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INDUSTRY PULSE: Automotive and metal ore exports post gains

OTTAWA, Ont. -- Though energy exports ensured a decline in overall exports in November, gains were recorded in Cana...

OTTAWA, Ont. — Though energy exports ensured a decline in overall exports in November, gains were recorded in Canada’s automotive exports and metal ore exports, Statistics Canada reports.

That’s good news for the many motor carriers worried about the health of their automotive customer base.

Energy exports as a whole fell 11.1% to $8.4 billion as a decrease in petroleum and coal products accompanied the drop in natural gas. In contrast, crude petroleum gained ground in November, increasing 7.1% to a new high of $2.9 billion.

Despite the drop, the value of energy exports was still the highest among all export sectors in November.

Two other sectors (automobile and machinery) both registered increases to $8.0 billion. For the automotive sector, it was the highest level since $8.1 billion recorded in June 2004.

“Though reports of restructuring have led to headlines questioning the strength of the Canadian auto industry, automotive exports have been robust in past months, recording their seventh successive increase in November,” Statistics Canada commented in its Daily Bulletin.

Passenger auto exports, which led this climb, jumped 5.9%. Auto sales in the United States have also been robust in recent months, with many of the models that are in high demand being produced in Ontario.

Metal ore exports jumped 19.5%, with shipments of iron ore, copper ore, and nickel ore leading the way. As well, exports of primary iron and steel posted gains, reaching a record high of $67.5 million.

British Columbia’s exports from January to November 2005 have surpassed the total 2004 value for the province, with rising metal ore exports being a contributing factor. The main reason for British Columbia’s growth in 2005 has been soaring energy prices. Other energy-exporting provinces, such as New Brunswick, Saskatchewan and Alberta, have also surpassed their 2004 totals.

For the first time in eight months, exports of live animals failed to register a gain, dropping 11.0% to $191.1 million. Live cattle exports had been pushing up live animal exports since the lifting of the US ban on cattle under the age of 30 months in July, but shipments fell back slightly in November.

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