Canada's Flaherty sees moderate growth this year

Fri May 4, 2012 2:12pm EDT
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By Rod Nickel

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - Unexpectedly weak U.S. jobs data shows the recovery there is lumpy, but both the U.S. and Canadian economies can still be expected to grow this year, Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said on Friday.

"We anticipated a lumpy recovery this year, if I can put it that way; that we're going to have some months, some quarters that are better than others," he told reporters in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

"There will be moderate growth in the United States, moderate growth in Canada ... some bumps along the road with respect to jobs numbers."

Flaherty spoke after data showed U.S. employers cut back on hiring in April and more people gave up the hunt for work, dimming hopes the economy was turning the corner just as President Barack Obama prepared to launch his re-election campaign.

Separately, Flaherty said he was more concerned about problems in Europe's economy than those in the United States, even though Canada has more limited exposure to the euro zone.

"My No. 1 concern is the weakness in Europe, the sovereign debt crisis in some European countries that has not yet been fully resolved, the weakness of some of the European banks that are in need of recapitalization. This is not a new issue."

In a later interview with a Winnipeg Free Press columnist, Flaherty rejected suggestions by Ontario's Liberal finance minister, Dwight Duncan, that Flaherty wants to replace Tim Hudak as leader of the province's Progressive Conservative Party.

"That's just the government in Ontario doing some speculating about that. I'm not about to stop being the minister of finance for Canada to be an opposition leader in a province," he said.

(With additional writing by Jeffrey Hodgson; Editing by Peter Galloway)

Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney (L) and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty laugh while displaying new Canadian 20 dollar bills made of polymer during a photo opportunity in Ottawa May 2, 2012. REUTERS/Chris Wattie