Canada's GDP expands at 2.1% pace in April

Canada's economy expanded in April, but not by as much as economists had been expecting.
The economic output of Canada's large oil and gas sector declined in April, official data shows. (Norm Betts/Bloomberg News)

Canada's economy expanded in April, but not by as much as economists had been expecting.

Statistics Canada reported Monday that Canada's service sector expanded during the month, but the output of goods-producing industries actually declined.

"There were notable declines in mining and oil and gas extraction, construction and utilities, while manufacturing was up," the data agency said. Manufacturing was actually the only part of the goods-producing sector that expanded during the month.

Economists polled by Bloomberg had been expecting the overall GDP figure to come in at around a 2.3 per cent annual pace of growth.

For comparison purposes, data out of the U.S. showed the American economy contracted by 2.9 per cent in the first three months of the year primarily for weather-related reasons, but economists don't expect that weak showing to continue.

A bitterly cold winter had been blamed for a slow start to the year on both sides of the border but economists have been hoping that strength in the U.S. economy would help things pick up in the second quarter.

There were large declines in a number of sectors, including construction, agriculture, mining and oil and gas, that dragged the overall growth lower. But some say that trend won't continue. 

"The natural resources sector is fairly lumpy and the weak output numbers for April will likely be reversed in the months to come," Scotiabank said in a note following the release of the data.

"The Canadian economy is trudging along at a pace of right around two per cent, simply not strong enough to cut into the unemployment rate or to get any pulses racing," BMO Capital Markets chief economist Douglas Porter said.

"What's required now is for the U.S. economy to find a higher gear, because the domestic sources of growth in Canada are looking pretty tired," Porter said.


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