April 11, 2008 / 6:43 PM / in 10 years

IMF "pessimistic" on Canadian economy: Flaherty

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Canada’s economy is in no danger of falling into a recession but growth will slow considerably this year, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said on Friday.

Flaherty said the International Monetary Fund had a gloomier view of the Canadian economy than the government. The Fund forecast this week that 2008 Canadian economic growth would be 1.3 percent compared to Ottawa’s projection of 1.7 percent.

“I think the IMF has been relatively pessimistic on the Canadian economic performance but even in their estimate, we’re still in a balanced budget position in Canada,” Flaherty told reporters in Washington ahead of a meeting of finance ministers and central bankers from the top industrialized countries.

“We’re going to have relatively small economic growth in Canada this year but we knew that,” he said.

Flaherty said he was “comfortable” with his latest growth projection, made in the budget in February.

“We have in Canada the strongest economic fundamentals in the G7, so we’re prepared to weather the storm.”

Group of Seven officials will discuss ways to alleviate the global credit crisis in their meeting on Friday, after which they will meet with top commercial bankers, including Scotiabank chief executive Rick Waugh.

Reporting by Louise Egan; Editing by Renato Andrade

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