Agricultural and fishing products lead export gains

by Canadian Shipper

Exports of agricultural and fishing products increased by 4.8% in February in leading the way for the resurgence of the export market in January.

Wheat exports rose 40.1%, Statistics Canada records indicate, the result of increased demand from Asia and Latin America. Increased demand from Asia also contributed to increases in exports of barley and meat and meat preparations.

Energy product exports were up, led by a 7.3% gain in natural gas exports as result of higher prices, while crude petroleum exports fell 6.3% to $2.1 billion because of a drop in volumes. Even so, crude export levels remain strong, sitting only $300 million below the record high of November 2004.

Exports of forestry products rose for the second consecutive month, led by a 4.3% gain in exports of lumber and sawmill products, although exports of wood fabricated materials, and other crude wood products also showed increases.

Lumber exports rose 4.4% to $937.7 million, primarily the result of an increase in prices. Prices were driven up by strong housing markets and rebuilding efforts south of the border. Exports of wood pulp and other wood products edged up 0.2%, while newsprint and other paper and paperboard products slipped 0.3%.

Exports of industrial goods and materials rose 1.7% to $7.1 billion. Exports of fertilizers and fertilizer materials exhibited the greatest increase, with potash shipments to China accounting for the majority of this growth.

A 4.3% gain in exports of aircraft and other transportation equipment dominated the increase in the machinery and equipment sector. They were followed closely by a 3.8% jump in exports of industrial and agricultural machinery. Exports of other machinery and equipment, which includes telecommunications equipment and office machines, fell 0.5% to $4.2 billion.

Exports of automotive products, which have been growing for three consecutive months, continued this trend in February, rising 0.6% to $7.6 billion.

Exports of trucks and other motor vehicles increased 1.9% to $1.2 billion while motor vehicle parts advanced 1.2% to $2.4 billion. Exports of passenger autos and chassis remained stable at $4.0 billion.

Exports of other consumer goods rose 0.7% to $1.5 billion, also up for the third consecutive month. The total was less than $100 million below the sector’s record high set in January 2003.

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