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Canada economy accelerates, posts 3.3% growth in Q2

·2-min read

Canada's economy accelerated in the second quarter of 2022, benefitting from higher commodity prices after emerging from pandemic lockdowns to post annualized growth of 3.3 percent, the government statistical agency said Wednesday.

This fourth quarterly increase in gross domestic product (GDP), however, was lower than analysts expected. A dip in July also signalled a slowdown with interest rate hikes aimed at taming inflation becoming a drag on the housing sector.

Quarter to quarter, the economy grew 0.8 percent.

"Canadian growth numbers were nothing to sneeze at, but the latest data were still underwhelming relative to lofty expectations," commented Desjardins analyst Royce Mendes in a research note.

It may, however, be enough to slow the pace of Bank of Canada interest rate hikes, he said, forecasting a 50 basis point hike when its governors meet next week.

July data, he noted, points to the upcoming third quarter "beginning on soft footing, which reinforces our view that the economy is set to cool even more as the lagged effects of prior rate hikes become more pronounced."

According to Statistics Canada, business investment and household spending was up in the second quarter.

Spending on garments and footwear notably jumped largely due to a return to offices and a pick up in travel, which also meant larger outlays on airfare and hotel accommodations.

Canadians also spent more on aircraft, trucks, buses, and other motor vehicles.

Housing prices and real estate transactions, meanwhile, dipped from record highs.

The quarter saw the largest increase on record in agricultural inventories, notably wheat and canola, with crop production forecast to increase this year due to better weather conditions.

A new liquified natural gas terminal under construction in westernmost British Columbia and higher investment in the Alberta oil sands helped push up business investment.

But higher imports -- led by travel services and passenger cars and trucks, particularly electric and hybrid models that reflect increased gas prices -- outpaced an uptick in exports, which was fuelled in part by strong demand for aluminum from the United States.

amc/mlm