Canadian economy grew at 2.3% pace in January – Business

The Canadian economy continued its momentum in January, growing at an seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 2.3 per cent, Statistics Canada reported.

For the month, gross domestic product grew by 0.6 per cent, double the market consensus prediction of 0.3 per cent, the same as in December.

However, some economists are revising their estimates upwards after an apparent recovery in the fourth quarter of 2016, which led to an annual growth rate of 2.6 per cent.

The manufacturing sector had the strongest growth in January, expanding by 1.9 per cent, led by growth in fabricated metal, non-metallic mineral and wood product manufacturing.

But there was widespread growth across both goods and services production, Statistics Canada reported, with wholesale trade, the retail sector, construction, mining and oil and gas all on the upswing.

With the exception of October, gross domestic product has risen every month since June 2016.

Upgrading outlook for economy

BMO economist Doug Porter said he was revising his estimates for Canadian GDP growth in the first quarter to 3.5 per cent, up from 2.7 per cent and predicted annual growth of 2017 could come in at 2.5 per cent.

“Given the rip-roaring start to the quarter and the nice hand-off from late last year, even tiny gains in the next two months will yield quarterly growth of well over three per cent,” he wrote in a note to clients.

He noted that overall industrial production is up 3.4 per cent in the last year, the best gain since the oil price downturn. Oil and gas production alone was up two per cent in the past year, despite the wild swings in oil prices.

Porter predicts the Bank of Canada will hold the line on rates until 2018, but points out there will be pressure on the central bank to give a rosier outlook for the economy.

TD Bank raised its forecast Friday for the first quarter to an annual pace of 3.4 per cent and IHS Markit was estimating expansion of around three per cent.

Bank of…

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