Review of Economic Statistics — June 29, 2018

Release date: June 29, 2018

Review of Economic Statistics — June 29, 2018 - Transcript

(The Statistics Canada symbol and Canada wordmark appear on screen with the title: "Review of Economic Statistics — June 29, 2018")

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Richard Evans: Welcome to the review of Economic Statistics. I'm Richard Evans.

Guy Gellatly: And I'm Guy Gellatly.

(Text on screen below presenters: "Richard Evans, Director General, Industry Statistics. Guy Gallatly, Principal Researcher.")

Richard: Guy, today we're looking at GDP for April.CBI for May. If we think back to first-quarter numbers for gross domestic product for the economy as a whole, we saw a certain moderation in growth, but the monthly program was there to tell us that the quarter in March had ended on a fairly strong note. What was the situation in April?

Guy: Well Richard, real gross domestic product edged up 0.1% in April, and that follows 0.3% gain in March. So with that April number, the economy has expanded for three consecutive months. In terms of some of the notable movements in the April report, higher output from manufacturing and free utilities partly offset from some declines in retail and in construction, particularly on the residential side.

(Text on screen below presenters: Real GDP edged up 0.1% in April, the third consecutive monthly gain.)

Richard: So let's dig into manufacturing a little bit. That was a very interesting part of the report. What was going there?

Guy: Well the manufacturing number, up 0.8%, so a fairly solid gain for manufacturing. An important contributor to that growth was machinery manufacturing, which is coming off a decline in the March numbers, but if you look back, really to the late part of last year, you've seen a lot of upward momentum in those numbers, and that corresponds with some of the improvements that we've seen in business and investment over that period.

Richard: Now, you mentioned a moment ago that retail, the retail component of the report was down. Can you tell us a bit more about that, and I think there were some special causes behind that as well.

Guy: Retail was down 1.3%, so a fair pullback in those retail numbers. Fairly broad-based declines. Although the lower auto volumes that we saw—that was certainly a contributing factor. It's interesting Richard—if you look back at April, I mean it was certainly the case that there were some challenging weather across some parts of the country, and it certainly may be that those are contributing to some of the overall weakness that we're seeing in the retail numbers in April.

Richard: In particular, I remember some freezing rain and cold weather. Alright. And what about resource extraction?

Guy: Well resource extraction, if you go back to February and March, they were—that's an important contribution to the overall growth in the economy in those months. Resource extraction was down in the April report, but a lot of that was really coming on the mining side, as opposed to in oil and gas extraction.

Richard: Ok. Great. So, good review of the GDP report. Let's look ahead in, a bit into May now, and look at the CPR momentarily. The energy prices certainly picked up in the month of May. Did that cause inflation to accelerate?

Guy: Well the headline number in May, headline inflation at 2.2%. That's actually unchanged from what we had in the April report. So no acceleration in the overall rate, but it certainly was the case that energy prices were accelerating, and particularly gasoline. So basically what's happening is that there's some downside pressures as well that are keeping that overall inflation rate in check. And actually, if you take gasoline prices off the table, you've got a deceleration from April to May, down from 1-7 to about 1-5 in the May report.

(Text on screen below presenters: Headline inflation was 2.2% in May, unchanged from April.)

Richard: So in all the other products?

Guy: That's right. And some of the real notable declines in the May report—travel accommodation and telephone services, and particularly, were down year over year.

Richard: Great. Thank you, Guy.

Guy: Thank you.

Richard: And to close out, we just want to bring to your attention an update to the Canadian Housing Statistics Program. It was released on June 25th. It contains more detailed information on the housing markets in British Columbia and Ontario, and in particular more refined estimates of non-resident ownership. For that and so much more, please consult our website.

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