INDUSTRY PULSE: Exports dip during summer shutdowns

by Canadian Shipper

Exports of all principal commodity groupings fell in July, except for energy products which are currently riding a four-month wave of price increases, Statistics Canada reports.

Automotive exports fell in July, the traditional month for plant vacation shut-downs and model year changeovers.

"This year, however, longer than usual shut-downs coupled with a work stoppage in the parts supply chain resulted in a 4.6% decline in exports of automotive products to $7.6 billion," the government statistics gathering agency noted in its report on the July numbers.

Exports of industrial goods and materials fell 3.8% to $6.6 billion, down from record export levels in June. In spite of soaring demand pushing up prices for metal ores and alloys, production has been scaled back at several facilities for maintenance and labour-related work stoppages. Metal ores exports declined by 27.5% to less than half a billion dollars, while metals and alloys exports fell by 1.7% to $2.1 billion.

Exports of machinery and equipment declined 1.2% to $8.2 billion. A buoyant market for aircraft and other transportation equipment resulted in a 13.5% increase to $2.0 billion worth of exports in this commodity grouping. These increases were not enough to overcome a 4.0% drop in exports of industrial and agricultural machinery to $1.7 billion, and a 5.6% decline in other machinery and equipment to $4.5 billion.

Plant closures and price volatility resulted in a 2.0% drop in exports of forestry products. Lumber and sawmill product exports fell 6.6% to $1.8 billion as lumber yards in the United States drew down inventory.

Natural gas prices, which rose for the fourth month in a row, were the driving force behind a 1.9% increase in energy exports to $6.3 billion. Natural gas exports increased 7.8% to $2.7 billion in Julythe highest level since February 2001. All other energy product exports declined.

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