Offshore equipment purchases sustain imports in July

by Canadian Shipper

While exports have been taking a beating over the summer months, imports have been holding steady.

Imports were virtually unchanged in July from June at about $30.2 billion, as increases in the machinery and equipment sector offset declines in the automotive and energy sectors, according to the latest Statistics Canada report. Imports have remained generally flat since setting a record high in December 2000.

The arrival of offshore drilling water craft to the east coast pushed machinery and equipment imports up 5.3% to $10.0 billion. However, aircraft, engines and parts imports declined 17.9% to $784.3 million.

Imports of engines, turbines and motors, used in electricity generation plants, contracted 11.9% to $359.2 million after two months of solid gains.

Automotive products imports fell 4.3% to $6.3 billion as manufacturers, retooling for the 2002 model year, sold from existing inventories.

A 3.3% drop in imports of communication and related equipment to $1.6 billion extended this sector’s decline to seven months. The telecom sector has fallen 37.6% from the record high levels reported in December 2000. Office machines and equipment, primarily office computer equipment, rose 2.6% to $1.5 billion, breaking a three-month slide.

Agricultural and fishing products fell 3.6% to $1.6 billion in July. Meat and meat preparation imports dropped 13.2% to $128.7 million and fish and marine animals imports declined 19.5% to $141.1 million.

Energy imports fell 8.5% to $1.4 billion in July, reflecting high inventories of crude oil and reduced demand for jet fuel for business travel.

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