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Economy beats expectations, grows 0.7 per cent in January


OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says the economy grew 0.7 per cent in January.

The increase in real gross domestic product compared with a gain of 0.1 per cent in December. The growth also topped the agency’s preliminary estimate for the month of 0.5 per cent.

It was the ninth consecutive monthly increase since the plunge in the economy last year at the start of the pandemic in March and April.

However, Statistics Canada noted that total economic activity was still about three per cent below the February level last year, before the pandemic began.

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The agency’s preliminary estimate for February this year showed growth of 0.5 per cent for the month.

TD Bank senior economist Sri Thanabalasingam said January was a solid month for the Canadian economy.

“Despite tighter public health restrictions in Ontario and Quebec, the recovery strengthened, reflecting the growing resilience of the economy to the pandemic,” Thanabalasingam said.

“With Statistics Canada projecting continued growth in February, the first quarter of 2021 is shaping out to be a very good one for Canada.”

However Thanabalasingam said COVID-19 variants are pushing up caseloads across the country and provinces are, once again, under pressure to tighten restrictions.

The growth in January came as goods-producing industries rose 1.5 per cent, while services-producing industries added 0.4 per cent.

Statistics Canada said the wholesale trade sector rose 3.9 per cent in January, more than offsetting a 1.5 per cent contraction in December.

The manufacturing sector grew 1.9 per cent in January to offset a decline of 0.7 per cent in December, while the mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction sector grew 2.7 per cent, its fifth consecutive month of growth.

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