Canada: There are signs that the economy is grinding to a halt

Canada’s economy practically came to a halt in the final three months of 2018, in a much deeper-than-expected slowdown that brings the underlying strength of the expansion into doubt.

The country’s economy grew by just 0.1 per cent in the fourth quarter, for an annualized pace of 0.4 per cent,
Statistics Canada said Friday from Ottawa. That’s the worst quarterly performance in two and a half years, down from annualized 2 per cent in the third quarter and well below economist expectations for a 1 per cent annualized increase.

While a slowdown was widely expected in the final months of the year due to falling oil prices, it’s a much bleaker picture than anyone anticipated with weakness extending well beyond the energy sector. Consumption spending grew at the slowest pace in almost four years, housing fell by the most in a decade, business investment dropped sharply for a second straight quarter, and domestic demand posted its largest decline since 2015.

Canadian Press

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