Canadian economy sees worst quarterly performance since 2009

Canada’s national statistical agency said that the country’s economy saw the worst quarterly performance since 2009 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Statistics Canada said on Friday that it came as the GDP suffered a big drop in March as restrictions against the spread of COVID-19 began rolling out during the month, reports Xinhua news agency.

The downturn in GDP, the sharpest since the first quarter of 2009, reflects measures rolled out in March to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, such as closures of school and non-essential businesses, border shutdowns and travel restrictions, as well as events earlier in the quarter, mainly the Ontario teachers’ strike and rail blockades in February.

The country’s GDP fell 7.2 per cent in March from February, the most severe month-on-month fall, while annualized growth for the first quarter decreased by 8.2 per cent, the largest since the depths of the Great Recession.

Household spending was reduced by 2.3 per cent in the first quarter of 2020, the steepest quarterly drop ever recorded.

Spending reductions were influenced by substantial job losses, income uncertainty and limited opportunities to spend because of the mandatory closure of non-essential retail stores, restaurants and services, and restrictions on travel and tourism activities.

Real GDP plummeted by a record 11 per cent in April from March as most sections of the economy were shut down to fight the COVID-19 outbreak.

The March and April falls are likely to be the largest consecutive monthly declines on record, said the country’s statistics agency.

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