By Paul Vieira
OTTAWA--Canadian economic output plunged by a near record in the first quarter as domestic consumption declined due to widespread virus-fueled shutdowns. Exports also fell markedly.
Canada's gross domestic product, or the broadest measure of goods and services produced in an economy, fell at a 8.2% annualized rate in the first quarter, to 2.10 trillion Canadian dollars ($1.53 trillion), Statistics Canada said Friday. Markets were looking for an annualized drop of 9%, according to economists at Bank of Nova Scotia.
The record quarterly decline in Canadian economic activity occurred in the first quarter of 2009, or the height of the last global recession, when output fell 8.7% annualized.
The drop in Canadian output in the first three months of 2020 was steeper relative to the U.S., its biggest trading partner and southern neighbour. Commerce Department data indicate U.S. GDP fell at a 5% annual rate in the first quarter.
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