Canada's economic growth this year will slow to half of last year's rate: OECD

TORONTO – Canada’s economic growth this year will slow to 1.2 per cent — about half of what it was last year — before gaining strength in the next two years, says a report released Monday by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

The Paris-based economic think tank estimates Canada’s gross domestic product, which grew by 2.4 per cent in 2014, won’t get back to that level for at least two more years.

It’s estimating Canada’s 2016 economic growth at 2.0 per cent and 2.3 per cent for 2017.

The figures follow a pattern laid out by the Bank of Canada last month, with some variations.

Canada’s central bank said on Oct. 21 that its 2015 GDP estimate remained at 1.1 per cent, while it lowered the 2016 and 2017 estimates to 2.0 per cent and 2.5 per cent, respectively.

By comparison, the OECD estimates the United States will grow 2.4 per cent this year, 2.5 per cent in 2016 and 2.4 per cent in 2017 — outpacing most other G7 countries by a wide margin each year.

The United Kingdom is the only G7 country to come close to the U.S. in each of the three years.

The OECD report also warned that a slowdown in international trade is “deeply concerning” and could be signalling a new recession for the world’s leading economies.

The risk to the global economy centres on slower growth in emerging markets such as China, it added. China’s economic transition away from massive investment in infrastructure and manufacturing has hurt commodity exporters such as Australia, Brazil, Canada and Russia, the report said.

The OECD is made up of 34 of the world’s most developed countries and advocates for policies to promote growth, education and social welfare issues.

In a nod to the upcoming UN discussions on climate change in Paris, the report says “action is needed now” to address the problem. The OECD urged leaders from nearly 200 countries gathering for the talks not to use economic weakness as an argument for inaction.

— With a report from The Associated Press in Paris.