INDUSTRY PULSE: Strong export finish led by energy, aircraft and metals

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OTTAWA, Ont. December’s export growth was fuelled largely by energy exports.

Energy exports, which depressed export growth in November, rebounded 11.2% to a record high $9.3 billion in December, Statistics Canada records show. Excluding energy, exports would have grown at only half the pace they did, or by around 2.0%.

Energy products were a driving force behind export gains in 8 of the 12 months of 2005.

The increase in energy exports was led by a surge in natural gas shipments to the United States, which rose 11.9% to $4.1 billion. Volume and prices rose at the same pace for the month.

Crude petroleum exports improved for the third straight month, gaining 7.9% to a record $3.2 billion. The growth was primarily price driven.

Machinery and equipment exports grew for the third straight month, rising 3.1% to $8.2 billion. This was a result of strong exports of aircraft, engines and parts, which rose 37.0% to $1.3 billion, along with exports of telecommunications and related equipment which jumped 5.6% to $1.2 billion.

Exports of industrial goods and materials reached record levels, rising 2.7% to $7.4 billion. The growth was widespread among metals and alloys, metal ores and chemicals, plastics and fertilizers.

Forestry products posted a 4.3% gain in December, reaching $3.1 billion. Lumber and sawmill products led the increase with a 5.3% jump to $1.6 billion.

On the down side, exports of automotive products declined following five monthly increases, slipping 1.5% to $7.8 billion. Passenger autos and chassis were the main contributors, dropping 4.1% to $4.2 billion. However, exports of motor vehicle parts rebounded after two months of decline with a 3.5% increase to $2.2 billion.

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