RTTNews - Canada's real gross domestic product declined 1.4% in the first quarter, the largest quarterly decrease since 1991, according to data released Monday morning by Statistics Canada.

Both domestic and international demand continued to weaken. Real GDP fell 0.3% in March. The declines in February and March were less pronounced than those in the preceding three months.

Lower spending in Canada and the United States, particularly business investment in plant and equipment, led to a sharp decline in Canada's exports and imports.

Business investment in Canada fell at the fastest rate since 1982. Final domestic demand was down 1.5% as personal spending, particularly on durable goods, continued to decline. Corporate and personal income also fell in the quarter.

Real GDP contracted at an annualized rate of 5.4% in the first quarter, compared with a 5.7% decline in the US economy.

Consumer spending on goods and services contracted 0.4%, a slower pace of decline than the previous quarter. Spending on durable goods (-1.8%) was the major contributor to the first quarter decline, but did not drop as much as in the previous quarter. Purchases of services slipped for a second consecutive quarter.

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