Desjardins slightly more optimistic about 2013 economic growth than central bank

LEVIS, Que. – Desjardins Group is estimating Canada’s economic growth rate this year will be 1.7 per cent — one-tenth of a point above the Bank of Canada’s latest estimate of 1.6 per cent growth in 2013.

Desjardins estimates for growth over the next two years are the same as the central bank’s, at 2.3 per cent in 2014 and 2.6 per cent in 2015.

The financial co-operative, which operates a retail network throughout Quebec and manages $210 billion of assets, said its home province will lag the national rate in 2014 and 2015 by half a point.

For 2014, it’s estimating Quebec’s real gross domestic product will grow by 1.8 per cent, rising to 2.1 per cent in 2015.

Desjardins also says it’s “difficult to envision” an increase in key interest rates in the United States and Canada before 2015.