The Canadian economy grew by 0.3 per cent in August, the third consecutive monthly gain.

Statistics Canada said Monday that much of the gains came from the strong energy sector, where output advanced by 2.8 per cent. Excluding that, real GDP was unchanged.

The finance and insurance sector rose by 1.4 per cent. A higher volume of trading on the stock exchanges, partly a result of financial markets reacting to concerns over the debt situation in some countries, led the increase.

Overall, economists had been expecting slightly weaker growth of 0.2 per cent.

The comparatively strong showing suggests the threats to the economy that emerged over the summer (namely the U.S. debt ceiling crisis, and the sovereign debt problem in Europe) weren't enough to derail Canada's economy.

Assuming September shows no gain, Scotiabank's economics team noted in a report Monday that the economy seems on track to post a 2.7 per cent annualized gain in the third quarter as a whole. That's ahead of the 2.0 per cent the Bank of Canada is expecting.

Canada's economy would have to shrink by 0.5 per cent in September to match the Bank of Canada forecast.