PLANT

Economy: Summer stats point to moderate economic growth


September 14, 2010
by PLANT STAFF

Canada’s economy continues along a path of moderate growth. Statistics Canada reports show manufacturing sales edged up 0.1% in June to $44.8 billion, the 11th increase since sales bottomed out 13 months ago, while wholesale sales declined 0.3 per cent. Merchandise imports and exports tumbled in June widening Canada’s global trade deficit and the composite index slowed in July. Here are some highlights.

Manufacturing sales: Constant-dollar manufacturing sales rose 0.7% to $41.7 billion in June, 15.3% higher than their lowest recession level in May 2009.

Sales were up in nine of 21 industries accounting for 50.1% of total sales, but Statistics Canada said increases were largely offset by declines in the remaining 12 industries. Industries reporting increases include furniture (6.4%); paper (4.8%), mostly due to higher sales volumes; fabricated metal products (2%); and chemical manufacturing (1.2%).

Composite index: The composite leading index showed a slower 0.4% gain in July following a 0.7% increase in June. Much of the drag came from the household sector, down 4.1% because of declines in housing starts and sales. This contributed to a 0.6% dip in furniture and appliance sales, and a fifth consecutive decline in durable goods. However, manufacturing continues to recover with new orders for durable goods rising 2.2%, the sixth consecutive monthly increase.

Trade: Merchandise imports and exports declined in June widening Canada’s trade deficit with the world from $695 million in May to $1.1 billion.

Exports were down by 2.5% from $34.4 billion in May to $33.5 billion. Prices contracted 1.2% and volumes declined 1.3%, the sixth consecutive monthly decrease.

Two-thirds of the drop came from industrial goods and materials followed by energy products and automotive products; however, machinery and equipment exports showed a 3.7% gain.

Imports declined from $35 billion in May to $34.6 billion, due primarily to lower imports of energy products. Excluding energy, imports edged ahead by 0.9 percent.

Import prices fell 1.2% although volumes held steady after four consecutive monthly increases.

Wholesale sales: Wholesale sales, much of which reflect imports, declined 0.3% to $43.9 billion in June, with four of the seven wholesale subsectors posting declines.

Volume was down 0.1% with the greatest decrease coming from the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector. It fell 2.3% to $8.9 billion in June. Declines were reported in all four industries in this subsector, with the other machinery, equipment and supplies industry posting the largest drop of 4.5 per cent.