Canadian economy grew 3.1 percent in first quarter

(Photo by Geoff Robins / AFP)

OTTAWA, May 31, 2023 (AFP) – Canada’s economy grew by a higher-than-expected 3.1 percent in the first quarter after remaining flat in the final stretch of last year, according to official data released Wednesday.

The rise was fueled by strong trade figures, mainly exports, and an increase in household spending, Statistics Canada said.

Some analysts had predicted a drop in GDP in the first quarter, or only a slight rise.

Exports of goods and services rose by 2.4 percent, mainly in the sectors of cars and light trucks, precious metals and crops.

Imports went from a 3.3 percent decline in the last quarter of 2022 to a slight rise of 0.2 percent thanks to higher imports of crude oil and bitumen.

Household spending on cars trucks and other vehicles shot up 7.8 percent while spending on clothing grew 4.5 percent.

However, working against the rise in GDP was a decline in business investment in machinery and equipment.