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Automotive sector declines cripple November export performance

OTTAWA, Ont. -- A setback in Canadian exports of machinery and equipment, automotive products and industrial goods...


OTTAWA, Ont. — A setback in Canadian exports of machinery and equipment, automotive products and industrial goods and materials, accounting for 61% of total exports, in November was large enough to offset increases in all other categories.<br>
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The largest drop occurred in automotive products, down 5.7% to $6.9 billion, Statistics Canada reported this morning. Decreases were widespread, but the $3.3 billion reported for passenger autos was 8.7% below October levels and represented the lion’s share of declines. <br>
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Machinery and equipment exports declined for the second consecutive month, falling 1.8% in November to $7.0 billion. This was 13.3% lower than November 2002. Exports of aircraft, engines and parts have slowed throughout the third quarter and again in November, falling 19.9% to $973 million, but are still posting gains on a year-over-year basis. <br>
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After two months of growth, exports of industrial goods and materials posted a 0.6% drop in November. Weakness was concentrated mainly in metal ores, slipping 20.1% to $426 million. Offsetting these declines was the continued strength in nickel and alloys, up 18.9%, and a gain in exports of other crude non-metallic minerals. Month-to-month changes of this magnitude are not uncommon for these commodity areas.<br>
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All other sectors reported export increases in November, led by energy product growth, as crude petroleum gained 9.3% on a small price increase, as harsh winter weather set in along the northeastern seaboard. Electricity exports recouped some of the large drops of recent months, jumping 32.3% to $86 million. However, total energy exports rose only 0.4% as an easing in natural gas prices and sufficient US inventory levels decreased its exports 10.7% and exerted some downward pressure on the energy sector.<br>
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After a slight dip in October, exports of forestry product resumed their climb, up 1.4% in November to just under $3 billion. Lumber exports remained relatively unchanged, while other wood fabricated materials (plywood and particle board) pushed its record level to $692 million. The 6.6% monthly increment was the eighth consecutive rise, resulting from strong prices and sustained US housing demand.<br>
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Agricultural and fishing products rose 4.9% to $2.5 billion, as most commodities reported export gains, the largest being fish and fish preparations, canola, meat and meat preparations. <br>


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