January 5, 2016 12:52 pm

Chief economists at Canada’s big banks predict rocky year for economy



TORONTO – The chief economists of some of Canada’s biggest banks say the country is headed for a rocky year as low oil prices continue to drag on economic performance.

Bank of Montreal chief economist Douglas Porter told a morning gathering of leading economists today that it’s going to be a “very close call” whether the fourth quarter of 2015 saw any economic growth.

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Canada’s resource sector has been slammed as the price of crude has fallen from a high above $105 in June 2014 to below $40 over the past few months, just as other commodities are at or near multi-year lows.

MORE: Here’s how your chequebook will fare next year

Speaking at an event hosted by the Economic Club of Canada, Porter said it looks like last year was one of the worst years for economic growth in decades outside of a full-on recession, and Canada is looking at a 2016 growth rate not much higher than last 2015.

He says the loonie, which has plunged as the price of oil has declined, also has further to fall.

CIBC chief economist Avery Shenfeld says 2016 will be a disappointing year for the global economy at large, and Canada won’t be spared.

WATCH: Federal finance minister Bill Morneau met last month with provincial and territorial counterparts to begin confronting the hard economic truths facing Canada in 2016. Vassy Kapelos reports.

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