British Columbia ups surplus, but warns on dollar

Fri Nov 30, 2007 2:21pm EST
 
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - The government of British Columbia hiked its budget surplus projection on Friday, but said the strong Canadian dollar and economic woes in the United States remain a risk to its finances.

British Columbia Finance Minister Carole Taylor also used the province's second-quarter financial update to confirm that she will not seek re-election in 2009. It is speculated Taylor will seek election as Vancouver's mayor.

The budget surplus for the 2007-08 fiscal year is projected to be C$2.1 billion, up C$525 million from what was projected in the first quarter, provincial finance officials said.

Exports shipments have declined through 2007 along with lumber and natural gas prices, but that was offset by growth in the domestic economy of the Pacific Coast province and correspondingly higher tax revenues.

British Columbia supplies about half of the Canadian lumber shipped to the United States annually for housing construction.

(Reporting by Allan Dowd; Editing by Peter Galloway)