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TORONTO _ Canadian sales of cars and light trucks this year are expected to dip from last year’s all-time high, mostly because of weaker economic conditions in Ontario, Scotiabank said Friday in a report.
The bank’s automotive outlook projected that 2018 could end a five-year string of successive records that included 2.04 million vehicles sold in 2017 _ largely fuelled by demand in Ontario as well as a revival in Prairie provinces last year as they overcame the oil-price crisis.
Scotiabank doesn’t forecast much of a pullback this year _ about 40,000 vehicles.
But the bank expects Ontario _ which has been the major driver behind recent growth _ will put the brakes to Canadian auto sales this year, accounting for about two-thirds of the national sales decline.
Ontario’s purchases will “ease off” partly because a softer real estate market in the province will erode use of home equity loans to purchase vehicles, Scotiabank economist Carlos Gomes said in an interview…

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