Q1 growth expected to beat predictions

OTTAWA — Canada’s economy appeared to have weathered the harsh winter relatively unscathed.

OTTAWA — Canada’s economy appeared to have weathered the harsh winter relatively unscathed.

Statistics Canada says the economy grew by a solid 0.2 per cent in February, following an even stronger 0.5 per cent expansion in January.

Barring future revisions or a disappointing March numbers, the data suggests that the economy bounced back relatively strongly from December’s deep freeze in economic activity that many attributed to crippling ice storms in Canada and the U.S.

The February advance hit consensus expectations and sets the economy on track to better the Bank of Canada’s prediction for a 1.5 per cent growth rate in the first quarter.

The agency said the February performance might have been better but for the two-week NHL break in action for the Sochi Olympics, which was likely responsible for a five per cent drop in the arts and entertainment component.

The outlook was additionally helped by an upward revision on December’s gross domestic product retreat from 0.5 per cent to 0.4 per cent, making for a better handoff to the new year.

“A sturdy report,” said Jimmy Jean, an analyst with Desjardins Capital Markets, especially when contrasted to the U.S.’s initial estimate of how the harsh winter froze activity south of the border. Growth was limited to 0.1 per cent annualized during the quarter, the U.S. reported Wednesday.

But while that may give Canada bragging rights about which North American country has the strongest economy, Jean noted that U.S. weakness does not bode well for the Canadian export sector, which the Bank of Canada is counting on for sustained growth.

Scotiabank economist Derek Holt also cautioned that March may turn “ugly” for Canada because of the month-long port strike in Vancouver.

February’s growth was mostly on the goods producing side, which grew by 0.5 per cent, with gains in mining and oil and gas extraction, and most encouragingly, manufacturing. The services sector edged up by 0.1 per cent.

Just Posted

Red Deer man says more cardiac care needed here

Ryan Gillies spent several extra days in hospital waiting to get a stent in Edmonton

Red Deer gets ready for CFR 45

A $20 to $25-million annual injection to the local economy

Former Red Deer teacher going to trial on child porn charges

Charges were laid in January 2017 after a woman came forward

Red Deer agency reports more than 1,000 lives saved with naloxone

Turning Point distributes 5,855 naloxone kits

Giddy up: Red Deer to host Canadian Finals Rodeo in 2018

The CFR is expected to bring $20-30 million annually to Red Deer and region

Red Deer city council debates cost-savings versus quality of life

Majority of councillors decide certain services are worth preserving

Got milk? Highway reopened near Millet

A southbound truck hauling milk and cartons collided with a bridge

Stettler’s newest residents overcame fear, bloodshed to come here

Daniel Kwizera, Diane Mukasine and kids now permanent residents

Giddy up: Red Deer to host Canadian Finals Rodeo in 2018

The CFR is expected to bring $20-30 million annually to Red Deer and region

Ice dancers Virtue and Moir to carry flag at Pyeongchang Olympics

Not since Kurt Browning at the 1994 Lillehammer Games has a figure… Continue reading

Beer Canada calls on feds to axe increasing beer tax as consumption trends down

OTTAWA — A trade association for Canada’s beer industry wants the federal… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month