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RBCs GDP Forecasts – Some Handy Graphs

RBC is my favorite bank when it comes to economics. Among other things, they do the housing affordability index, lots of forecasting and make it relatively easy to find the whole data set, together with some really great analysis.

I’ve designed these graphs, as well as the Google Spreadsheets with the data to be easy and accessible to REIN members. In particular, I’m aiming for those of us who need resources for creating JV Presentations and having access to good solid data as quickly as possible.

My goals with these types of posts (filed under statistics) are:

  1. Just the data you need.
  2. Graphs that are simple and adhere to good design principles. 
  3. Useful data sets that you can just copy and paste from my Google Docs and use for your own purposes. 
  4. Properly cited data. Links to the raw files wherever possible, with the real intent of giving credit to the forecasters and helping you to find the original data soucre.
  5. Freely accessable. You’re welcome to use my work here provided you credit me, and the original source of the data. You can read my legal and copyright policies here

Now, before I post these nice RBC stats, two caveats.

First, I’m proving a point. In part, this is because I just finished listening to the CD’s from the January REIN all day workshop, which gives some nice perspective and set me up to go find some real answers.  The point is that despite “some steam seeping out of Alberta’s economic engine” we’re still growing. The official definition of a recession is two consecutive quarters of negative growth, and we’re not there. Infact, Alberta is the strongetst economy in Canada. (Yes, I know that Saskatchewan’s GDP growth is higher in one period, but there’s two or three reasons why that’s different than true strength)

Second, these were taken from the December 2008 Provnicial Outlook (PDF). Since then there’s been a reduction in planned spending on capital projects, and reduced retail spending. Several other banks have lowered their forecasts, and I expect RBC to do the same shortly. This data is just what it is: a summary and presentation of specific GDP data from RBC’s Dec 2008 report. Period. 

Now, it’s time for some tasty graphs.

Source: RBC Economics, December 2008 Provnicial Outlook (PDF). (Go to Forecasts, and hit Provincial Outlook at the bottom)

My Data: Google Spreadsheet of Real GDP Forecast (RBC Dec08)

Here’s a grouped bar chart with the forecasts province by province. (It’s a quirk of Google Spreadsheets that I can’t get the legend to just show the year). Notice Ontario in the middle, with the small negative in 2008 and the big negative in 2009…and Alberta just barely dipping below the 2% line.

So let’s clarify. I’m not really interested in the Maritimes, so let’s look at the West, plus ON & QC. Looks like The top half is Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and (in 2010) BC. At the bottom, dragging us down? The East. Please note, SK is still way high because it hasn’t suffered the same pausing of investment that Alberta’s projects has. Also, this is % change, and there’s just a wee bit of difference between the size of Alberta and Saskatchewan’s existing Gross Domestic Product. 

And finally, since most investment happens in Ontario or Alberta….the best (simplest) graph of all. Now looking at the graph, when would you think the best time to invest is? (The correct time is anywhere on the downward slope…buy low and sell high hold for a long time)

Thoughts? Leave a comment!

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