Real GDP decreased by 0.1% in November, Statistics Canada reported Thursday, partly offsetting October’s increase of 0.3%. The decrease was in line with consensus expectations.
While there were gains in 13 of the 20 sectors tracked, those increases were more than offset by decreases in finance and insurance, wholesale trade, manufacturing and construction.
With Canada’s economy losing momentum toward the end of last year, fourth quarter growth for 2018 is tracking at about 1% annualized, said Krishen Rangasamy, senior economist at National Bank, in a report. The first quarter of 2019 likely won’t be better, he added, considering oil production cuts and negative spillover from the U.S. government shutdown.
That means Canada’s central bank won’t be raising its key rate any time soon. Canada’s output gap will remain wide, keeping inflation manageable, Rangasamy said. “As such, the Bank of Canada is likely to delay monetary policy normalization.”
CIBC made similar comments: “The current soft patch will keep the Bank of Canada firmly on the sidelines for the first half of 2019,” CIBC director and senior economist Royce Mendes said in a report.
Despite being in line with consensus, today’s data resulted in a selloff of the Canadian dollar, as well as lower yields on government bonds. That market impact was likely the result of relatively broad-based sector weakness, Mendes said.
The finance and insurance sector declined 0.7% in the month, offsetting much of its 1.1% increase in October. In November, bond and equity market activity declined, contributing to decreases in financial investment services, funds and other financial vehicles and depository credit intermediation services, StatsCan said.
Insurance carriers and related activities were essentially unchanged.
Wholesale trade dropped 1.1% in November as machinery, equipment and supplies wholesaling contracted 2.1%.
Manufacturing decreased 0.5% for the month, the third decline in four months, and construction dropped 0.3% to its lowest level since mid-2017.
Retail trade dropped 0.3%, driven by lower activity at motor vehicle and parts dealers.