Economic growth slowed in the fourth quarter to cap off year of 1.8% growth

The Canadian economy expanded at an annualized pace of 0.4 per cent over the final three months of 2018 as the country posted its weakest quarterly growth since the middle of 2016.

Statistics Canada's latest figures for real gross domestic product show that for all of last year the economy grew 1.8 per cent, which was slower than the three per cent expansion in 2017.

The fourth-quarter reading of 0.4 per cent came in lower than Canada's two per cent growth in the third quarter.

Economists had expected growth at an annualized pace of 1.2 per cent for the final quarter of 2018, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.

Statistics Canada says the late-2018 slowdown was mostly due to a 2.7 per cent contraction, on a quarter-over-quarter basis, in investment spending, while overall exports saw a slight decline and household spending slowed for a second straight quarter.

The agency also released downward revisions for the first half of 2018 that dropped the second-quarter reading to 2.6 per cent and the first-quarter number to 1.3 per cent.

The lower GDP figure for all of 2018 reflected a slowdown in most categories, including weaker readings for household consumption, housing investment and business investment.