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OTTAWA, Ont. — Despite effects that are being felt across the trucking industry, forecasters say Canada and all the provinces will avoid recession this year.

Economists advising Finance Minister Paul Martin on his spring economic update continue to cut their forecasts for growth this year, to as little as 2.1 per cent, less than half the pace of last year’s 4.7 per cent expansion.

But they remain adamant that a recession — two consecutive quarters during which the economy actually shrinks — is not in the cards for either the country or any province.

“Every provincial economy will experience reduced growth in 2001, thanks to slackening export demand from the United States, but none will experience an outright recession,” the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce reports.

In its provincial outlook, also released yesterday, the Conference Board of Canada agreed.

Both also see energy-rich Alberta leading the pack and expanding with growth of 4.5 per cent or more, followed by newly energy-rich Newfoundland.

While the board forecasts that New Brunswick will have the weakest growth, at a near recessionary 1.1 per cent, the CIBC is more upbeat, predicting last place will be shared by Manitoba, Saskatchewan and the three Maritime provinces but that each will post a respectable 2.5 per cent expansion.

And the deepest tax cuts will be in Ontario, which it noted is fortunate, because Ontario’s export-oriented economy will also be hardest hit by the U.S. slowdown, reducing the province’s expansion to 2.6 per cent from 4.9 per cent last year.

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