Economic downturn begins in Canada

December 25th, 2008 - 2:35 pm ICT by IANS  

Toronto, Dec 25 (IANS) The Canadian economy shrank by 0.1 percent in October, confirming that the world’s eighth largest economy is already in recession.Earlier estimates had put the decline at 0.3 percent, as the US and global slowdown hammer Canadian auto and manufacturing sectors.

In a statement, Statistics Canada said Wednesday that real gross domestic product in industry declined by 0.1 percent in October after increasing 0.1 percent in September.

Decline in wholesale trade, manufacturing and in the output of real estate agents and brokers contributed the most to the October decline, the statement said, adding that residential construction and retail trade also retreated.

Wholesale trade fell by 2.7 percent as sales of auto and consumer products declined significantly in October. The falling international trade also contributed this decline, Statistics Canada said.

Manufacturing dived 0.7 percent as makers of motor vehicles and paper products cut down production on lower demand, it added.

Though the energy sector posted 1.2 percent jump in output, the mining sector output retreated by 2.2 percent. Housing construction too was down 1.2 percent since September.

Canada, which has been touted as the best performing economy among G-7 nations till now, is the worst hit by the US slowdown. Its auto industry, which exports more than 80 percent of vehicles to the US, has been given a lifeline of $4 billion by the government.

The falling oil prices have haemorrhaged the Canadian energy sector. And the US housing collapse has left its lumber industry reeling.

As the country’s finance minister, Jim Flaherty, proposes to announce a multi-billion package next month to stimulate the economy, Canada will have its first budget deficit in over a decade.

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