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OTTAWA: Canada’s economy expanded for a ninth consecutive month in January and most likely grew in February, Statistics Canada said on Wednesday, further evidence that a recovery from the coronavirus pandemic was stronger than expected.

Despite the 0.7% gain in January, overall economic activity that month was still 3% lower than it had been in February 2020, before the pandemic started. January growth jumped on wholesale trade, manufacturing and oil and gas extraction. Retail trade dipped but should recover in February, when restrictions on businesses were lifted, contributing to a likely 0.5% monthly increase, Statscan said. Analysts polled by Reuters had predicted that gross domestic product would grow 0.5% from December. “The resiliency of the economy suggests that first quarter growth will look hotter than our last published forecast,” said Royce Mendes, senior economist at CIBC Capital Markets.

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