GDP 5% ahead of last year

March 4, 2010   by PLANT staff

OTTAWA: The economic recovery appears to be coming along nicely, and profits are up, even for manufacturers, according to Statistics Canada’s latest economic reports.

Canadian corporations profits increased 7.9% ($4.4 billion) during the fourth quarter to $60.1 billion. Manufacturers’ share was up for a third consecutive quarter at $11.2 billion, an increase of 4.4 per cent. Top contributors were chemicals, plastics and rubber; wood and paper; and primary metal, while motor vehicle and parts manufacturers saw profits drop $583 million.

Statistics Canada reported 1.2% growth in real GDP in the final quarter of 2009, a 5% jump from a year earlier. December’s growth was 0.6%, the fourth consecutive monthly increase.

Goods producing industries were up 1%, driven by manufacturing and mining. Investment in plants and equipment was down 2.3% after a 1.6% increase in the third quarter. Machinery and equipment decreased as well by 2.4% after a 5.3% gain the previous quarter.

Exports of goods and services were up 3.7%, led by automotive products (13%), industrial goods and materials (6.9%) and energy products (5.7%).

Industrial product prices rose 0.3% in January. Petroleum and coal prices were the biggest contributors with a 4.4% rebound from a 1.4% drop in December.

Raw materials prices were up 3.3% after a 1.7% decline in December, driven by mineral fuels, particularly crude oil (up 5.6%), which had dropped 4.9% in December.

Higher demand drove up non-ferrous metals prices, particularly copper concentrates (6%), zinc concentrates (3. %) and nickel concentrates (6.9%).

Manufacturing sales were up 1.6% in December to $43 billion in 11 of 21 industries with much of the gain in transportation equipment.

Aerospace products and parts led with a 28.1% increase following a 17.1% drop in November. Vehicle sales have continued to rise since January 2009, up 4.4% in December. Petroleum and coal were up 2.4% but non-metallic mineral products declined 6.4 per cent.

Inventories were down 1% to $59 billion in 17 of 21 industries, the tenth monthly decline in 2009. The inventory-to-sales ratio declined to a more normal 1.37 and unfilled orders rose 2.3% to $52.4 billion.

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