Canada’s economy grew 0.1 per cent in the first quarter, less than economists had expected and far below the 0.2 per cent forecast for the first three months of the year.
The Canadian dollar slipped to a four-week low against the U.S. dollar on Thursday after a recent rally to its highest level since the recession began in 2007.
It was the weakest quarterly GDP figure since the first half of the decade, when the country added 0.7 per cent.
Economists said Canada’s rebound in the second quarter will depend on the pace of new business investment, which was expected to be stronger than previously.
“There is some reason to think that there will be a modest bit of new activity, that the economy will continue to grow,” said Jim Stanford, senior economist with BMO Capital Markets.
We are very far from the full recovery in the economy that we had hoped for,” he added.
Canada’s economy is in a tailspin.
After three straight quarters of declines, growth in Canada has slowed sharply over the past year.
The country has now lost almost a quarter of its manufacturing jobs since the beginning of the recession, a period that ended in December 2014.
Even so, the Canadian economy has grown at a solid pace over the last year, outpacing its peers in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
Inflation, meanwhile, was also lower than forecast in the fourth quarter of 2016.
Statistics Canada said consumer price inflation was 0.3 per cent this year, lower than economists expected.
However, the agency also said the number of people who lost their jobs to automation over the year was 0, and the number that were laid off or left unemployed was up.
A further drop in the unemployment rate was also announced.
According to Statistics Canada, the unemployment figure for the December quarter was 1.6 per cent, down from 1.8 per cent the previous quarter.
On Friday, Statistics Canada said its economic data for the week ended March 19, which began on March 16, showed the economy grew at a 0.6-per-cent annualized rate, beating the 0 per cent growth forecast for February and March.
That would mark the second straight quarter that the Canadian GDP grew faster than expected.