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GDP fell 0.2 percent in February: Statistics Canada


Real gross domestic product (GDP) fell 0.2 percent in Canada in February after enjoying a 0.5 percent increase in January, according Statistics Canada.

The federal agency says manufacturing and, to a lesser extent, wholesale trade were the main sources of the decline.

The decrease in manufacturing resulted in a 0.6 percent decline in goods-producing industries. Service-producing industries were essentially unchanged overall.

Statistics Canada said increases in retail trade, professional and financial services, as well as in the public sector, were offset by decreases in wholesale trade and transportation services.

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Manufacturing was the main sore point. After a 2.5 percent increase in January, manufacturing production fell 1.6 percent in February, with 16 of the 21 major groups decreasing.

Although the reduction was broadly based in both durable and non-durable goods, manufacturers of motor vehicles and associated parts, down 7.5 percent; machinery, down 3.3 percent, and fabricated metal products, off 2.7 percent, recorded the largest decreases. Wood-product manufacturing increased, however.

Meanwhile, Statistics Canada said wholesale trade fell one percent in February following four consecutive monthly increases, while retail trade was up 0.6 percent, mainly due to increases at clothing and accessories stores.

The finance and insurance sector grew 0.2 percent during the month, while construction edged up 0.1 percent as both non-residential building construction and engineering and repair work advanced.

Mining, oil and gas extraction was unchanged in February, with advances in mining (up 0.9 percent) and in support activities (up 2.1 percent) offset by a 0.4 percent decline in oil and natural gas extraction.

Residential construction was also unchanged, as drops in single dwellings and renovations were offset by increases in other types of dwellings.

“Following six consecutive monthly increases, the output of real estate agents and brokers decreased, reflecting a reduction in sales of existing homes in all provinces except British Columbia,” the agency said.

With the declines in manufacturing and wholesale activities, truck transportation also decreased in February, and there was also a reduction in pipeline transportation of natural gas, as both domestic production and exports fell.

www.statcan.gc.ca