WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Monday it was very hard to predict whether the worst of the global credit crisis was over and said he anticipated uncertainty in financial markets in the months to come.
Harper, repeating that Canada's fundamentals were strong, also told reporters he was reasonably confident Canada would be able to weather the credit crisis relatively well.
Asked whether the worst of the credit crunch was over, Harper replied: "It's very difficult for me to say on that. We would certainly hope that's the case ... but we do anticipate there will be uncertainty in financial markets, at least, in the months to come."
The government has been saying for months that the U.S. slowdown -- sparked by a subprime mortgage crisis that quickly spread -- would hit Canada's economy.
Harper said the strength of the Canadian economy and its financial system explained "why we have seen to this point comparatively little effect in Canada of the economic uncertainty, particularly south of the border."
He added: "I think, generally, we can be reasonably confident that Canada will weather this storm relatively well but I wouldn't want to predict that it is necessarily over at this point internationally."
Reporting by Roberta Rampton, writing by David Ljunggren; editing by Rob Wilson