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BMO Financial Group

February 16, 2012 06:00 ET

BMO Blue Book: Population Growth Contributing to Steady PEI Economy

CHARLOTTETOWN, PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND--(Marketwire - Feb. 16, 2012) - Prince Edward Island's economy continues to grow at a modest pace, according to the BMO Blue Book released today by BMO Capital Markets Economics and BMO Commercial Banking. Much like the U.S. Federal Reserve's Beige Book, the BMO Blue Book combines the expertise of BMO's economists with information on current business conditions provided to BMO's commercial bankers by local businesspeople.

"Population growth has been one recent area of strength in the province, topping 2 per cent year-over-year in August for the first time since 1980," said Robert Kavcic, Economist, BMO Capital Markets. "The Provincial Nominee Program - where the Province has the opportunity to nominate individuals likely to make a positive contribution in PEI to Citizenship and Immigration Canada - has been particularly successful in attracting international migrants."

The report predicts that PEI's real GDP is set to rise 1.7 per cent for 2011 before cooling slightly to 1.4 per cent in 2012, mainly as a result of a downshift in public-sector capital spending.

Through the recovery after the economic downturn, PEI businesses have remained steady performers, added John Duff, Area Manager, Commercial Banking, New Brunswick / Prince Edward Island, BMO Bank of Montreal. "We're hearing about a lot of positive feelings on the fiscal situation and commercial prospects. Residential and commercial development is still taking place, and a large commercial project is typically on the go at all times. We certainly expect this to continue into 2012, and we expect BMO's announcement of a $10 billion boost in commercial lending to contribute to more such activity."

The full BMO Blue Book can be downloaded at http://bmonesbittburns.com/economics/reports/20120216/bb201202.pdf.

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