Canada predicts slower growth, deficit to climb in 2020

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Dec 17 2019 07:03 AM

A For Sale sign at a downtown office building in Calgary, Alberta, Canada Dec. 6, 2019. Todd Korol, Reuters

OTTAWA — Canada's finance minister predicted on Monday that growth will come in at 1.6 percent in 2020, the best of any G7 country besides the United States, but the deficit will also increase.

Growth in 2019 also reached 1.7 percent, Bill Morneau said in his first update on the economy since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberals lost their majority in the House of Commons following October elections.

"In 2020, we expect that we're likely to be the second-strongest economy in terms of growth among G7 countries," he told a press conference where he welcomed a "strong and growing" Canadian economy.

However, he said the Trudeau administration didn't foresee a balanced budget in the near future. For the 2019-2020 fiscal year, the deficit will amount to Can$26.6 billion ($20.2 billion), up from the Can$19.8 billion predicted in the March 2019 budget.

The government projects the deficit dropping to Can$11.6 billion in 2024-2025.

Morneau added that Canada's debt-to-GDP ratio of 31 percent is the lowest of the G7 countries, and that the country is not at risk of a recession.

"We're proposing to increase our deficit with additional investments, because we know that this continuing investment has a positive impact on our economy and on Canadians," the minister said.

Keeping an election promise, Trudeau's government also announced last week a series of tax cuts for the middle class.

© Agence France-Presse