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BMO Blue Book: Mounting Growth Prospects and Increased Exports Lay Economic Groundwork for Nova Scotia

GDP growth of 1.6 per cent expected in 2014, 2.1 per cent in 2015; Canada GDP growth expected to be 2.3 per cent in 2014, 2.5 per cent in 2015

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA -- (Marketwired) -- 05/07/14 -- According to the BMO Blue Book released today by BMO Capital Markets Economics and BMO Commercial Banking, economic growth in Nova Scotia is expected to grow over the next couple of years.

Much like the U.S. Federal Reserve's Beige Book, the BMO Blue Book combines the expertise of BMO's economists with information on current business conditions provided to BMO's commercial bankers by local businesspeople.

"Real GDP is expected to grow 1.6 per cent this year - up from a 0.8 per cent pace in 2013 - and is expected to hit the 2 per cent mark in 2015," said Robert Kavcic, Senior Economist, BMO Capital Markets. "Growth prospects continue to bimprove as work on Irving Shipbuilding's contract to build ships for the Royal Canadian Navy will be underway in early 2015."

Carolyn Booth, Senior Vice President, Atlantic Provinces Division, BMO Bank of Montreal also noted that Nova Scotia's lobster industry has yielded an improved performance based on strong catches and overall rising prices. "Our customers have told us that the weakening Canadian dollar and efforts to market Nova Scotia lobsters more aggressively in both Europe and Asia should continue to benefit the industry."

Ms. Booth also noted that several BMO's commercial customers are continuing to expand partnerships with Nova Scotia community colleges in order to prepare the workforce for the anticipated economic boom to be generated by pending major projects.

The province is also expected to benefit from exports this year, with production coming from the Deep Panuke natural gas project is projected to add to growth, countering fading output at Sable. "Offshore exploration activity is also picking up, with BP and Shell set to spend roughly $2 billion in the coming years," Mr. Kavcic added.

"Nova Scotians stand to benefit from the offshore oil and gas industry as the sale of exploration rights for tracts of ocean bed to BP Exploration Canada and Shell Canada has energized people across the province," said Allison Hakomaki, Regional Vice President, Atlantic Provinces Division, BMO Bank of Montreal. "Furthermore, Irving Shipbuilding's successful bid for the $25 billion - $35 billion contract to build the vessels to modernize Canada's navy brought a wave of economic optimism to the province."

Ms. Hakomaki added that BMO is armed with a highly-skilled team of experts that can make lending decisions at the local level to help its commercial clients boost productivity, expand into new markets and make strategic investment decisions that will help propel growth and drive success.

The full BMO Blue Book can be downloaded at www.bmocm.com/economics.

About BMO Financial Group

Established in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, BMO Financial Group is a highly diversified financial services organization based in North America. The bank offers a broad range of retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and services to more than 12 million customers. BMO Financial Group had total assets of $593 billion and more than 45,500 employees at January 31, 2014.

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