UPDATE 1-Manufacturing boosts Canada’s economy in January

* GDP grows 0.5 percent in January as expected

* Growth led by manufacturing, transportation, wholesale
(Adds details)

OTTAWA, March 31 (Reuters) – Canadian manufacturers
expanded production at the fastest rate since 2003 in January,
boosting the overall economy by 0.5 percent, Statistics Canada
said on Thursday.

The strong start to 2011 reaffirmed market expectations
that the recovery will continue at a fast pace after the
economy surged 3.3 percent on annualized basis in the fourth
quarter.

The January growth rate, which was identical to December’s
rate, matched the average forecast of analysts in a Reuters
poll.

Manufacturing was the biggest driver of growth in January,
expanding 2.8 percent on a pickup in demand for fabricated
metal products and motor vehicles. The last time the sector
grew that fast was in September 2003.

Stronger trucking and rail activity led to 1.2 percent
growth in the transportation and warehousing sector. Wholesale
trade rose 0.7 percent on autos and building materials.
(Reporting by Louise Egan and Howaida Sorour; editing by
Jeffrey Benkoe)

UPDATE 1-Manufacturing boosts Canada’s economy in January