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Canada economy grew 0.4 percent in Q1: official

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Ottawa (AFP)

Canada's economy grew 0.4 percent in the first three months of 2019, according to government data released Friday, failing to meet already low expectations.

After a disappointing end to 2018, when the economy slowed significantly, analysts had forecast a small uptick in first quarter gross domestic product to 0.9 percent.

By comparison, the US economy grew 3.2 percent in the period.

Still, a late surge in March heartened some observers, who noted a rise in consumer spending and business investment.

"Overall, the economy has slid past a near stall in the past two quarters, but the details and progress in March suggest that we're going to make up for some of that in Q2," CIBC analyst Avery Shenfeld said in a research note.

Statistics Canada said outlays on vehicles, audio-visual and information processing equipment, cannabis, and insurance and financial services were up in the quarter.

The agency said a drop in new home construction was partly offset by renovation activity.

Business investment rebounded with significant outlays recorded in aircraft and other transportation equipment, corresponding to strong imports.

Imports of passenger cars and light trucks as well as pharmaceuticals also increased, while exports of farm and fishing products and crude oil fell.

Business investment in non-residential buildings, and research and development also increased. However, investment in engineering structures and mineral exploration and evaluation was down.

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