Economic growth slows to 1.2%, half of last year’s rate: OECD

Economic think-tank isn't optimistic about GDP, which won't get back to 2014 levels for at least two years.

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

The Paris-based economic think tank estimates Canada’s gross domestic product, which grew by 2.4% 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% and 2.3% 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%, while it lowered the 2016 and 2017 estimates to 2% and 2.5%, respectively.

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

The UK is the only G7 country to come close to the US 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.

© 2015 The Canadian Press

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