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B.C.’s economy forecast to slow in 2024, followed by steady growth

Minister of Children and Family Development Katrine Conroy.
Finance Minister Katrine Conroy.

VICTORIA – Private-sector forecasters expect B.C., like Canada, to see slower economic growth through 2024 due to high interest rates and a softening global economy before growing steadily in the medium term.

Each year, B.C.’s finance minister meets with the Economic Forecast Council (EFC), a 13-member council of independent private-sector forecasters from across Canada, in preparation for the next year’s budget.

At Finance minister Katrine Conroy’s annual meeting with the EFC on Monday, Dec. 4, some members noted B.C.’s financial prudence, abundant natural-resource sector and work to date to address housing supply and affordability are opportunities and strengths as it faces a slower global economic outlook in the near-term.

“B.C. is well positioned to continue to support people through the challenges ahead, with a diverse economy and prudent fiscal planning,” said Conroy. “At a time when people are facing global economic challenges, we won’t leave people to fend for themselves. We’re going to continue to put people first and take action on the biggest challenges we face today.”

Like many jurisdictions, B.C. is experiencing the impacts of a slowing global economy and high interest rates. The EFC anticipates real gross domestic product in B.C. will grow by 0.9% in 2023, 0.5% in 2024 and 2.2% in 2025. These forecasts are slightly lower than the Province’s projections in the Second Quarterly Report.

Most members noted that the impact of past Bank of Canada interest rate hikes has not fully been felt, and housing affordability and supply remain challenges. However, several members were encouraged by government’s recent housing policy measures as positive steps to provide long-term support. Members recognized B.C.’s leadership in climate action and highlighted the province’s potential for energy-transition opportunities in the global market.

“From the housing crisis to building a sustainable economy, our government is taking action so people can build a good life in B.C. We’re making sure homes are built faster and that they are used for people, not speculators,” Conroy said. “And our government is ensuring that people in B.C. do not miss out on new, sustainable jobs, such as the 450 good jobs at E-One Moli’s new lithium-ion battery cell plant in Maple Ridge.”

Forecasts and feedback from the council help inform the Province as it prepares the next provincial budget, which will be released Feb. 22, 2024. EFC members will also have an opportunity to revise their forecasts in early January 2024.

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