Canada's gross domestic product expanded last quarter at its fastest pace in a year and a half, annualized at 2.5 per cent.

Statistics Canada reported Friday that more oil exports to the U.S. jumpstarted the economy.

By sector, mining and oil and gas extraction showed the largest gain at 4.1 per cent.

Other sectors that expanded, although by not as much, include:

  • The public sector.
  • Finance and insurance.
  • Arts and entertainment.
  • Construction.
  • Retail trade.
  • Manufacturing. 

In the three months between January and March, Canada's GDP expanded by 0.6 per cent in real terms, the largest quarterly gain since late 2011.

Economists had been expecting the economy to get off to a strong start in 2013, with a consensus polled predicting growth of 2.3 per cent. But the 2.5 per cent figure was even better than that.

For comparison purposes, the most recent data show the U.S. economy is expanding at a 2.4 per cent annual pace.

Despite the strong showing, at least one economist thinks the Canadian economy is unlikely to be able to keep up the same pace. "The pick-up in GDP growth to 2.5 per cent annualised in the first quarter is unlikely to be sustained because it was partly due to a one-off rebound in energy export," Capital Economics said a release.