Ottawa (AFP) - Canada's economy grew 0.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014 as households boosted expenditure, the government statistical agency said Tuesday.
Gross domestic product (GDP) beat analysts' expectations but was still down from the previous quarter's 0.8 percent growth.
Expressed at an annualized rate, GDP expanded 2.4 percent, said Statistics Canada.
Car prices dropped, but upkeep cost more with increases in the price of fuel and lubricants, spare parts and accessories for vehicles, as well as maintenance and repairs.
Water, electricity, gas and insurance costs were also up.
Business investment in machinery and equipment decreased after two consecutive quarterly increases. Purchases of software, communications and audio and video equipment were down.
Lower real estate activity also resulted in reduced home ownership transfer costs, while new home construction and renovation was up.
Exports were down. Imports were up. GDP for the year, meanwhile, rose to 2.5 percent, from the previous year's 2.0 percent.
This uptick will ease pressure on the Bank of Canada to lower its key lending rate at its next scheduled meeting on Wednesday, after dropping it to 0.75 percent in January when it was feared the economy faced a major slowdown over a plunge in oil prices.
According to Statistics Canada, household spending, business investment in plant and equipment, mining and oil and gas extraction, wholesale and retail trade, finance and insurance, the public sector, transportation and warehousing services, professional services as well as accommodation and food services were up for the year.
But falling crop production brought down the agriculture and forestry sector.