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Economy grew at slower pace in fourth quarter: StatsCan


Statistics Canada says the pace of economic growth slowed to 0.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011 after a third-quarter increase of one percent.

The agency says consumer spending and exports contributed the most to growth in the final period of the year.

For 2011 as a whole, real GDP grew 2.5 percent, compared with a 3.2 percent increase in 2010.

Consumer spending on goods and services grew by 0.7 percent in the fourth quarter, up from the 0.4 percent gain in the previous quarter.

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Business investment in plant and equipment rose by two percent, for an eighth consecutive quarterly increase.

Housing investment slowed to 0.8 percent in the quarter, well below the 2.5 percent increase in the third quarter.

Exports rose 1.1 percent in the fourth quarter, down from a 3.8 percent gain in the third quarter, and imports rose 0.5 percent, after falling 0.4 percent in the previous three months.

All major industrial sectors grew in 2011, except arts, entertainment and recreation.

Production of goods grew 3.6 percent, while services expanded 2.2 percent.

Mining and oil and gas extraction, construction, the public sector (education, health services and public administration combined) and manufacturing were the main contributors to overall growth.

Wholesale trade, retail trade, and the finance and insurance sector also posted gains.