Québec gross domestic product up in fourth quarter

Québec, March 27, 2015 – Gross domestic product at market prices (GDP) rose 0.1% in real terms in the fourth quarter 2014, an annualized increase of 0.4%. On an annual basis, real GDP expanded 1.3% in Québec versus 2.5% in Canada. In the fourth quarter, growth was essentially due to an increase in final consumption expenditure, as fixed capital investment declined while accumulation of inventories picked up. That was revealed in Comptes économiques du Québec, 4e trimestre 2014 published by the Institut de la statistique du Québec.

Second consecutive annual drop in business investment

For the year 2014, GDP growth was mainly due to an improved foreign trade balance and higher final consumption expenditure. However, gross fixed capital formation was down for the second consecutive year. Final domestic demand increased by 0.6% in 2014, a faster rate than that of 0.4% recorded in 2013.

Household spending on goods and services posted a 2.0% growth rate in 2014, the same rate as in 2013, as a result of increased spending on both goods (+ 2.1%) and services (+ 2.0%). Spending on durable goods grew by 2.3%, on semi-durable goods by 2.1%, and on non-durable goods by 1.9%.

However, in 2014, gross fixed capital formation was down for the second consecutive year with a 3.0% decline, after decreasing 3.7% in 2013. Business fixed capital investment shrank by 3.3% (– 5.2% in 2013), as did government investment (– 2.2%). Business investment in residential structures was down 0.5% after declining 3.7% in 2013. Business investment in machinery and equipment contracted 1.1% after a sharp drop of 7.6% in the previous year. Investment in non residential structures (– 10.1%) declined sharply compared with 2013, following a 5.9% decrease in that year. Investment in intellectual property (– 1.1%) fell for the third year in a row.

Total exports of goods and services rose 3.5% in 2014, after a 0.4% increase in 2013. International exports of goods (+ 9.0%) saw the most growth, whereas international exports of services edged down (– 0.7%). Total imports (+ 2.1%) expanded, as opposed to 2013 when they had decreased (– 1.0%). The rise in imports was stronger in interprovincial trade (+ 4.3%), more specifically regarding services (+ 4.5%), as interprovincial trade in goods increased by 3.9%. In 2014, the foreign trade balance deficit declined to $19.5 billion.

GDP by industry up in December

Québec’s real gross domestic product (GDP) at basic prices went up 0.2% in December 2014, on the heels of two consecutive declines (– 0.2% in November and – 0.3% in October). In Canada, GDP rose 0.3% in December. In Québec, the increase was essentially due to goods-producing industries, which grew 0.6%. The activity level of services-producing industries increased by 0.1%. This was revealed in Produit intérieur brut par industrie au Québec, décembre 2014 published by the Institut de la statistique du Québec.

Goods-producing industries recorded a 0.6% increase, following two consecutive drops (– 0.9% in November and – 1.0% in October). The rise in December came from gains in manufacturing (+ 2.8%).

Service output grew by 0.1% in December following an increase of 0.1% in November. There were notable gains in transportation and warehousing (+ 1.6%), finance and insurance (+ 1.2%) and educational services (+ 0.4%). However, significant drops were recorded in wholesale trade (– 0.6%), retail trade (– 0.6%), and the information and cultural industries (– 0.6%).

Output in the manufacturing sector rose 2.8% in December after two consecutive drops (– 2.6% in November and – 0.7% in October). This was attributable to an increase of 2.1% in durable goods manufacturing and of 3.9% in non-durable goods manufacturing.

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