OTTAWA, Ont. — Canada’s merchandise exports to the world increased for the sixth time in the last eight months in August, according to Statistics Canada records released today. But the increase is due, in large part to soaring natural gas prices.
Energy imports also jumped to reach a record high of $3.0 billion as demand for gasoline peaked in August.
The anticipated effect of approaching storms on production in the Gulf of Mexico contributed to price increases for energy in August. Hurricane Katrina, which hit in the final week of August, succeeded in pushing prices higher as several natural gas processing plants and oil refineries along the Louisiana coastline were damaged.
In total, Canadian companies exported merchandise worth nearly $38.0 billion, a 1.5% increase from July, Statistics Canada reports. On the other hand, imports slipped 0.4% to just over $32.4 billion as the rise in energy imports failed to offset declines in all other sectors.
Canada’s natural gas exports hit $3.3 billion in August, up from $2.9 billion the month before. The record high for natural gas exports ($4.4 billion) was set in January 2001. August’s increase was the result of rising prices, which offset a 4.6% decline in volumes. Exports of crude petroleum were up as well.
Imports from the European Union rose 2.7%, the result of a surge in gasoline imports. Merchandise imports into Canada fell from every major trading area except the European Union in August.