Three sectors main contributors to drop in exports

by Canadian Shipper

On a sectoral basis, exports fell in three major areas: machinery and equipment, automotive products and energy products.

Merchandise exports decreased for all trade sectors, except for a 1.4% gain in industrial goods and materials, Statistics Canada reports.

Exports of automotive products dipped 1.6% to $7.4 billion. Exports of trucks and other motor vehicles recorded the largest drop from September, a decline of $90.5 million, or 6.7%, to $1.3 billion. Passenger car exports fell a slight 0.8% to $3.7 billion, while motor vehicle part exports remained unchanged at $2.4 billion.

Machinery and equipment exports ended two months of gains, declining 6.2% to just over $7.0 billion. The largest drops were in the areas of agricultural machinery and other equipment and tools, both of which fell by $128 million.

Total exports of energy products fell $8.5% in October to $4.7 billion. Exports of natural gas fell by more than $300 million, a 12.8% decline, as a result of lower prices and volumes. Prices declined 5%, as consumers got a breather before the peak winter demand season arrives.

Crude petroleum exports slipped for the third month in a row, falling 2.8% in October to $1.6 billion. Prices dropped 6.8%, while shipment volumes increased since September.

After climbing steadily throughout the third quarter, exports of forestry products eased 5.1% in October to $2.9 billion. Strong US housing demand, the largest market for these products, has kept exports escalating. However, the end of peak construction season may have had a dampening affect and contributed to these declines. Lumber exports fell 10.3% to $782 million, mainly the result of a 6.3% decline in prices after four months of hikes.

There were also declines for newsprint, paper and wood pulp. The only increase (+1.3%) came in other wood fabricated materials, which include plywood and particle board. Exports of these products have been increasing since April, setting record levels along the way – $641 million in October – as producers are enjoying high prices for their products.

Agricultural exports ended three months of gains by falling 6.1% in October to $2.4 billion. Exports of wheat and of other agricultural and fishing products both fell by about $77 million. Most agricultural products dropped.

Offsetting these declines, meat and meat preparations gained 22.8% following a 47.6% surge in September, attributable mainly to beef exports to the United States and other countries, as borders reopened to certain Canadian beef products. Barley exports jumped 40%, up for the fourth consecutive month, as producers sent just over $20 million abroad in October.

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