December 23, 2015 9:57 am
Updated: December 23, 2015 3:08 pm

Canada may have ‘never escaped’ recession after all: experts

Federal finance minister Bill Morneau met provincial and territorial counterparts this week to confront the hard economic truths facing Canada. Vassy Kapelos reports.

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Disappointing numbers released by Statistics Canada this morning suggest the economy is struggling to regain its footing following the shallow, oil-induced recession that took hold through the first half of the year.

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The rebound that materialized through the summer has fallen flat, with some now suggesting the country is either headed back into a downturn – or has never really recovered from the first one.

“Canada may never have escaped recession,” experts at Capital Economics said in a research brief.

Higher oil output was actually the only thing saving the country from shrinking again in October, according to Nick Exarhos at CIBC.

“Indeed, stripping out the lift provided by a rebound in [oil and gas], the economy would have shown another small contraction,” the economist said.

On a monthly basis, Canada’s economy has posted growth in just three of the 10 months accounted for this year.

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Slowdown spreads

Meantime, the slowdown caused by the falling price of oil (and other commodities) continues to deepen a chill throughout other parts of the economy, the new monthly numbers confirm.

In October, construction, retail and manufacturing all took hits, according the experts. Even Swiss Chalet is feeling the bite.

“Declines elsewhere indicate that the economy is struggling to deal with the broader fallout from the oil price shock,” the Capital Economics brief said.

“Overall, with the economy now looking like it may have stagnated this quarter, the amount of excess slack will increase, creating more downside risk.”

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