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TD slashes provincial GDP forecasts

A weakening global economy and stingy consumers are taking their toll on the Canadian economy, leading economists at TD to lower their provincial GDP targets for 2012.

The economists now predict that all provinces will see growth of less than three percent, with eight provinces expected to post GDP growth below 2 percent.

Only Manitoba and Prince Edward Island were spared a forecast cut.

"The toning down of this year’s showing reflects still-high risk levels in Europe, the slower-than-expected U.S. economic recovery and the softening of growth in China and emerging markets. On the domestic front, households across the country have been exhibiting more caution than expected," the economists said in their report.

And while Ottawa’s tighter mortgage regulations will have an impact on all provinces, "Toronto and Montréal are poised to see larger than average declines, while Vancouver’s correction this year still has room to run.”

TD expects housing markets in the three Prairie provinces will remain "largely unscathed."

Alberta saw the biggest forecast cut, with economic growth expected to come in at 2.8 percent.

"At 2.8 percent, our real GDP growth forecast for Alberta in 2012 has been revised down by 0.6 percent, but half of the difference reflects our national revision, which takes into account deterioration in the global economic situation," the economists write.

Ontario's economy is forecast to grow 1.9 percent, down from the previous call for 2.1-percent growth.

Meanwhile, Quebec's economy is expected to expand 1.5 percent-- below TD's prediction of 1.8-percent growth for the national economy and lower than its earlier call for 1.8 percent growth.

But TD says the prospects for provincial economies are expected to brighten in 2013 and 2014.

"Looking ahead at 2013 and 2014, changes to our forecast range from mixed to positive. With the gradual softening of housing underway from coast to coast and governments (both federal and provincial) reining in spending, economic growth will likely remain modest," they write. "However, a pick up in U.S. demand for Canadian exports should benefit most provinces. For several regions, we expect 2014 to be the best year since the post-recession rebound in 2010." CTV Two CTV News CTV News Channel BNN - Business News Network CP24