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Canada’s GDP shrank by 9% in March amid COVID-19: StatCan

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The Canadian economy shrank by an estimated nine per cent in March as the novel coronavirus pandemic forced a partial lockdown of the country, Statistics Canada said on Wednesday.

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The figure represents the steepest one-month decline since similar record-keeping began in 1961, the agency said in a special flash estimate prompted by the need to have real-time gauges of economic activity amid the health emergency.

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For the January-to-March period, growth contracted by around 2.6 per cent, StatCan said.

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The data comes ahead of the Bank of Canada’s interest rate announcement and monetary policy report expected later this morning. The central bank has slashed its trend-setting interest rate since the beginning of March, including two unscheduled cuts as an emergency move against the pandemic’s economic fallout.

There is general expectation among economists that the Bank of Canada will keep its key interest rate target at 0.25 per cent.

With files from the Canadian Press

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