Monday, December 10, 2007

RBC report that Canadian Economy continues on a solid growth path

RBC Report that our Canadian Economy stays on a solid growth path

Canada's economy grew at a 0.2% pace in August and has expanded at a 2% annualized pace in the July-August period compared to the 3.4% average of the second quarter, setting up for a more moderate third-quarter following six months of very robust expansion. However, the downside risks to the growth outlook have been mounting as the U.S. housing market correction continues in full swing and the Canadian dollar treks to higher levels.

Canadian payrolls rose 63,000 in October. The unemployment rate ticked down to 5.8%. Average hourly earnings for permanent workers accelerated to 4.2% yearover- year from 4.1% in September, marking the fastest pace since May 2001.

After two back-to-back declines, retail sales picked up pace in August, rising by 0.7%. Retail sales slowed in the first two months of the third quarter but remained in positive territory in real terms, supported by the strong labour market and a pickup in wage growth.

Housing starts slipped back in October to a 219,500 annualized pace from the exceptionally high 281,300 pace in September, the highest level since 1978. Our forecast assumes that starts will generally trend lower, eventually averaging a little above 200,000 in 2008.

The merchandise trade surplus narrowed to $2.65 billion in September, the smallest surplus since December 1998. Exports fell by 2.3%, while imports rebounded by 2.2%. The strong rally in the Canadian dollar into November and robust domestic demand set up for import growth to remain firm, while the slowing in U.S. demand is likely to keep export growth limited, meaning that the trade sector will restrain the pace of GDP growth in the months ahead.

The 12.7% surge in gasoline prices and the huge 17.5% drop in gasoline prices last September pushed the year-over-year all-items inflation rate to 2.5%, the highest level since May 2006 and solidly above the Bank of Canada's 2% inflation target. Courtesy of RBC Economics

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