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Machinery and equipment imports rise amidst widespread declines in other sectors

OTTAWA, Ont. -- Imports decreased in October, the result of widespread declines in all sectors with the exception o...

OTTAWA, Ont. — Imports decreased in October, the result of widespread declines in all sectors with the exception of machinery and equipment, Statistics Canada reports.

Energy products and industrial goods and materials accounted for the majority of the decrease in terms of value.

Imports of energy products plunged 11.5% to $2.8 billion, completely reversing their gain in September and falling to their lowest level since February. Petroleum and coal products accounted for the bulk of the decline, dropping 28.2% to $603.4 million, its lowest level since January, as both volume and prices fell. In anticipation of the winter driving season, refineries have switched to winter blend gasoline, which is cheaper to produce. The strong Canadian dollar has also exerted downward pressure on wholesale gasoline prices. Imports of crude petroleum declined 3.6%, the third consecutive monthly decline, due to a drop in volume as prices rose.

Industrial goods and materials dropped 5.1% to $6.8 billion, following declines in all sub-sectors. Organic chemicals registered the largest drop, falling 17.1%. This group has fallen 36.4% in the last three months after reaching record levels in July.

Other consumer goods declined 2.5% to $4.5 billion. Miscellaneous consumer goods, such as televisions, radios and house furnishings, were largely responsible for the drop. By contrast, imports of watches, sporting goods and toys continued their growth, rising for the fifth month in a row.

Automotive products decreased 1.0% to $6.6 billion, reflecting the 2.5% decline in imports of motor vehicle parts, which negated the rise in imports of passenger autos (+0.7%). Trucks and other motor vehicles remained virtually unchanged. Passenger autos surpassed levels reached in the same period in 2006.

Machinery and equipment was the sole sector to record a rise in imports in October, edging up 0.3% to $9.7 billion. Industrial and agricultural machinery recorded its highest level in 11 months as excavating machinery peaked and agricultural machinery rose for the fourth month in a row.

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