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Economy Strong start to 2017 bodes well for Canadian economy: IMF

Visitors are silhouetted against the logo of the International Monetary Fund at the main venue for the IMF and World Bank annual meeting in Tokyo, October 10, 2012.

Kim Kyung Hoon/REUTERS

The early strength in Canadian economic data early this year "bodes well" for the country's growth prospects, the International Monetary Fund said Tuesday.

The Washington, D.C.-based organization estimates Canada's gross domestic product will grow by 1.9 per cent this year, unchanged from its previous forecasts in October and January. By contrast, the Bank of Canada projected last week that the economy will expand by 2.6 per cent this year, up from its prior estimate of 2.1 per cent growth.

An IMF official explained that the economic momentum in Canada hasn't been reflected in its latest analysis due to timing.

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"There has been a very strong data release on monthly GDP in early 2017 for Canada, which bodes very well for growth in the early part of the year," Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti, the IMF's deputy director of research, said from Washington, D.C.

"(But) that data release has come after our forecast was closed. With a stronger base, there is clearly upside risk to our forecast for Canada."

The latest analysis was released ahead of meetings between finance ministers and central bank governors from the G20, who will gather in Washington, D.C., later this week.

The IMF's estimate for worldwide economic growth is 3.5 per cent for this year and 3.6 per cent for 2018, up from 3.1 per cent last year.

Among G7 countries, the U.S. has the highest projected growth, with increases of 2.3 per cent this year and 2.5 per cent in 2018, unchanged from the IMF's outlook in January.

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