Canadian economy grew 0.3 per cent in November

OTTAWA -- Canadian economic growth crept upwards in November by 0.3 per cent -- the first sign of life in the monthly data since August when there was a razor-thin increase of 0.1 per cent.

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Statistics Canada's latest reading for real gross domestic product followed zero growth in October and a contraction of 0.5 per cent in September.

The federal agency said Friday that November's GDP growth was mostly due to increased activity in retail and wholesale trade, energy extraction and manufacturing.

Wholesale trade bounced back to expand 1.3 per cent in November after shrinking for four-straight months, the report said.

Growth in retail trade increased 1.2 per cent following an October contraction of 0.2 per cent, while manufacturing saw an increase of 0.4 per cent after falling for two consecutive months, Statistics Canada said.

Overall natural resources extraction rose 0.6 per cent in November, the report said. Oil and gas extraction increased 2.1 per cent to help offset the weight of the mining and quarrying component, which declined 2.3 per cent.

Downward pressure on GDP -- a broad measure of the economy -- also came from the finance and insurance sector, which contracted 0.3 per cent for its fourth-straight monthly decline.

The GDP reading was released as Canada limps through the net negative effects of a commodity price shock that began in late 2014 and continues in early 2016.

The figure tees up a potentially weak GDP number for the fourth quarter amid downgraded expectations for the final three months of 2015.

The Bank of Canada recently lowered its GDP forecast for the fourth quarter to 0.3 per cent, down from 0.7 per cent. Earlier this month, the central bank also decreased its GDP prediction for the first quarter of 2016 to 0.8 per cent and for the second quarter to 1.4 per cent.

Canada's economy fell into the technical definition of a recession in the first half of 2015 when GDP fell for two straight quarters. It decreased at an annual pace of 0.7 per cent over the first three months of 2015 and again by 0.3 per cent in the second quarter.

In the third quarter, however, GDP rebounded by generating 2.3 per cent growth.


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