Following a record contraction of the Canadian economy in the first half of 2020, the third quarter saw a vigorous rebound in economic growth. Real GDP was up 8.9 per cent in the third quarter, or 40.5 per cent on an annualized basis, bringing the economy back to about 5 per cent of its pre-COVID-19 level. Household spending rebounded, rising 13 per cent in the quarter, while investment in housing was up 30.2 per cent. Household savings, while down from its record setting second quarter, continues to be elevated through the pandemic and registered 14.6% in the third quarter. That compares to just 2 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2019.
The distressing second wave of COVID-19, and the restrictions it has necessitated, jeopardizes the recovery currently underway. We still expect the economy to post positive real GDP growth in the fourth quarter, though there is certainly the risk that a renewed fear of public spaces combined with targeted restrictions will prompt a modest retracing of output. The ultimate economic impact of COVID-19 by the end of 2020 will be a Canadian economy producing about 5.5 per cent less output than it did before the pandemic. That said, promising results from vaccine trials should lead the way to very strong growth in 2021 as pent-up consumption spending floods back into the economy. We expect Canadian real will growth by an average of 4 per cent over the next two years.
For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.