Canada’s Economy Grows for Fifth Straight Month

Canada’s gross domestic product expanded for a fifth straight month in November as the nation’s oil and gas production rebounded, adding to evidence the nation’s economy is picking up steam.

Output rose 0.2 percent from October to an annualized C$1.61 trillion ($1.44 trillion), Statistics Canada said today in Ottawa. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg forecast a 0.2 percent expansion, based on the median of 18 estimates.

The data support the Bank of Canada’s view that momentum in the world’s 11th largest economy was building in the second half after a slowdown earlier in 2013. The central bank forecast this month that annualized growth would be 2.5 percent in the fourth quarter following a 2.7 percent third-quarter pace, up from an average of 1.4 percent over the previous seven quarters.

“With two out of three months now in hand for the fourth quarter, Canada’s economy looks to have built on the solid momentum seen in the third quarter,” said Leslie Preston, an economist with Toronto-Dominion Bank, in a note to clients.

The Canadian dollar rose 0.3 percent to C$1.1126 per U.S. dollar at 1:38 p.m. in Toronto. One Canadian dollar buys 89.89 U.S. cents. Government bonds rose, pushing the yield on benchmark 10-year debt 2 basis points lower to 2.35 percent.

Oil and gas production rose 2.6 percent in November after declining the previous month, while mining and quarrying increased 1.3 percent. Output of utilities rose 2.1 percent on higher demand for electricity and natural gas because of colder than usual weather, Statistics Canada said.

Manufacturing fell 0.5 percent, following two months of gains, the government agency said.

Lag Begins

From a year earlier, GDP grew 2.6 percent in November, Statistics Canada said, in line with analyst forecasts.

“November’s modest positive growth is an encouraging sign that Canada’s economy remains on the right track,” Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said in an e-mail. “With continued uncertainty in the global economy, it’s essential that we remain focused on creating jobs and growth here in Canada.”

After outperforming the U.S. from 2007 to 2011, Canada’s economy began to lag behind its largest trading partner in 2012.

That underperformance, which included a slowing job market in 2013, helped fuel a 10 percent decline in the Canadian dollar over the past year. Statistics Canada today revised jobs data reported earlier this month to show the economy lost 44,000 jobs in December, from an initially reported 45,900 loss.

The full-year job gains were revised down to 99,000 in 2013, from an initially reported 102,000. Full-time job gains in 2013 were revised down to 5,300 from 19,200. The jobless rate was unrevised at 7.2 percent.

Canada’s economy may struggle to keep accelerating this year, Preston said, because poor weather probably “crimped activity in many parts of the country.”

“That leaves the economy with very weak momentum heading into the first quarter of 2014, which could now see a more modest growth tally,” Preston said.

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