildfires will create challenges.

"B.C.'s strong economy continued to attract residents last year, and the population expanded by almost 60,000 residents to reach 4.75 million. The majority of these new residents were either from other provinces or outside of Canada," said Lori Mathison, FCPA, FCGA, LLB, president and CEO of CPABC. "Most of them settled in southern B.C., fuelling growth in the service sector. Population growth is expected to continue in that region and will increase housing demand. As a result, it is expected that the construction industry and other real estate related industries will remain busy in southern B.C. throughout the year and into 2018."

In addition, exports are expected to remain steady this year due to improving commodity prices and minimal appreciation of the Canadian dollar. By the end of July 2017, the value of B.C.'s exports exceeded almost 20 per cent of year-to-date value in 2016. This was largely driven by increases in energy exports. However, exports to the U.S. may be impacted by American trade policy shifts. Recent wildfires will also likely affect softwood exports.

"Outside of the lower mainland the economic outlook is not as positive. We've just experienced the worst wildfire season on record in the province's interior, and its economic impact will be felt for a long time. In addition, Petronas' withdrawal of the Pacific Northwest LNG project and the uncertainty surrounding Site C may influence future investment decisions for other major projects," continued Mathison. "That said, B.C.'s economy is still based on sound economics and the projected 2.9 per cent GDP growth rate will place it amongst one of the top performing provinces."

Learn more about the BC Check-Up at www.bccheckup.com.

About CPA British Columbia

The Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia (CPABC) is the training, governing, and regulatory body for almost 35,000 CPA members and 5,000 CPA students. CPABC carries out its primary mission to protect the public by enforcing the highest professional and ethical standards and contributing to the advancement of public policy. CPAs are recognized internationally for bringing superior financial expertise, strategic thinking, business insight, and leadership to organizations.

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