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A rebound in oil output helped deliver surprisingly strong Canadian economic growth of 0.3 percent in April after two months of soggy readings, according to Statistics Canada data released on Friday.
Declines in retail sales and manufacturing had led to expectations for a tepid reading on real gross domestic product. The median forecast in a Reuters survey was for 0.2-percent growth, and nine of 22 predictions were for no more than 0.1 percent.
The economy shrank by 0.2 percent in February and edged up by 0.1 percent in March.
Oil and gas output rose 2.4 percent in April after declines of 1.0 percent and 2.2 percent in February and March, respectively. All the increase was due to a recovery in crude oil extraction from maintenance and production difficulties in the previous two months.
Mining excluding oil and gas also grew 3.1 percent, adding to gains in March after an 8.4-percent decline in February. Wholesale, transportation and warehousing were also up, while construction edged down 0.1 percent.
The April number provides a better-than-expected start to the second quarter. Two months ago, the Bank of Canada predicted annualized growth of 2.5 percent in both the first and second quarters. The actual figure for the first quarter turned out to be 1.9 percent, and analysts had also downgraded expectations for the current quarter.