OTTAWA, May 2, 2014 /CNW/ - The Composite Leading Index, a new Conference Board of Canada economic measure that tracks
short-term indicators of the economy, rose by 0.4 percent in March—but
much of the gain is due to the end of a long, cold winter.
Six of the ten components increased in March, three declined and one was
Export demand is improving, but weak housing and labour markets are
weighing on the domestic economy.
"Exports remained the brightest sector of the Canadian economy, due in
large part to rising demand in the United States. Industrial demand in
the U.S. spurred higher commodity prices, which helped the Toronto
stock market to reach another record high," said Pedro Antunes, Deputy Chief Economist, The Conference Board of Canada.
Much of the growth in the Index is due to an unusually high number of
new orders for manufactured goods, which posted the largest increase on
record (back to 1952). However, the recorded growth in March is based
on a single large defence contract. Therefore, despite the gains in the
Index, only a small rebound in economic growth is expected, likely a
result of the country emerging from of a harsh winter.
The Index grew by 0.2 per cent in January, partly because of harsh
winter weather in much of North America. The Index rose by 0.4 per cent
in February, following an upward revision.
In contrast to the improving outlook for exporters, weak housing and
labour markets are weighing on consumer confidence.
"Domestic demand in Canada continues to languish. Both existing house
sales and housing starts fell, with housing starts hitting their lowest
level in over a year. Employment Insurance claims rose for the second
month in a row," said Philip Cross, author of the Composite Leading
This is the fourth release of the Composite Leading Index, which sums up the performance of ten components that track the
short-term course of the economy. The newest of the Conference Board's
macroeconomic indicators, it signals changes in the business cycle
(periods of faster and slower economic growth) approximately six or
seven months in the future. The author, Philip Cross, spent 36 years at
Statistics Canada specializing in macroeconomics.
The Composite Leading Index is published monthly and available to
subscribers of the Conference Board's e-library.
SOURCE: Conference Board of Canada
For further information:
Yvonne Squires, Media Relations, Tel.: 613- 526-3090 ext. 221