Is Canada’s economic system on the verge of slipping right into a recession?
It’s a query some analysts are asking after one other launch of less-than-impressive statistics final week.
The most recent little bit of proof got here Friday, when Statistics Canada introduced the Canadian economic system grew by a paltry 0.1 per cent within the fourth quarter. That was the slowest progress in two and a half years.
Decrease costs for oil, a stoop in actual property prompted by tighter mortgage guidelines and slower enterprise spending are among the culprits for the slowdown cited by Statistics Canada. In consequence, most specialists count on the Financial institution of Canada to go away its key in a single day lending charge unchanged Wednesday at 1.75 per cent.
“There isn’t any denying that Canada is dealing with an ideal storm at current,” mentioned TD senior economist Brian DePratto in a report analyzing the brand new knowledge.
“A extra intense-than-expected moderation of financial progress got here simply as North American commodity markets despatched Canadian heavy oil costs decrease, leading to a further near-term progress shock as producers curtailed output,” DePratto added. “All of that is going down in opposition to a backdrop of nonetheless extremely levered households dealing with rising borrowing prices for the primary time in a era.”
Of simply as a lot concern, mentioned CIBC’s Ian Pollick, is that shopper spending — which has helped save the financial day previously — has additionally taken successful.
“Whereas progress was totally anticipated to sluggish, among the particulars made even probably the most pessimistic forecaster take discover. … Canada simply posted its worst family consumption numbers since 2015,” Pollick mentioned in a analysis be aware.
For a 3rd straight quarter, enterprise spending additionally fell, this time by 10.9 per cent. That’s hardly reassuring, both, mentioned Benjamin Reitzes, an rate of interest strategist at BMO.
“The (Financial institution of Canada) banking on funding and exports taking the expansion reins, however that’s hardly been the case,” mentioned Reitzes, who, like most analysts, expects the financial institution to go away the in a single day lending charge unchanged Wednesday.
“Given the weaker progress backdrop, with the commerce and housing uncertainties unlikely to be resolved, we search for the (financial institution) to be on maintain by means of most of this yr,” Reitzes wrote.
The Financial institution of Canada has raised the speed 4 instances within the final yr and a half, with the latest rise coming in October.
In 2018, the Canadian economic system grew by 1.eight per cent, a big slowdown from the three per cent progress in 2017. Based on a Bloomberg survey of economists, Canada’s economic system is predicted to develop by 1.eight per cent in 2019, with a 20 per cent likelihood of a recession.
Nonetheless, regardless of the regular drip of so-so financial knowledge, we’re unlikely to expertise a deep or extended recession, prompt TD’s DePratto. That’s due no less than partly to the truth that the U.S. economic system continues to be (comparatively) buzzing alongside. DePratto believes Canada may have a “technical” recession, or two straight quarters the place the economic system shrinks.
“There are marked variations between a stoop, a technical recession, and a real recession,” DePratto wrote. A “true” recession, DePratto wrote, is deeper and extra widespread all through the economic system than a technical one.
For example of a “true” recession, DePratto famous the recession sparked by the 2008 monetary disaster. Unemployment rose by 2.5 per cent, throughout the nation in a wide range of sectors. In 2015’s “technical” recession, unemployment rose by simply half a proportion level, and was largely pushed by a stoop within the oil and fuel business.
Josh Rubin is a Toronto-based enterprise reporter. Observe him on Twitter: @starbeer