Household expenditure grew 0.6 percent, a slightly slower pace than the previous quarter (0.7 percent). Growth was driven by higher outlays on durable goods (2 percent) and financial services such as mutual funds and stock and bond commissions (1.6 percent). Investment in housing increased 1.2 percent.
Exports rose 0.3 percent, following a 2.3 percent gain in the third quarter. Exports of both goods (0.3 percent) and services (0.5 percent) increased. Imports of goods fell 4.1 percent, leading to a 3.5 percent drop in overall imports. Some of this decline was attributable to the one-time import of a large module destined for the Hebron offshore oil project in the third quarter.
Business gross fixed capital formation decreased 2.1 percent, following a 0.5 percent decline in the third quarter. Business investment in non-residential structures fell 5.9 percent following the strong growth in the third quarter (3.5 percent), partly due to a large one-time investment in the Hebron offshore oil project. Investment in machinery and equipment (-2.7 percent) and intellectual property products (-1.9 percent) was also down.
Businesses reduced their inventories by CAD 5.0 billion in the fourth quarter, after accumulating CAD 7.4 billion in the third quarter. Manufacturing inventories were drawn down by CAD 6.9 billion. Retail inventories of motor vehicles were reduced by CAD 1.9 billion, as household purchases of vehicles increased 1.5 percent and imports of passenger cars and light trucks fell 6 percent.
Expressed at an annualized rate, real GDP rose 2.6 percent in the fourth quarter, below an upwardly revised 3.8 percent surge in the third quarter but beating market estimates of a 2 percent growth.