FINANCE

Canada’s economy beats forecasts, easing pressure on Bank of Canada

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Canada’s actual gross home product grew 0.2 per cent in November and early estimates recommend December progress was even stronger, an indication of financial resilience that some economists say may take the stress off the Financial institution of Canada to chop rates of interest.

The November end result — which marked the primary month-to-month GDP improve since Could — topped the consensus forecast and in addition got here in above an advance studying of a 0.1 per cent acquire.

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“The Canadian financial system returned to progress in direction of the top of 2023, and considerably extra emphatically than anticipated,” CIBC economist Andrew Grantham wrote in a be aware after the Statistics Canada information was launched on Jan. 31.

The nationwide statistics company mentioned many of the progress got here from goods-producing industries, together with manufacturing and wholesale commerce, which noticed their greatest beneficial properties since January 2023.

Financial institution of Montreal chief economist Douglas Porter mentioned since these sectors are closely influenced by exports, “evidently the shocking resiliency within the U.S. financial system is certainly spilling over into some sectors in Canada.”

Good points in each non-durable and sturdy items manufacturing helped the sector chalk up the largest contribution to the month-to-month GDP acquire, famous TD economist Marc Ercolao.

Wholesale commerce rebounded by 0.7 per cent after two months of declines.

A preliminary estimate of 0.3 per cent progress in December means GDP might have elevated 0.3 per cent within the fourth quarter after posting a decline within the third quarter. That may convey financial progress in 2023 to 1.5 per cent, the statistics company mentioned.

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December’s superior studying was pushed by will increase in manufacturing, actual property and oil and fuel.

“Canada had a far firmer progress backdrop to finish 2023 than anticipated, and this factors to an upward revision to 2024 estimates,” BMO’s Porter wrote.

If December’s estimate is near correct, there’s far more momentum heading into 2024 than was anticipated, he mentioned. That might additionally imply much less stress on the Financial institution of Canada to start out reducing rates of interest any time quickly.

“This stable end result, after a protracted dry spell for progress, affords policymakers the flexibility to softly push again on easing chatter, as they await underlying inflation to return down additional,” Porter mentioned.

Royal Financial institution of Canada economist Claire Fan, nonetheless, cautioned that the re-acceleration of progress needs to be taken with a grain of salt, noting that early GDP estimates have been extremely revision-prone and different information have been softer.

She added that quite a lot of the energy in November was attributable to one-off elements which might be unlikely to be repeated within the following months. These embody recoveries from earlier manufacturing facility shutdowns, like these within the chemical and metallic sub-sectors, and strike actions, reminiscent of the employees strike on the St. Lawrence seaway.

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At face worth, the advance December estimate exhibits progress within the fourth quarter of 2023 is monitoring an annualized improve of 1.2 per cent, which is above RBC analysts’ monitoring for a small decline, Fan mentioned.

“Total we proceed to count on pressures from elevated rates of interest to curb shopper demand, stalling progress in each output and inflation over the primary half of 2024 earlier than the Financial institution of Canada is anticipated to chop charges in June,” Fan wrote.

Ercolao of TD Economics mentioned markets are nonetheless targeted on the timing of price cuts, however a heating up of the Canadian financial system might push expectations for a primary lower additional down the road.

Whereas the Financial institution of Canada stays in a holding sample because it awaits affirmation that inflation will decisively settle at their two per cent inflation goal, he wrote, “robust information prints like November’s GDP launch might be conserving the Financial institution on their toes.”

• Electronic mail: dpaglinawan@postmedia.com

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