OTTAWA, Ont. — Imports fell in all sectors save agricultural and fishing products, which increased for third consecutive month in January to a record high, the latest data from Statistics Canada indicates.
Imports of automotive products fell 6.5% in January to $6.7 billion, following strong imports at the end of 2006, due to robust sales in the West and Newfoundland and Labrador. The decline was felt by a wide variety of car-makers, as sales slowed in the new year.
Machinery and equipment imports were down 3.2% to $9.8 billion. Lower imports of aircraft as well as scientific equipment accounted for the majority of the decline. Imports of drilling and mining machinery, which had been growing throughout the latter half of 2006, also contributed to the decline in January.
Industrial goods and materials dropped 1.7% from the previous month to $7.0 billion, as companies posted reduced orders for metals and metal ores. In contrast, imports of chemicals and plastics were up 6.3% to $2.5 billion, primarily as a result of higher demand for chemicals required for the production of pharmaceutical products.
Imports of consumer goods also edged down in January. Imports of televisions, radios and similar goods sustained the losses, as did clothing and footwear, after rallying towards the end of 2006. Moderating these declines were increased imports of pharmaceutical products.
Agricultural and fishing imports surged 4.0% to a record high of $2.1 billion in January. Imports of fruit and vegetables hit a record level of $622 million, pushing up the sector as a whole. Fruit and vegetable imports have shown a steady growth trend over the past three years.