December 14, 1997 The Canadian economy expanded at an average rate of over 4 per cent through the second half of 1996 and the first three quarters of 1997. The expansion was supported by accommodative monetary conditions, substantial employment gains, low inflation, an improved fiscal postion, and strong U.S. demand. These factors will continue to underpin a scenario of sustained growth in output and employment in the period ahead. With the situation in Asia still evolving, it is difficult to be precise about the size of its overall impact on Canada. At the same time, there have been some positive developments including stronger-than-anticipated economic performance in the United States, Mexico, and Europe and declining longer-term interest rates in most industrial countries. The core rate of inflation slipped slightly below the 1 to 3 per cent target range in the closing months of 1997. With the unwinding of some of the special factors that contributed to the decline, trend inflation is expected to move back inside the range in coming months.