Higher energy prices expected to boost Alberta’s second quarter fiscal outlook

Finance Minister Travis Toews says Albertans will see signs of a brighter economic outlook in Tuesday’s second quarter fiscal update. 

The report, which the government releases by law every three months, will cover July, August and September. 

The last update was released on August 30. The government forecasted Alberta would end the fiscal year on March 31, 2022 with a deficit of $7.8 billion — $10.5 billion lower than anticipated in the February budget — thanks to surging oil and gas prices. 

The price of a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude, the baseline used by the Alberta government for budget and forecasting purposes was estimated to be $46 US through the 2021-22 fiscal year. ‘

World prices ranged around the $70 US mark throughout the quarter, which should make a significant impact on Alberta’s energy-dependent economy. 

Toews on Monday acknowledged higher prices help the bottom line but are not the only reason for Alberta’s improved outlook. He said Tuesday’s update will show evidence of a broader economic recovery.

“We’re seeing improved investment attraction across many key sectors in the province,” he said. 

NDP Opposition Leader Rachel Notley said while the fiscal outlook may be improving, Albertans are feeling the pressure from higher costs of insurance, utilities, school fees, and post-secondary tuition. 

She blamed those increases on the policies of the United Conservative government. 

“These guys can throw themselves a party over the fact that the international price of oil went up when they didn’t expect it,” she said. ” But the reality is — what are Albertans feeling in terms of their pocketbooks?”

The second quarter fiscal update will be released to the public at 10:30 a.m.Tuesday. CBC will be live-streaming the news conference with Finance Minister Travis Toews, which is scheduled to start at that time.

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