Bank drops GDP growth forecast three-tenths to 1.7% but sees pick-up in 2014TORONTO, Dec. 19, 2012 /CNW/ - Without key domestic economic drivers to shelter Canada from a continued weak global economy, GDP growth will slip to a very mediocre 1.7 per cent in 2013, finds CIBC's latest Canadian economic forecast. "Having earlier tapped fiscal stimulus and a housing boom to shelter the economy from sluggishness abroad, the country's ability to set its own course is now much more limited," says Avery Shenfeld, chief economist at CIBC. "Escaping economic mediocrity will depend on the kindness of strangers, with exports and related capital spending critical to Canada's fate in 2013-14." Mr. Shenfeld says that the global economy continues to face significant headwinds and as a result he has cut his global outlook for 2013 by two-tenths to three per cent. "It's too early to get the full benefits of policy stimulus in Asia, Europe is too stubborn to soften its fiscal drag enough and amplify ECB bond purchases, and Washington is too wedded to getting going on fiscal tightening stateside, if not the full fiscal cliff." He adds that while Chinese GDP could show improvement towards an eight per cent pace as early as Q4 of 2012, it is not likely to have much of an impact on other economies as Chinese imports are currently showing no growth at all on a year-over-year basis. As such, he expects there to be a delay before crude oil and other resources rebound in price. "The absence of a helping hand from abroad will leave Canada exposed," says Mr. Shenfeld. "Blaming temporary disruptions in energy production in Q3 for recent disappointments misses the point: GDP excluding resource extraction has also been decelerating, the loss of home building momentum will offset greater oil output. "Our downgraded 1.7 per cent growth forecast for 2013 will trail the U.S. pace and is three ticks slower than our last projection. Household debt burdens are keeping consumption bounded by the moderate growth pace for real incomes. Governments also face leaner-than-expected coffers due to downward revisions to nominal GDP expectations, and will be introducing further spending restraints or tax hikes for fiscal 2013."