December 1, 2010 / 3:56 PM / 7 years ago

Canada farm flood loss estimate cut to $1.5 billion

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - Losses by farmers in Western Canada due to heavy rains were not as severe as earlier forecast, a Canadian bank economist said on Wednesday.

Douglas Porter, deputy chief economist at BMO Capital Markets, reduced the bank’s estimate of flood-related costs by half to C$1.5 billion ($1.47 billion).

The revision reflects stronger world grain prices after production problems in the Black Sea region and reduced forecasts for global production and stocks.

“While our estimate is lower, the losses remain a heavy weight on Prairie economies,” Porter said.

“We believe that the decline in crop production alone carved more than 3 percentage points from real GDP growth in the province (Saskatchewan) for the year.”

Heavy rains in the Prairies left millions of acres unplanted and limited crops’ quality and production potential.

While weather was mostly unfavorable for growing crops in western provinces, farmers benefited from warm, dry October weather, which the trade thinks boosted production of canola, Canada’s No. 2 crop after wheat.

($1=$1.02 Canadian)

Reporting by Rod Nickel; editing by Rob Wilson

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