Canada\'s economy slowed in the fourth quarter, posting an annualized growth rate of 1.8 percent following a revised 4.2 percent increase in the previous quarter, Statistics Canada said Friday. This brought the gross domestic product for the year to 2.5 percent, the government agency said, slightly higher than the central bank\'s forecast of 2.4 percent. In the last three months of 2011, consumer spending and business investment increased while new housing construction declined following two quarterly increases. Canadians spent more in the quarter on transportation and communication, new and used motor vehicles and car repairs, furniture, clothing and footwear, and entertainment. Consumption of electricity, natural gas and other fuels declined, however, largely due to unusually warm weather. The manufacturing, retail and oil and gas extraction sectors were the main contributors to growth. Gains also occurred in professional, scientific and technical services, the public sector and construction. Mining excluding oil and gas extraction decreased during the quarter, mainly because of a decline in output at potash mines as a result of lower foreign demand for fertilizer. Utilities, wholesale trade, and the finance and insurance sector also decreased.