The Canadian economy contracted 7.2% in March compared to February as a result of the stoppage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the largest monthly drop in the country’s recent history, the public agency Statistics Canada (EC) said on Friday. ).
In the first quarter of the year, the fall in gross domestic product (GDP) was 2.1%, although the annualized decrease in GDP in March stood at 8.2%, the worst since the 2009 financial crisis. , GDP in the United States fell 5% in the first quarter.
And analysts warned that if the March figures were bad, the April ones, when the entire country was paralyzed with measures of social and economic confinement, would be worse.
EC noted that not only COVID-19 influenced the contraction of the economy in the first quarter, but also teacher strikes in the country’s main province, Ontario, and the blocking of railways by indigenous groups in the two The first months of the year had a negative impact.
Of the 20 industrial sectors into which EC divides the Canadian economy, 19 reduced activity in March. The hotel and restaurant sector fell more than a third during the month, 36.9%, due to the forced closure of establishments.
The transport sector, which had already fallen 1.4% in February as a result of the blockade of railways, fell another 12.2% in March and only the transport of goods by train experienced an increase of 4.5%. But air transport contracted 40.9%.
For its part, the manufacturing sector fell by 6.5% in March to its lowest level since the second half of 2016. More than three-quarters of the companies in the manufacturing sector, 78.3%, were affected by COVID-19.
Meanwhile, Canadian household spending fell 2.3% in the first quarter, the largest quarterly decline ever recorded in the country. At the same time, household savings increased to 6.1% in the first quarter when the figure had been 3.6% in the last quarter of 2019.
According to data from the American Johns Hopkins University, Canada reports more than 90,000 coronavirus infections and some 7,000 deaths.