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INDUSTRY PULSE: Forest products rebound to lead increase in exports across many sectors

OTTAWA, Ont. -- In the last seven months of 2004, exports of forestry products dropped nearly 15% to settle at $3.0...

OTTAWA, Ont. — In the last seven months of 2004, exports of forestry products dropped nearly 15% to settle at $3.0 billion in December. In January, however,

Exports of forestry products presented the most positive surprise in January, reversing their 15% drop over the past seven months.

Private housing starts in the United States were unusually high in January, perhaps as a result of rebuilding after the hurricane season. This surge in construction contributed to the increased demand for other wood fabricated materials (+$39.6 million).

Newsprint paper exports also grew in January, increasing 3.4% to $519.0 million. This increase was entirely a result of higher prices as volumes declined slightly.

Strong automotive exports at the end of 2004 have carried on into January. Exports of automotive products grew to $7.5 billion in January, adding another 1.3% to December’s jump.

Exports of agricultural and fishing products increased by 4.4%, reaching $2.5 billion in January. Wheat exports increased 5.3% to $252.0 million, nearing the level held prior to October’s decline to $175.6 million. Exports of other agricultural and fishing products, which include fish and fish preparations and other crude vegetable products, jumped 4.3% to $2.2 billion.

Exports of other consumer goods, industrial goods and materials, and machinery and equipment each also showed increases.

The only product group to decline in exports in January was energy products. However, this decline was large enough to offset the increases in all other trade sectors.

Energy exports decreased by 12.5% to $5.9 billion. Natural gas exports fell 16.7% to $2.5 billion, accounting for well over half of the drop. Exports of crude petroleum fell by 11.3% to $2.2 billion while other energy product exports declined 4.1% to $1.2 billion.

Export prices for natural gas and crude petroleum both dropped considerably in January. The decreases were entirely a result of these lower prices as volumes actually increased.

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