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Credit rating: Statement from Minister Joe Ceci

President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance Joe Ceci issued the following statement regarding Alberta’s credit rating:

“DBRS has maintained our AA(high) credit rating, recognizing our province’s strong fiscal fundamentals and the many positive economic trends and signs of recovery happening in our province right now.

“Alberta’s economy is expected to lead the country this year in economic growth, and jobs are returning. Our balance sheet remains the strongest in Canada and we continue to have the lowest debt-to-GDP ratio among the provinces.

“Alberta’s economic growth is expected to be at or near the top in Canada this year—RBC, the Conference Board of Canada, and TD Economics are forecasting real GDP growth rates of 2.9 per cent, 3.3 per cent and 3.7 per cent, respectively, for Alberta.

“It’s important to remember that Alberta’s credit rating remains among the highest in the country. Budget 2017 clearly maps out how we are reducing the deficit by nearly one-third over the next three years as we continue on our path to balance by 2023-24.

“We will continue to restrain operating spending below population growth plus inflation and as the economy continues to recover, the deficit will decrease over time.

“We are investing in needed infrastructure to keep Albertans working and we will continue to invest in vital public services to make life better today, and in the future.”

Signs of economic recovery:

  • Alberta’s economy has added more than 48,000 jobs since July 2016, reaching the highest level since employment peaked in 2015. Approximately 50,400 full-time jobs have been added since January 2017.
  • The unemployment rate has fallen by more than one percentage point over the first half of 2017.
  • Alberta led the country in private-sector capital investment last year and is on track to lead again.
  • The number of motor vehicles sold in Alberta increased 15 per cent between April 2016 and April 2017 to 23,553.
  • Alberta operators drilled 1,700 wells during the first four months of 2017, compared with 794 a year ago, a 114 per cent increase in activity, according to the Alberta Energy Regulator.
  • Exports are up 59 per cent over last year and non-energy exports reached the highest level since 2008.
  • Wholesale trade is up 8.2 per cent from the 2016 level and is above $6.4 billion for the first time since September 2015.
  • Manufacturing sales rose for the sixth month in a row in April to the highest level since February 2015.
  • Housing starts in the first five months of this year are up 21 per cent over last year.
  • The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is reporting that small business confidence is up, reaching the highest levels since December 2014.
  • 2016 net cash income on farms was up eight per cent over the previous year.

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