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INDUSTRY PULSE: Exports hit record peak in December

OTTAWA, Ont. -- Exports surged to a new monthly peak in December, as well as to a new annual record for 2005, despi...


OTTAWA, Ont. — Exports surged to a new monthly peak in December, as well as to a new annual record for 2005, despite a Canadian dollar that hit its highest level since the early 1990s, Statistics Canada reports.

Canadian companies exported merchandise worth $41.3 billion in December, up 3.9% from November. With foreign goods cheaper to purchase because of the rising loonie, imports rose 2.3% to $33.6 billion.

Exports destined for the United States surged 3.9%, while imports from south of the border jumped 3.0%.

“Canada’s exporters showed considerable resilience last year as the loonie jumped from an average US 77 cents in 2004 to US 83 cents in 2005. Real exports, that is, exports adjusted for price movements, advanced to a record high of $423.6 billion compared with $408.9 billion in 2004,” commented Statistics Canada in its Daily Bulletin. “Not surprisingly, real imports also hit a record high, rising 8.8% to $413.8 billion. The higher dollar meant the time was ripe for investment in foreign machinery and equipment, as well as for higher Canadian demand for consumer products from abroad.”

Exports to and imports from all principal trading areas were up in 2005 compared to the year before. Of the principal trading areas, the United States posted the largest gains for exports, up nearly $20 billion to $369.3 billion, while “all other countries,” in which China is the dominant force, registered the largest increase (+23.7%) in imports.

China is Canada’s fourth-largest export market and second-largest source for our imports. Canadian companies imported $29.5 billion in merchandise from China last year, a 22.4% gain, in the wake of booming Canadian demand for computers and accessories, cell phones, high definition televisions, clothing and a host of other household products. Canada’s exports to China rose 6.4% to $7.1 billion, led by increases in Newfoundland iron ore, British Columbia copper ore, as well as Saskatchewan potash. Exports of wheat fell to half of the 2004 value, moderating the increase in exports.

Overall, energy products comprised Canada’s top growing export commodity last year in terms of value. Exports surged 28.6% as back-to-back hurricanes on the US Gulf Coast drove down the supply of natural gas and crude petroleum and sent prices soaring.


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