A new report says the weaker Canadian dollar and the strengthening U.S. economy will lead to Toronto’s economic growth topping that of its Canadian peers for the first time this century.
According to The Conference Board of Canada’s Metropolitan Outlook: Spring 2015 report, the city’s economy grew at its fastest pace in four years in 2014 and is predicted to expand again by 3.1 per cent in 2015.
“For the first time since 1999, Toronto will boast the fastest growing metropolitan economy this year among the 13 cities covered in this edition of our report,” said Alan Arcand, associate director of the Centre for Municipal Studies.
Toronto’s growth was boosted by gains in the manufacturing, transportation, warehousing and retail trade services, sectors that are expected to improve again in 2015, Arcand said.
The city’s manufacturing output is poised to grow by 2.8 per cent, the sector’s fifth gain in six years. Renewed strength in the global economy, low interest rates, falling oil prices and a weaker loonie have helped increase demand for products manufactured in Toronto, the report said.
The construction sector, which has seen declines over the past two years, is also expected to expand 3.8 per cent in 2015 due to rising housing starts and the growth of downtown condominiums.
Meanwhile, consumer spending in Ontario is predicted to climb with a return to positive employment growth while the upcoming Pan Am Games are already lifting the province’s tourism activity.
According to the report, Ontario’s export industry remains robust mainly because of a rapidly expanding U.S. economy which buys nearly 80 percent of the province’s exports. The Canadian dollar’s slide against its U.S. counterpart is also helping Ontario’s competitiveness, the report states.
Nationally, however, the outlook is far from bright.
Plummeting oil prices are hitting Canada’s economy hard, with the impact in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador resulting in unimpressive economic growth nationwide.
The sharp drop in oil prices will cost producers more than $40 billion (U.S.) in lost revenue, the report said, but growth in other regions, such as Toronto, is predicted to offset the negative impacts.