ATB’s Alberta Economic Outlook: Economy facing challenges

By ATB Financial 16 May 2019 2 min read

Calgary–ATB Financial’s newest Alberta Economic Outlook shows a provincial economy that is facing a number of challenges in 2019. As a result, ATB is forecasting real GDP growth of 0.7 per cent for Alberta in 2019 and 1.6 per cent in 2020.

Released today, ATB’s Alberta Economic Outlook provides an in-depth analysis of our economy to give helpful and timely insight to Albertans. The key findings are:

  • Job growth will be slow if not negative this year
  • Retail sales growth is expected to be weak
  • Global growth appears to be slowing
  • Prices for Alberta oil have improved, however, capital investment and drilling rates are down
  • Oil and gas pipeline challenges remain unresolved
  • Manufacturing sales started the year on a stronger note and are expected to perform relatively well going forward across most sub-sectors
  • Alberta’s population will continue to grow

“Despite all the headwinds hampering Alberta’s economic progress, it looks like we will avoid slipping back into recession. With that said, we’ve cut our growth forecast in half from where it was in March,” said ATB’s Chief Economist Todd Hirsch. “With real GDP growth of just 0.7 per cent, it is going to feel slow in our province.”

The challenges facing Alberta also include a large amount of uncertainty radiating from the global economy. From a no-deal Brexit and the China-U.S. trade war to inverted bond yield curves and rising sovereign debt levels, there is a risk of a global slowdown.

“The global oversupply of crude oil caused the price to collapse in late 2014 and sent Alberta spiralling down into the worst recession in 30 years. At the moment, domestic challenges to new pipeline development are hindering Alberta’s economy,” said Hirsch. “Hopefully, a major global slowdown will be avoided and not add to the barriers we face.”

Some encouraging sectors include agriculture and agrifoods. Both should perform well, although canola growers have been hit by a Chinese import ban. Cannabis and other niche crops, however, are creating new opportunities.

Read the complete ATB Financial Alberta Economic Outlook (May 2019).

For more information or interview requests, please contact:

Karin Põldaas
Communications Director
ATB Financial

About ATB Financial

With $54.9 billion in assets, ATB Financial is an Alberta-built financial institution. But don't let that fool you—we're so much more than a bank. We got started in 1938 to help Albertans through tough economic times, and today we have 176 branches, 143 agencies, a Client Care Centre, four entrepreneur centres, and mobile and online banking. And did you know we're fast becoming the digital bank and the bank for entrepreneurs? We're already the place to work for our more than 5,500 team members who love to serve our 760,000-plus customers in 247 Alberta communities.

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