Machinery and equipment exports lead January’s gain

by Canadian Shipper

OTTAWA, Ont. — A large increase in machinery and equipment secured Januarys gain in exports, but was aided by increases in industrial goods, agricultural products as well as forestry, according to Statistics Canada.

Declines were recorded for both energy products and automotive products.

Machinery and equipment exports increased 5.4% to $8.7 billion, on the strength of transportation equipment, such as drilling equipment and fishing vessels. Information technology equipment and industrial machinery also contributed to the jump.

Industrial goods and materials increased 1.7% to a record $8.9 billion in January, the sector’s ninth consecutive rise. Record-high exports of metal ores pushed up the sector, as prices continued to climb and shipments of fertilizers increased.

Exports of agricultural products rose 3.3% to a record high $2.9 billion, surpassing the old record of June 2004. Increased exports of soybeans, canola and corn accounted for the gain.

Woodpulp and lumber were both up in January, contributing to a 1.9% increase for the forestry sector. Newsprint exports were stable while sawmill products registered a decline.

Exports of energy products fell 2.0% to $7.1 billion for the month, dragged down by lower crude, coal and refined petroleum export values. While both crude petroleum and refined petroleum exports saw values fall, as a drop in prices offset a volume increase, a large drop in export volumes explained the decline for coal.

The recent export growth for automotive products came to an end in January, declining 2.5% to $7.3 billion. Lower auto shipments accounted for the decline, falling 8.1% to $3.7 billion. This followed a strong fourth quarter in 2006, during which new models were distributed across North America, and coincided with reports of weakening auto sales in the United States. This drop offset strong truck exports for the month, which were up 8.6% to $1.5 billion, and a 1.0% increase in motor vehicle parts to $2.2 billion.

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