Canadian economy sees growth slow

Container ship unloads
Image caption Growth in Canada's imports has again outstripped growth in exports

Canada's economic growth slowed sharply in the second quarter of the year, figures from the Canadian statistics agency have revealed.

GDP increased by 0.5% in the three months to June, down from the 1.4% growth seen in the first quarter.

That means the economy grew at an annualised rate of 2% in the last quarter - down from 5.8% in the first quarter.

Sluggish consumer spending was blamed for the slowdown.

Total spending grew by just 0.7% in the three months to June, down from 1% growth in the first quarter.

Spending on cars fell, as did household spending on electricity and gas.

Spending on furniture and other household goods rose, but only by 0.1%.

The growth figures disappointed many analysts who had expected an annualised growth rate of closer to 2.5% for the April-to-June period.

"Clearly the headline is below expectations and... sets a much more modest profile for the Canadian economy," said Doug Porter, deputy chief economist at BMO Capital Markets.

"One of the main stories here is that Canada is still a little bit stronger in the first two quarters than the US, but the gap is almost imperceptible."

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