Canadian real GDP rose 0.3% in August, following increases of 0.4% in July, 0.2% in June; excluding energy sector, GDP was unchanged

OTTAWA , October 31, 2011 () – Real gross domestic product (GDP) rose 0.3% in August, following increases of 0.4% in July and 0.2% in June. The energy sector accounted for most of the increase in August. Excluding the energy sector, real GDP was unchanged.

Growth was also recorded in the finance and insurance sector, retail trade and construction. Conversely, wholesale trade, manufacturing, utilities, and some tourism-related industries declined. The public sector (public administration, education and health care) overall was unchanged.

The energy sector increases for a third consecutive month

Output of the energy sector advanced 2.8% in August. This followed gains in July (+0.3%) and June (+2.3%), after a significant reduction in May (-4.5%), mainly caused by inclement weather conditions and maintenance work at some oil fields. Oil and gas extraction rose 2.6% in August, as a result of increased crude petroleum production and, to a lesser extent, natural gas extraction. Support activities for mining, oil and gas extraction rose 17%, as a result of increased drilling and rigging activity.

Mining output, excluding oil and gas extraction, was unchanged. The increase at coal mines was offset by reduced output at metal and non-metallic mineral mines.

The finance and insurance sector rises

The finance and insurance sector rose 1.4% in August. A higher volume of trading on the stock exchanges, which was partly a result of financial markets reacting to concerns over the debt situation in some countries, led the increase. Activity in the insurance sector edged down 0.1%.
Widespread declines in wholesale trade while retail trade advances

Wholesale trade fell 1.4% following a 1.8% increase in July. Decreases were recorded in nearly all of the wholesale sub-sectors, notably in petroleum products and in motor vehicles and parts.

Retail trade grew 0.2% in August. Increases at gasoline stations as well as motor vehicle and parts dealers outweighed decreases at general merchandise stores (which includes department stores).

Manufacturing down

After advancing 1.4% in July, manufacturing output fell 0.4% in August. Manufacturers of durable goods reduced production by 0.8%, while non-durable goods manufacturing edged up 0.1%. Notable decreases were recorded in non-metallic mineral products, wood products, as well as chemical and paper products. Increases were posted in the production of food, petroleum, and primary metal products.

Construction edges up

Construction edged up 0.1% in August. Both residential building construction and engineering and repair work grew, while all types of non-residential building construction (industrial, institutional and commercial) retreated.
Other industries

The output of utilities fell 0.8%, as gains in natural gas distribution were offset by decreases in the demand for electricity.

Some tourism-related industries, such as air transportation and accommodation and food services, decreased in August, mirroring a drop in overnight travel to Canada.

The public sector was unchanged, as increases in education and health care services were offset by a decrease in federal government activity as a result of the winding down of the 2011 Census.




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