Canada

The Canadian economy barely grew in the final three months of 2019, as declines in exports and business investment contributed to the weakest quarter of activity in over three years.

Canada’s Transport Minister said the country’s freight-rail traffic was “many, many weeks” away from a return to normal, after police dismantled a blockade by pipeline protesters that has been choking off east-west shipments.

As prices for Canada’s brand of heavy crude oil have plunged, more than a quarter of Calgary’s office space sits empty and the unemployment rate is the highest among the country’s largest cities.

Canadian police dismantled a rail blockade led by indigenous antipipeline protesters that had choked off passenger and freight-rail traffic for more than two weeks.

Canada’s annual inflation rate accelerated in January, driven by higher gasoline prices, although there are signs upward price pressure might be waning.

The government is lowering the minimum rate used in a test designed to prove a buyer can afford principal and interest payments if rates climb.

The Canadian government said it would pursue negotiations to end the blockades that have thwarted rail traffic across the country for more than a week.

Business groups and organized labor called on the Canadian government to intervene to stop the blockades, which involve protesters acting in solidarity with west coast indigenous leaders trying to stop construction of a natural-gas pipeline.

Employment in Canada rose in January at a solid pace and the jobless rate ticked down, offering some evidence the labor market is showing signs of a rebound after a slowdown late last year.

Canada’s Liberal government on Monday began the task of ratifying the revised North American trade deal, a process that could take months and force Prime Minister Justin Trudeau into some deal making with rivals to ensure quick passage

The Bank of Canada left its key interest rate unchanged at 1.75% on Wednesday and marked down its estimates for near-term growth, opening the door for a future rate cut if the domestic outlook worsens.

The consumer-price index climbed last month on higher costs for gasoline, although data indicated a softening in underlying price pressures that some economists reckon will continue through 2020.

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