Canadian Economy Stalls in Q1

By Andrew Rickard | June 02 2015 12:59PM

Canada's real gross domestic product (GDP) decreased by 0.1% in the first quarter of 2015. This is the first decline in GDP since the second quarter of 2011.

Economic data published by Statistics Canada shows that business gross capital formation was down by 2.5% during the first three months of 2015. This decline was driven by a 4.1% drop in non-residential structures and machinery and equipment, the largest drop since 2009. This decrease was only partially offset by a 1% increase in business investment in residential structures, led by gains in new housing construction (3.5%) and renovations (0.3%). Housing resale activity was also down for the second quarter in a row, with owner transfer costs dropping by 3.2%.

Household final consumption expenditures were up by 0.1% in the quarter, which is the smallest gain on record since the second quarter of 2012. While spending on durable goods dropped by 1.4%, this was offset by increased outlays on semi-durable (up 0.3%) and non-durable goods (up 0.7%).

"The mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction sector posted a notable decrease in the first quarter, as a result of a 30% decline in support activities for mining and oil and gas extraction. Construction, wholesale trade and manufacturing posted notable declines as well. There were also decreases in accommodation and food services, transportation and warehousing services and in the output of real estate agents and brokers," says Statistics Canada. "On the other hand, the finance and insurance sector, utilities as well as the agriculture and forestry sector increased in the first quarter. The public sector and professional services also advanced."