Import volumes unable to maintain record pace

by Canadian Shipper

Canadian imports were not able to keep up with their record-high pace set in May, tumbling 3.7% in June.

Canadian companies imported $30.4 billion worth of merchandise, the decline from May resulting from lower imports of machinery and equipment, Statistics Canada reports. Other declines occurred in automotive products and consumer goods, offsetting gains in energy, industrial goods and materials and forestry product imports.

Declines in the machinery and equipment sector accounted for most of the $1.2-billion drop in total imports in June from their record high in May. Widespread decreases were led by office machines and equipment (-13.1%, which was partly price-induced), telecommunication and related equipment (-11.9%) and industrial machinery (-8.1%).

Imports of consumer goods fell $206 million, ending three months of steady gains. Miscellaneous end products, which include pharmaceutical products, were at new highs before declining nearly $195 million in June.

Imports of home furnishings show a similar pattern, after declining in June from record highs. Furnishings have been in heavy demand because of Canada’s hot housing market.

Imports of automotive products fell 2.6% to $6.5 billion as declines in motor vehicle parts and passenger car purchases were only slightly offset by higher truck imports. Truck imports, which hit $1.2 billion, their highest level ever, rose 12.1% during May and June.

The declines in imports in June were tempered by increases in energy, industrial goods and materials, and forestry products.

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