VICTORIA — The first quarterly report from the Province of British Columbia indicates that British Columbia is heading for an operating surplus in the face of continuing risks and global economic uncertainty.
The report, which provides an initial update on British Columbia’s finances based on the first three months of the fiscal year, says the province has an operating surplus of $706 million for 2022-23 and deficits lower projections over the next two years.
“While we can’t ignore today’s global inflation and the economic turmoil ahead, the province has performed better than expected because British Columbians have worked hard to keep our economy going,” the province said. provincial Finance Minister Selina Robinson in a statement.
While the provincial economy is expected to grow next year, a statement said global inflation as well as rising interest rates across Canada, war in Ukraine and pandemic-related uncertainty remain.
“These are uncertain times, both on the international economic front and for British Columbians struggling with rising global inflation. This gives us a first look at the province’s finances, just three months into the fiscal year. A lot can change between now and the end of the year, and we need to keep making thoughtful decisions, especially with everything going on in the world. But it does indicate that we are in a strong position to continue investing in what people need to cut costs, strengthen services and build a stronger British Columbia for all,” Robinson said.
The report indicates that British Columbia’s economy will continue to recover this year and grow modestly next year. Real GDP is expected to grow by 3.2% in 2022 and 1.5% in 2023. Nominal GDP is expected to grow by 11.6% in 2022 and 3.5% in 2023.
Year-to-date to August 2022, employment increased by 3.6% and the unemployment rate remains low at 4.8% in August 2022.
Homebuilding activity remains high, the report says, and is well above the 10-year historical average, but home sales activity has fallen below average historical levels in recent months, as markets adapt to rising interest rates.
Taxpayer-funded capital spending is projected to total $29 billion over the fiscal plan period, up $1.6 billion from Budget 2022, with most of the increase coming from changes in the timing of project expenditures. Spending also includes the addition of capital projects, such as the approval of the business plan for the Skytrain Surrey-Langley, the report said.