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Recognizing the need for timelier measures of economic activity during the coronavirus crisis, Statistics Canada took the extraordinary step of releasing a March GDP ‘nowcast’ about six weeks ahead of the official release, Josh Nye from the Royal Bank of Canada briefs.

Key quotes

“This early approximation based on available data suggests Canada’s economy shrank by 9% in March, the largest monthly decline on record dating back to 1961. That leaves Q1 GDP 10% lower (at an annualized rate) than the previous quarter.”

“A sharp slowdown heading into the current quarter and a further drop in April leaves our forecast for a 32% annualized decline in Q2 GDP looking as reasonable as any at this stage.”

“A worse-than-expected Q1, though, adds some downside risk to our 2020 growth forecast (-4.9%) with the IMF’s projection from yesterday (-6.2%) looking a bit likelier.”