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Projected Deficit Revised for Fall Update; Improved Economic Outlook in 2015

Press Release

December 16, 2014

Responsible Decisions Secure Long-Term Prosperity

Today the Provincial Government released the province’s 2014-15 Fall Update . The projected deficit has been revised to $916 million, an increase of $378 million over the budget projection of $538 million.

“Today, as we meet the challenge of declining revenues, due chiefly to low oil prices, we are supported by news that our economy remains sufficiently robust to cushion the impact, with an economic outlook that is brighter in 2015. While current low oil prices create revenue challenges that we will address, we are buoyed by news this week of increased estimates for offshore oil reserves and a record level of investment in exploration that will secure a bright future for our oil industry.”
– The Honourable Ross Wiseman, Minister of Finance and President of Treasury Board

After several years of sustained and steady growth, economic conditions in Newfoundland and Labrador softened in 2014. Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is now expected to be down by two per cent, however there are encouraging indicators. Capital investment in the province is expected to total $12.4 billion this year, up 0.6 per cent from the record level recorded in 2013. Lower spending on Vale’s nickel processing facility in Long Harbor was offset by higher spending on the Hebron and White Rose projects and the Muskrat Falls development.

Indicators of income growth remain solid. Average weekly earnings rose by 4.4 per cent in the first nine months of 2014 and household income increased. The value of retail sales increased by 3.3 per cent during the first nine months of 2014 compared to the same period in 2013.

The economic outlook is brighter for Newfoundland and Labrador in 2015. Real GDP is expected to rise as higher mineral and oil production will boost exports. Capital investment is expected to increase by about nine per cent, and employment is expected to increase as the dampening effects of the winding down of the Long Harbour development dissipate. This combined with higher wages should lead to a rise in incomes and retail sales. This positive outlook is shared with other leading forecasters. The Conference Board of Canada has indicated that in 2015 Newfoundland and Labrador should post one of the strongest real GDP growth rates among the provinces.

“Our economy has enjoyed significant growth since 2003 and bond rating agencies continue to maintain our credit ratings and note our present ability to weather current fiscal challenges brought on by declining oil prices. As we continue to closely and carefully examine our revenue challenges and find solutions, work is already underway in preparation for next year’s budget, recognizing the new reality of low oil prices impacting our revenues. Throughout this process we will need to explore all opportunities for cost reductions and additional revenue generation.”
– Minister Wiseman

QUICK FACTS

  • Mainly due to low oil prices, the projected deficit for the fiscal year 2014-15 has been revised to $916 million, an increase of $378 million over the budget projection of $538 million.
  • Economic conditions in Newfoundland and Labrador softened in 2014. Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is now expected to be down by two per cent, however there are encouraging indicators.
  • Capital investment in the province is expected to total $12.4 billion this year, up 0.6 per cent from the record level recorded in 2013.
  • Average weekly earnings rose by 4.4 per cent in the first nine months of 2014 and household income increased.
  • The economic outlook is brighter for Newfoundland and Labrador in 2015. Real GDP is expected to rise as higher mineral and oil production will boost exports. Capital investment is expected to increase by about nine per cent, and employment is expected to increase as the dampening effects of the winding down of the Long Harbour development dissipate

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Media contact:

John Tompkins
Director of Communications
Department of Finance
709-729-6830, 693-1865
[email protected]

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