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Alberta government achieves third quarter surplus

Improved revenues and responsible spending continue to push operating results into the black as Alberta addresses population growth and flood challenges.

Road crew paving highway in Alberta

“Alberta continues to turn the corner financially, not just because we have done well on the revenue side but because we stuck to a responsible spending plan. We set out on a new course with Budget 2013 and nine months in it’s clear we’re on the right fiscal path. We will continue to implement the Building Alberta Plan as we head towards a new budget.”

- Doug Horner, President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance

Third quarter results show the province with an operational surplus of $1.2 billion in the first nine months of the fiscal year, which is expected to reach $1.4 billion by year end. Budget 2013 had forecast an operational deficit of $451 million.

“While Alberta is in a good financial position now, we all know how much our revenues can fluctuate in a short period of time. We will deal with the pressures and challenges that come from a growing population, but the spending taps will not be opened up. Today’s surplus will be used to cushion future drops in revenue.”

- Doug Horner, President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance

Alberta’s economy gained momentum through 2013 with widespread growth and the province’s revenue picture improved due to higher energy prices, strong income tax revenues and a weaker Canadian dollar.  Alberta’s population growth continues to be three times the national average, as 105,200 net migrants came to the province during the 2013 census year.

Third quarter highlights

  • Operational revenue is $30.8 billion in the first nine months of the fiscal year, $2.7 billion higher than expected due primarily to higher energy prices and increased investment income.
  • Operational expense was $29.6 billion, an increase of $1.1 billion due to increased spending in health care, social programs, post-secondary institutions and school boards to address caseload and enrollment pressures, as well as disaster and emergency assistance.
  • $537 million in operating and $33 million in capital has been spent to support Albertans, small-business owners and communities rebuild from the June 2013 floods to December 31. This includes $431 million through the Disaster Recovery Program.
  • Capital plan results were on track with the budget estimate, with capital spending at $3.5 billion. Direct borrowing for capital purposes was $2.7 billion, up $330 million from estimate due mainly to carrying-over projects from 2012-13 and market opportunities.
  • The province’s short term savings account for dealing with unexpected revenue shortfalls, the Contingency Account, held $2.4 billion at the end of December and is expected to reach $4.6 billion by fiscal year end.
  • Alberta’s real GDP grew 3.3 per cent in 2013, higher than the expected 2.9 per cent. Economic growth is expected to accelerate to 3.7 per cent in 2014, lifted by exports, investment and flood-related spending.

2013-14 Third Quarter Actuals for the nine months ended December 31 ($ millions)

 

Budget
2013-14

Q3
Estimate

Q3
Actual

Operational Revenue

  • Non-renewable resource revenue

$37,679
 

$7,250

$28,138
 

$5,230

$30,807
 

$6,669

Operational Expense

$38,130

$28,510

$29,567

Operational Surplus/ (Deficit)

($451)

($372)

$1,240

Capital Plan spending

$5,209

$3,447

$3,506

Contingency Account

As of December 31, 2013

$2,436 

Related information

Third Quarter Fiscal Update and Economic Statement

Flood Recovery Update

Budget 2013

Multimedia

Watch Live: Minister Horner presents third quarter fiscal update

PowerPoint: Third quarter fiscal update presentation

Live Tweets: @AB_TB_Finance


Media inquiries

Government of Alberta