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By Greg Quinn and Anahita Alinejad
OTTAWA (MNI) - Canada's economy defied all expectations in
November as output grew for the first time in three months, which may
ease the central bank's concern about a prolonged slowdown.
Gross domestic product grew 0.1% on the month following a similar
contraction in October, Statistics Canada reported Friday from Ottawa.
The MNI Median was for no change in November, with a minority of
estimates calling for a contraction.
Output climbed even as transportation, wholesalers and automobiles
were hit by strikes at CN Rail and UAW, and oil shipments curtailed by
the ruptured Keystone pipeline.
The report follows BOC Governor's comments last week that
the door is open to the first rate cut since 2015 on signs that
global trade weakness is draining domestic spending. Today's report
likely still leaves the economy on track for growth of less than 1% at
an annualized pace.
Energy output rose 0.5% in November, and cold weather boosted
utilities by 2.1%, Statistics Canada said. Construction also climbed by
0.5%, the best gain since July, on gains in residential and commercial
"Increases in 15 of 20 industrial sectors more than offset notable
declines in the mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction and
transportation and warehousing sectors, influenced partly by disruptions
in rail transportation service and crude oil pipeline transportation,"
StatsCan's report said.
The CN Rail strike cut rail transportation by 3.8%, while
transportation fell for the fifth time in six months with a 0.9%
decline. Potash mining dropped 18% as weak global demand led to
While the one-offs suggest growth may stabilize following November,
most economists and the BOC say growth will be weak again in the first
quarter. The economy grew 1.5% in November from a year earlier, a pace
that may not be fast enough to keep the output gap from widening further
and putting pressure on the BOC's inflation target.
One bad piece of news was StatsCan revised down September to show
GDP stalled, rather than its earlier estimate of a 0.1% increase.
--MNI Ottawa Bureau; +1-613-314-9647; firstname.lastname@example.org