March 3, 2017 from RECBC
The Canadian economy expanded at a 2.6 per cent annual rate in the fourth quarter, beating expectations of 2 per cent growth. Economic growth continues to be led higher by strong household consumption spending, though an uptick in exports was also a significant contributor. Due to a slow start to the year and disruptions caused by the Alberta wildfires, the Canadian economy grew just 1.4 per cent overall in 2016.
There are clear signs of momentum in the Canadian economy, with strong hiring and economic growth over the past six months and we expect the Canadian economy will post significantly stronger growth in 2017 about 2.1 per cent. That rate of growth should be enough to put the economy on a path toward eliminating excess slack in the economy by mid 2018, pushing inflation back to its 2 per cent target. If so, we expect the Bank of Canada may consider raising its overnight rate early next year while long-term rates and mortgage rates may creep higher in 2017.