Canada Posts Weakest Back-To-Back Quarters Of Economic Growth Since 2015

Canada's economy expanded at an annualized rate of 0.4% in the first three months of this year, giving the country its weakest back-to-back quarters of growth since 2015.

Statistics Canada said Friday that real gross domestic product (GDP) in Canada during the first quarter follows a revised growth rate of 0.3% in the fourth and final quarter of 2018. The first-quarter growth was slightly higher than the prediction of the Bank of Canada, which said earlier this week that the economic slowdown was likely "temporary" and that growth appears to have resumed in the current second quarter.

The Statistics Canada report says downward pressure on economic growth was driven by weakness in net trade as imports rose and export volumes saw their first quarterly decrease since 2017. Canada also saw substantial declines in its exports of farm and fishing products as well as a drop in crude-oil shipments during the first quarter.

On a positive note, the first quarter saw the highest quarterly level of household spending in two years and the biggest jolt of business investment in equipment and machinery in 23 years.