No sign of U.S.-Canada private sector rebound: Ottawa

Mon Sep 21, 2009 3:31pm EDT
 
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - There is no sign yet of a private sector recovery in the United States or Canada, which is why it is important to continue with stimulus programs, a senior Canadian official said on Monday.

"This recovery is fragile and I think it would be premature to say that there's a private sector-led recovery. Certainly, the stimulus is playing a very important role," the official told a briefing when asked about signs of a private sector recovery in the United States and Canada.

"That's the key reason why it's extremely important to follow through on the commitment and keep stimulus going until there's a firmly established private sector recovery. We're not there yet," he said.

Leaders from the Group of 20 nations meet this week in Pittsburgh and officials say they are likely to agree to co-operate when it comes to wind down their stimulus programs.

Dimitri Soudas, a spokesman for Prime Minister Stephen Harper, said the recovery was still fragile and stressed the need to stick to stimulus measures.

"It's important that the G20 leaders begin the discussion around an exit strategy (in Pittsburgh). We're not at the point of implementation," he told the briefing.

"This is an initial discussion on what will need to be done at some point in the future regarding exit strategies."

Canada's government announced a two-year C$46.6 billion ($43.1 billion) stimulus program this January and Soudas said Ottawa would stick to its plan.

"The job (of stimulus) will be finished when we actually start seeing tangible recovery, when we start seeing growth in the economy that is for more than one month, or one quarter ... and ultimately the creation of jobs," he said.

($1=$1.08 Canadian)

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; editing by Rob Wilson)