Canada suffers record contraction

Canada's GDP contracted by an annualised rate of 7.3% in the first quarter of 2009, the fastest rate on record, according to the Bank of Canada.

The decline reflected lower spending, lower exports and a record rise in unemployment and bankruptcies. The figure is significantly worse than the 4.8% decline that the governor of the central bank, Mark Carney, said he expected for the first quarter as recently as January.

According to the central bank's Monetary Policy Report, published Thursday, GD