UPDATE 1-Saskatchewan budgets small 2013/14 surplus

Wed Mar 20, 2013 4:15pm EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

* Higher potash, oil revenues forecast

* Government debt of C$3.8 billion seen unchanged

March 20 (Reuters) - The Western Canadian province of Saskatchewan, which depends heavily on resource revenues and a farm economy, will continue its two-decade string of balanced books in 2013-14, the government said on Wednesday.

Saskatchewan, the only Canadian province to balance its books throughout the financial crisis, forecast a C$64.8 million ($66.7 million) surplus in its C$11.5-billion 2013-14 budget. It said it expects the 2012-13 year, which ends March 31, to finish C$8.8 million in the black.

The right-of-center Saskatchewan Party government of Premier Brad Wall presides over an economy that is booming as development ramps up in the Bakken oil and gas play and as fertilizer companies Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc , Mosaic Co and Agrium Inc complete multi-billion-dollar expansions of potash mines.

Saskatchewan had the lowest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate among Canadian provinces in February, at 3.8 percent, and its population hit an all-time high of nearly 1.1 million people in 2012.

Prices of crude oil and the crop nutrient potash softened last year. But Saskatchewan is counting on a rebound in oil prices and higher potash sales to help it register a narrow surplus in the fiscal year ahead, which starts on April 1.

The budget "balances the need to control spending with the need to make important investments in key areas," said Finance Minister Ken Krawetz.   Continued...