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INDUSTRY PULSE: Crude petroleum leads gain in export volumes

OTTAWA, Ont. -- Exports to the United States climbed 2.4% in July while imports edged up 0.2%, according to the lat...


OTTAWA, Ont. — Exports to the United States climbed 2.4% in July while imports edged up 0.2%, according to the latest Statistics Canada records.

Canadian companies exported $2.5 billion worth of crude petroleum in July, up 7.5% from June. The vast majority went to the United States. Crude petroleum exports have increased for five consecutive months, setting a new record high with each gain. Since February, they have increased at an average monthly rate of 6.1%. They may increase further to compensate for the U.S.’s loss of oil production since Hurricane Katrina, provided there is enough capacity left among Canadian oil producers to handle the increased demand.

In February, exports of crude petroleum stood at $1.9 billion. Though a volume increase explained the increase in July, price increases have been driving the climb in crude petroleum exports.

In total, energy exports hit more than $7.2 billion, up 8.7% from June. Crude petroleum accounted for just over one-third of all energy exports in July. Natural gas exports account for over 40% and the remainder is comprised of exports of other energy products, which includes coal and electricity.

Natural gas exports also rose substantially in July, up 15.8% to $3.0 billion. Aside from a small decline in May, natural gas exports have increased each month in 2005. Export levels remain well below the record-high of $4.4 billion reached in January 2001.

Exports of other energy products edged up 0.1% as declining exports of coal and electricity were offset by increased exports of gasoline. The drop in coal exports in July followed four strong monthly increases.

Exports of live cattle increased only slightly in July, despite the United States lifting the export ban on live cattle over the age of 30 months on July 18. According to industry reports, the Canadian meat processing industry has been increasing capacity since the onset of the export ban, thereby offering Canada’s farmers a domestic market for their live cattle.

Exports of forestry products tumbled 4.3%, with lumber and sawmill products leading the drop. This was the fifth consecutive month of decline in the export of lumber and sawmill products. These exports, which equalled $1.5 billion in July, peaked in May 2004 at $1.9 billion.

Automotive exports remained virtually flat at just over $7.1 billion. Sustained foreign demand for heavy trucks offset declines in exports of passenger vehicles and motor vehicle parts. Exports of passenger vehicles were increasing in the first two quarters of 2004; however, the trend since June 2004 has been downward.


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