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TD says Sask. may take hit from potash turmoil

Briefing note from TD Economics says province will likely take a hit from turmoil in the potash industry.
Briefing note from TD Economics says province will likely take a hit from turmoil in the potash industry. File / Global News

REGINA – There’s another voice saying Saskatchewan’s economic growth is likely to take a hit from the turmoil in the potash industry.

The stocks of potash-producing companies plummeted earlier this week when Russian company OAO Uralkali threatened to pull out of a marketing consortium and undercut prices on the world market.

In a briefing note, TD Economics says the development is likely to mean a cut in Saskatchewan’s economic growth forecast.

But TD Economics also says it will be a few weeks before the size of that reduction is clear.

Earlier this week, an economist with RBC said if Saskatchewan sees a double-digit decline in potash production, the bank could shave as much as 1.5 percentage points off its current 2.9 per cent GDP forecast for the province.

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Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall has urged calm because it’s too soon to tell what impact there may be on the province.

Saskatchewan is the world’s second-largest potash producer.

TD Economics had projected that Saskatchewan would see economic growth of 2.6 per cent in 2013 and three per cent in 2014

“In light of this week’s announcement, a downward revision to this forecast appears to be warranted,” reads the note released Thursday.

“However, given uncertainties surrounding these developments – and notably the risk that Uralkali’s decision may merely represent posturing – we are inclined to take a wait and see approach over the next few weeks in order to better gauge what magnitude of adjustment is most appropriate.”