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Canadian leading index, GDP edge up

January 31 2014

The composite leading index, a new economic indicator published for the first time today by The Conference Board of Canada, projects that the Canadian economy will grow in the first half of 2014, but only modestly. Separately, Statistics Canada reported today that Canadian real gross domestic product rose 0.2 percent in November.

The Conference Board’s composite leading index for Canada increased 0.3 percent in December, matching the gains made in both October and November. While this trend signifies that the economy is growing, the index also projects that Canadian growth will not pick up the pace until later in the year.

“The modest gains in the index in recent months, combined with the uneven performance of individual components, suggest that the economy has not yet begun to feel the benefits of strengthening U.S. demand,” said Philip Cross, author of the index for the Conference Board. “Unusually severe weather in December may have weighed down some parts of the economy. In particular, the indicator for the housing industry suffered in December, some of which can be attributed to the weather in many parts of the country.”

Statistics Canada’s separate report on Canadian GDP found the 0.2 percent increase in real GDP was led by a 1.7 percent increase in mining and oil and gas extraction, and a 2.1 percent increase in utilities. Manufacturing output fell 0.5 percent in November, following two consecutive monthly increases. Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting slipped 0.7 percent, while construction edged down 0.1 percent.

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