WRAPUP 2-Hockey helps Canada's economy grow again in January

Thu Mar 28, 2013 11:32am EDT
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* January growth solid at 0.2 pct after two weak quarters

* Manufacturing sector was main driver of growth

* February producer prices up 1.4 pct; raw materials 2.2 pct

* Q1 growth seen well below 2.3 pct central bank forecast

By Louise Egan

OTTAWA, March 28 (Reuters) - Canada's economy bounced back from a year-end slump in January thanks to factories, mines and the return of professional ice hockey, but growth still looks too weak to match the central bank's upbeat outlook and interest rates are unlikely to budge until 2014.

Gross domestic product expanded by 0.2 percent in the month, Statistics Canada said on Thursday, following the weakest two quarters since the 2008-09 recession and a 0.2 percent contraction in December.

A comeback in the manufacturing sector helped spark the turnaround, along with strength in the mining and energy sectors and the delayed start of the country's beloved hockey season after National Hockey League players and owners settled a months-long labor dispute.

The data suggests the economy is starting the year on a more solid footing after disappointing 0.6 percent annualized growth in the fourth quarter.   Continued...