Canada's Economy Grew 2.9% In 2005

Bolstered by strong consumer spending, Canada's economy grew 2.9% in 2005, Statistics Canada reported Feb. 28. "The year 2005 was the year of the consumer," declared the government agency, noting a 4% jump in Canadians' personal expenditure on goods and services was the "main contributor" to the gross domestic product increase.

"It was the largest annual increase since 2000, when skyrocketing labor income drove up personal expenditures," Statistics Canada said.

Canada's GDP showed a small improvement over the 2004 expansion of 2.8%, and topped the official Bank of Canada forecast for 2.7% growth.

Growth in Canada's manufacturing sector was halved (2.2%) due to a strong Canadian dollar, its highest value in more than a decade, high input costs such as petroleum and strong international competition.

Investment in machinery and equipment climbed 10.7% in 2005 -- its best annual performance since 1997.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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