Québec, March 30, 2017. – In the fourth quarter of 2016, Québec’s gross domestic product (GDP) at market prices rose by 0.5%, compared to 0.6% growth observed for Canada as a whole. On an annualized basis, growth in the Québec economy attained 2.2% and in the Canadian economy, 2.6%. In the fourth quarter, GDP growth was a result of rising final consumption expenditures and an improving foreign trade balance, while investment remained stable and stock dropped. This was revealed in Comptes économiques du Québec, 4e trimestre 2016, an Institut de la statistique du Québec publication.
Sustained growth of household final consumption expenditures
In 2016, GDP growth reached at 2.0%, a more rapid increase when compared with 2015 (+1.2%). In Canada, GDP was up 1.4% in 2016, following a 0.9% rise in 2015. Final domestic demand growth was particularly robust, stimulated by final consumption expenditures, while gross fixed capital formation experienced an upswing, and the foreign trade balance deficit shrank.
Final consumption expenditures were up 2.3% in 2016. This growth was observed in the household sector (+2.3%) and public administration (+1.8%). Among households, durable goods spending rose by 4.7%, the strongest increase observed since 2010. Spending on semi-durable goods varied by +3.7%, that of non-durable goods by +1.6% and that of services by +1.9%.
Gross fixed capital formation was up in 2016, following three years of decline. Business investment rose by 1.8%, driven by growth in residential buildings (+2.7%), with new construction (+3.2%) and the renovation (+1.6%) and resale of existing properties (+5.3%) all being contributing factors. Following a drop in 2015, business investment in non-residential structures (+1.1%), machinery and equipment (+1.0%), and intellectual property products (+0.9%) experienced renewed growth. General government gross fixed capital formation dropped by –0.8%, following 3.7% growth in 2015.
Goods and services exports rose by 0.5% owing to an increase in international (+0.4%) and interprovincial (+0.8%) exports. Imports were down 0.9% on account of a drop in international imports (–1.4%); interprovincial imports remained stable. The combined effect of variations in external trade led to the foreign trade balance deficit shrinking by $2.4 billion to $6.6 billion.
GDP by industry up in December
Québec’s GDP at basic prices were up 0.6% in December 2016, following a 0.6% increase in November and a 0.2% drop in October. In Canada, GDP rose 0.3% in December. Both the goods-producing and services-producing industries were behind Québec’s growth. Goods-producing industries posted 0.8% in gains, while services-producing industries increased their output by 0.5%.
Goods-producing industries recorded a 0.8% increase, following a 2.1% rise in November and a 1.8% drop in October. Utilities (+0.7%), construction (+2.3%) and manufacturing (+1.2%) saw their output go up. Conversely, agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting (–4.5%); mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction (–2.2%) reduced their production level.
For the eighth consecutive month, service output was up, recording a 0.5% increase in December. Significant gains were observed in December, notably in wholesale trade (+2.6%); transportation and warehousing (+0.7%); finance and insurance (+0.6%); real estate and rental and leasing (+0.4%); professional, scientific and technical services (+1.0%); educational services (+0.9%); healthcare and social assistance (+0.5%); and public administration (+0.4%). Conversely, a large decline was recorded in retail trade (–1.7%).
Output in the manufacturing sector was up 1.2% in December, following a 3.0% increase in November and a 2.1% drop in October. The December increase was attributable to the 2.4% growth in the durable goods manufacturing sector. Conversely, the non-durable goods manufacturing sector was down 0.4%.
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