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February 16, 2012 06:00 ET

BMO Blue Book: Saskatchewan Economy Sidesteps Challenges; Among Canadian Growth Leaders in 2012

REGINA, SASKATCHEWAN--(Marketwire - Feb. 16, 2012) - After weathering challenges such as flooding in 2011, Saskatchewan will be among Canada's leaders in economic growth in 2012, 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.

"Crop production should be up nearly 9 per cent in 2011, according to Statistics Canada estimates, with good-to-excellent quality," said Robert Kavcic, Economist, BMO Capital Markets. "Meantime, broader resource-sector activity remains robust. Potash production was up 25 per cent year-over-year through September, and the sector will continue to support growth in Saskatchewan. Elsewhere, exploration activity in the oil & gas sector is strong in the Bakken, and oil output will continue to support growth."

"Positive news continues to flow in Saskatchewan for our commercial clients," said Mike Darling, District Vice-President, Saskatchewan, BMO Bank of Montreal. "With a stable political climate and a continued government surplus, this creates a positive environment for businesses to operate and grow."

Mr. Darling stated that new opportunities abound in natural resources, noting the announcement by Europe's largest potash producer, K&S Aktiengesellschaft, that it would be investing $3.25 billion in the development of a new potash mine 50 km north of Moose Jaw. "This means the creation of 1,000 construction jobs and 300 high-quality permanent jobs, providing an already-vibrant Moose Jaw with even more opportunities for growth."

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

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