Canada’s economy grew by 0.2 per cent in April, down from March’s level as the service sector expanded while goods-producing industries were flat.
Statistics Canada reported Friday that oil and gas extraction shrank by 0.8 per cent during the month, but much of that was tied to a fire and subsequent shutdown of the Syncrude oilsands facility.
The fire in March knocked off 350,000 barrels per day worth of production all the way into May.
The 0.2 per cent expansion overall was in line with what economists were expecting.
“Note that the economy managed to churn out this still-decent growth even amid a three-month retreat in oil production,” Bank of Montreal economist Doug Porter said.
Manufacturing also declined, by 0.9 per cent, but just about every other major industry expanded.
The arts and entertainment sector boomed, expanding by seven per cent in the month, largely because of the impact of professional hockey: “With Canada Day tomorrow,” TD Bank economist Brian DePratto said, “it is perhaps worth noting that at least part of the gain can be attributed to five Canadian teams making the NHL playoffs this year, a welcome departure from the 2016 performance.”
April’s figure means that Canada’s economy has expanded by 3.3 per cent in the past year, “far and away the fastest growth rate among the major industrialized economies over that stretch,” Porter noted.
April’s GDP numbers come amid increased speculation that the Bank of Canada could raise its key interest rate target as soon as July.
“There’s nothing here to dissuade the Bank of Canada from looking to start removing some of the stimulus, likely starting just next month,” Porter said