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Economy in Brief

Canada GDP Slowed in January
by Carol Stone March 31, 2004

The Canadian economy paused in January after four successive gains in monthly GDP. The decrease was a modest -0.1%, including a similar slip in industrial production and a minuscule easing in service-producing industries. Manufacturing and mining were both off markedly, although it is not really possible to tell if their contractions were simply reactions to December increases, or whether they might have been related to the very cold weather in January or to some fundamental slowing in demand. The role of the cold weather is evident, however, in a counter move in utilities, where output was up 4.1% as people and business needed more heat.

Other industries showed increases as well. Retail trade was up 1.0%, and information and communications were up 1.1%. Among service industries, these were offset by sharp falls in wholesale trade, 3.4%, and transportation and warehousing, 0.8%. Weather was possibly responsible for the reduced volume of transportation, although, as with other sectors, it had been strong at the end of 2003, so this might be no more than a pause after a long climb. If either of these conditions is the primary source of the January slowdown both in this specific sector and in total GDP, an early spring bounce might be in the offing.

% Chg except where noted Jan 2004: Bil.Chn. 1997C$ Jan 2004 Dec 2003 Jan 04/ Jan 03 2003 2002 2001
Total GDP 1,025.4 -0.1 0.5 1.6 1.9 3.4 1.9
Industrial Production 243.3 -0.1 0.5 0.5 0.1 2.4 -2.3
Manufacturing 177.6 -0.7 1.2 -0.7 -0.4 2.9 -3.6
Mining; Oil & Gas 37.3 -1.4 1.5 3.9 3.1 0.8 1.9
Utilities 27.1 4.1 0.2 0.5 -2.3 2.2 -2.3
Service Producing 703.4 -0.0 0.3 1.7 2.2 4.2 3.5
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