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Canada Economy

    Economy—overview: As an affluent, high-tech industrial society, Canada today closely resembles the US in its market-oriented economic system, pattern of production, and high living standards. Since World War II, the impressive growth of the manufacturing, mining, and service sectors has transformed the nation from a largely rural economy into one primarily industrial and urban. Real rates of growth have averaged nearly 3.0% since 1993. Unemployment is falling and government budget surpluses are being partially devoted to reducing the large public sector debt. The 1989 US-Canada Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) (which included Mexico) have touched off a dramatic increase in trade and economic integration with the US. With its great natural resources, skilled labor force, and modern capital plant Canada can anticipate solid economic prospects in the future. The continuing constitutional impasse between English- and French-speaking areas is raising the possibility of a split in the federation, making foreign investors somewhat edgy.

    GDP: purchasing power parity—$688.3 billion (1998 est.)

    GDP—real growth rate: 3% (1998 est.)

    GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$22,400 (1998 est.)

    GDP—composition by sector:
    agriculture: 3%
    industry: 31%
    services: 66% (1998)

    Population below poverty line: NA%

    Household income or consumption by percentage share:
    lowest 10%: 2.8%
    highest 10%: 23.8% (1994)

    Inflation rate (consumer prices): 0.9% (1998)

    Labor force: 15.8 million (1998)

    Labor force—by occupation: services 75%, manufacturing 16%, construction 5%, agriculture 3%, other 1% (1997)

    Unemployment rate: 7.8% (December 1998)

    Budget:
    revenues: $121.3 billion
    expenditures: $112.6 billion, including capital expenditures of $1.7 billion (1998)

    Industries: processed and unprocessed minerals, food products, wood and paper products, transportation equipment, chemicals, fish products, petroleum and natural gas

    Industrial production growth rate: 0.8% (1998 est.)

    Electricity—production: 549.162 billion kWh (1996)

    Electricity—production by source:
    fossil fuel: 20.34%
    hydro: 63.59%
    nuclear: 16.05%
    other: 0.02% (1996)

    Electricity—consumption: 511.586 billion kWh (1996)

    Electricity—exports: 45.28 billion kWh (1996)

    Electricity—imports: 7.705 billion kWh (1996)

    Agriculture—products: wheat, barley, oilseed, tobacco, fruits, vegetables; dairy products; forest products; fish

    Exports: $210.7 billion (f.o.b., 1998)

    Exports—commodities: motor vehicles and parts, newsprint, wood pulp, timber, crude petroleum, machinery, natural gas, aluminum, telecommunications equipment

    Exports—partners: US 81%, Japan 4%, UK, Germany, South Korea, Netherlands, China (1997)

    Imports: $202.7 billion (f.o.b., 1998)

    Imports—commodities: machinery and equipment, crude oil, chemicals, motor vehicles and parts, durable consumer goods

    Imports—partners: US 76%, Japan 3%, UK, Germany, France, Mexico, Taiwan, South Korea (1997)

    Debt—external: $253 billion (1996)

    Economic aid—donor: ODA, $2.1 billion (1995)

    Currency: 1 Canadian dollar (Can$) = 100 cents

    Exchange rates: Canadian dollars (Can$) per US$1—1.5192 (January 1999), 1.4835 (1998), 1.3846 (1997), 1.3635 (1996), 1.3724 (1995), 1.3656 (1994)

    Fiscal year: 1 April—31 March

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Revised 1-Mar-99
Copyright © 1999 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)