Canadian gross domestic product flat in February after hot start to 2017

Economy cools in February after hot start to 2017

OTTAWA — Canadian economic growth took a pause in February after the break-neck pace seen at the start the year.

Statistics Canada said Friday gross domestic product was unchanged in February, matching the expectations of economists, according to Thomson Reuters.

February followed three months of gains including stronger-than-expected growth in January.

“After the exciting growth figures of recent months, it was perhaps inevitable that the Canadian economy would take a slight breather,” TD Bank senior economist Brian DePratto wrote in a report.

Despite the result, DePratto noted that momentum heading into the year remains consistent with a solid economic expansion.

Statistics Canada said gains in service-producing industries were offset by declines in goods-producing industries for February.

Service-producing industries were up 0.2 per cent for the month as the finance and insurance sector gained 0.7 per cent. The real estate and rental and leasing sector added 0.5 per cent.

Meanwhile, goods-producing industries fell 0.3 per cent, the first move lower since October.

The manufacturing sector fell 0.6 per cent in February after growing in seven of the previous eight months, while the mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction group fell 0.2 per cent.

CIBC economist Nick Exarhos said the biggest headwind in February was manufacturing, but noted weakness on the goods producing side was widespread, with only construction posting an increase.

“Despite what’s been an anemic pace to business investment, and still muted plans for 2017 on that front, housing starts have had a remarkable recent run,” Exarhos wrote in a report

“Residential investment is now poised to be a modest lift to GDP this year, from a drag we had forecast earlier on. That swing explains much of the upgrade to our overall 2017 GDP outlook.”

The Canadian Press