Canada's economy slowed at the start of this year, as higher household spending was offset by lower government and business outlays, the government statistical agency said today. 

Growth was halved in the first quarter to 0.3% from 0.7% in the last three months of 2013, Statistics Canada said. 

At an annualised rate, gross domestic product (GDP) was 1.2%. Analysts had forecast a decline, but were expecting better results.

According to Statistics Canada, household spending was up a mere 0.3% - the smallest gain in four quarters - while business investment in factories, equipment, government expenditures and exports all fell slightly.