UPDATE 1-Canada private sector economists cut growth forecasts: Flaherty

Fri Mar 8, 2013 12:11pm EST
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* U.S, Europe market conditions prompt lower forecasts

* Ottawa doesn't reveal updated predictions

* Canada says still on track to balance budget in 2015/16

By Louise Egan

OTTAWA, March 8 (Reuters) - Private sector economists have cut their growth forecasts for the Canadian economy in 2013 due to volatile market conditions in the United States and Europe, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said on Friday.

Flaherty, speaking to reporters after meeting the economists, did not give precise figures. Ottawa's budget, expected later this month, is based on projections from around a dozen private sector economists.

Last October, the economists forecast real gross domestic product growth of 2.0 percent and nominal GDP growth of 4.0 percent in 2013.

Economists surveyed in a Reuters January poll forecast real GDP growth of just 1.8 percent in 2013.

"The consensus coming out of the meeting is that Canada will continue to see modest gross domestic product growth in 2013. Yet, the private sector forecasts have been revised downward due to external pressures outside of the government's control," the government said in a statement.   Continued...