Big banks shave 2016 growth outlooks for Canada in wake of Alberta wildfire

, International

Homes in Fort McMurray were devastated by a massive wildfire that forced the entire evacuation of the town.

OTTAWA — The effects of the enormous Alberta wildfire on the ever-crucial oil sector have prompted forecasters to trim their 2016 economic growth predictions for the entire country.

Canada may have dodged economists’ worst-case fears from Alberta fires


A huge shock to Fort McMurray, a sizeable shock to Alberta, but just a modest hit to Canada’s economy, if — and only if — the oilsands can get back to business soon. Read on

Experts, including those from several big banks, have shaved their outlooks in recent days following the huge blaze that tore through Fort McMurray — the heart of oil country.

The emergency forced nearby oilsands facilities to shut down last week, but some have begun to restart their operations. More are expected to get back to work over the coming days.

But even temporary closures in the economically important industry are expected to have an impact on the nationwide real gross domestic product.

In many cases, the updated real GDP projections also reflect disappointing economic data releases in recent weeks for trade and the labour force.

Since the fire, TD knocked its 2016 real GDP projection down to 1.6 per cent from 1.9 per cent — 0.2 percentage points of which it attributed to the wildfire.

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