Weekly Economic Update

For the week of March 25 – 29.

It was a big day for data in Canada on Friday with releases for January retail sales and February consumer prices. Retail sales missed expectations significantly on a headline basis as growth fell by 0.3 percent on a month-over-month basis. Expectations were for growth of 0.4 percent. However, when removing auto sales from the calculation, sales growth actually met expectations of 0.1 percent. A more positive spin on the result was the fact that sales only fell in 4 of the 11 measured sub-sectors. The largest upside contributor was the supermarket sector, while the largest downside contributor was new car dealerships.

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February consumer prices beat expectations on both a month-over-month and year-over-year basis. Prices grew by 0.7 percent and 1.5 percent respectively, both beating their expected levels by 0.1 percent. Helping this month’s figures was an increase in gasoline prices (first monthly increase since July). A significant downward drag was seen from the service sector (-2.3 percent in February).

Releases this week in Canada will be highlighted by international merchandise and GDP numbers for January. In the United States we will see releases for housing starts, building permits, trade balance, annualized QoQ GDP for the 4th quarter and personal income/spending.

The Canadian dollar is currently trading relatively flat against the US dollar. Today’s expected range is 1.3382 – 1.3482.

Source: Bloomberg

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