Imports, exports both decline: StatsCan

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OTTAWA, Ont. — Statistics Canada has revealed that merchandise exports fell 1.7 per cent in September, reaching their lowest level in 19 months, while imports declined at triple that rate.

Cross-border trucking fleets will be among the most affected by the news.

In total, Canadian companies exported more than $33.1 billion in merchandise, the lowest level since February 2000. Imports, meanwhile, dropped 4.6 per cent to $28.4 billion.

The only principal commodity group to avoid a decline was forestry products.

Some industry analysts are blaming the Sept. 11 attacks for the change, noting that a sharp decline occurred immediately after the attacks with levels getting back to normal by month-end. The numbers also indicate that rail gained an edge of trucking during the month, while marine movements of exports increased.

Statistics Canada says that "The September export data show a continuation of the decline that was established in previous months. The drop in imports, however, was considerably more than recent declines. This can be partly attributed to higher imports in August from countries other than the United States. It is, therefore, not possible to distinguish between the effects of Sept. 1 and the general economic decline."

September marked the sixth straight month of decline for exports, following January’s peak of $38.3 billion.

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