Canadian economy chugs to modest GDP gain in February
Sochi Olympics takes bite out of Canadian economy on 2-week NHL shutdown even as most sectors expand
Canada's economy expanded by 0.2 per cent in February, in line with what economists were expecting.
Statistics Canada said Wednesday that goods-producing businesses boosted output by 0.5 per cent, while the service sector expanded by 0.1 per cent.
The manufacturing, and oil and gas sectors both saw growth.
The arts and entertainment sector shrank by five per cent because of the Sochi Olympics, the data agency said, as the NHL shut down for two weeks in February, so all economic activity surrounding the Games dried up temporarily.
The agriculture and forestry sectors also declined.
The 0.2 per cent monthly figure translates to an annual expansion of 2.5 per cent. That's a slight downshift from the pace of growth before the excessively cold winter, but the second straight monthly gain suggests the impact of that cold weather might be over — for the economy, anyway.
"It is also slightly stronger than the 1.5 per cent expectation in the Bank of Canada's latest Monetary Policy Report," TD Bank economist Leslie Preston said in a note following the release of the data.
"Moreover, oil and gas prices are up strongly on a year-on-year basis, auguring well for activity in this key sector of the economy," Preston added.
Barring a major disappointment in March — something Scotiabank economist Derek Holt warns is possible because of the impact of the Vancouver port strike — the decent showing in February should lead to modest growth for the first quarter as a whole, getting Canada's economy off to a good start for the year.