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Royal Bank CEO Dave McKay warns that the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic will likely be slower.

Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press

The head of RBC is warning that the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic will likely be slower and more uneven than originally thought.

CEO Dave McKay says that the depths of the challenge are becoming more clear and that the potential sharp “v” or even “u” recovery hoped for a month ago is looking less likely.

Speaking at a media roundtable after the bank’s annual general meeting, McKay said the economy will have to restart in stages to avoid recontagion, while business spending will also be more cautious to further extend the recovery.

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He said that some areas of the economy could see especially protracted recoveries, such as business travel as companies adapt to ways of doing business more remotely.

McKay said at the annual meeting, however, that the bank was well positioned to ride out the pullback in the economy and has no plans to cut its dividend.

He says governments will have to think about saving some stimulus options to spur a recovery for when the outbreak gets under control.

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