OTTAWA, Ont. — Imports finished the year with their fourth monthly increase in a row in December, as five of the seven import sectors registered gains, Statistics Canada reports. December’s increase marked the 10th increase in the past 12 months.
Imports of industrial goods and materials climbed 9.1% to $7.0 billion. The growth was widespread as each major group saw imports rise. Metals and metal ores experienced the biggest gain, rising 20.4% to $2.2 billion. Canadian companies have been importing unrefined metals to supplement domestic supply in order to ensure that mining output keeps pace with high demand for refined materials from the United States, the European Union and Asia.
Import levels for unrefined metals have been fairly steady in recent months. However, imports dropped in November and this drop was compensated for by a larger-than-usual jump in December.
Chemicals and plastics also reached a record high in December, increasing 7.7% to $2.6 billion. The rise came as record levels were registered for organic chemicals, plastic materials and other chemicals and related products. Imports of machinery and equipment edged up 1.8% to $9.6 billion. Demand for excavating machinery continued to climb as a result of increased mining and oil and gas extraction in the Western provinces, leading to a record high of $278.2 million in December.
Imports of automotive products rebounded from a November decline, rising 1.7% to $6.6 billion. Motor vehicle parts were responsible for the majority of the rise, jumping 3.1% to $3.4 billion though imports of trucks and other motor vehicles also registered a 4.3% gain. Imports of passenger autos and chassis fell for the third straight month, dropping 2.5% in December.
Imports of other consumer goods fell 1.1% to $4.2 billion in December. However, imports of apparel and apparel accessories rose 3.0% to a record high $690.1 million.
Imports of energy products fell 4.0% from November’s record high. The drop was a result of a 15.8% fall in shipments of crude petroleum to $1.9 billion. However, coal and other related products had an extremely strong month with imports soaring to a record $619.1 million.
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