After rising for eight consecutive months, real gross domestic product (GDP) was essentially unchanged in July as 11 of 20 industrial sectors grew.
Goods-producing industries contracted 0.5%, the first decrease in five months, largely as a result of declines in mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction and in manufacturing. Services-producing industries increased 0.2%.
The mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction sector contracts
The mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction sector contracted 1.2% in July, mainly due to a 1.8% decline in the oil and gas extraction subsector.
Non-conventional oil extraction was down for the fourth time in five months, decreasing 3.0%. Conventional oil and gas extraction decreased for the first time in five months, declining 0.8% as a result of lower crude petroleum extraction.
Mining excluding oil and gas extraction rose 0.9%. Metal ore mining rose 3.4%, led by strength in copper, nickel, lead and zinc mining (+4.5%) and iron ore mining (+7.1%), while gold and silver ore mining decreased 2.2%. Coal mining was up 1.0%. Non-metallic mineral mining declined 2.7% as lower output from potash mines (-12.6%) more than offset an increase in other non-metallic mineral mining.
Support activities for mining, oil and gas extraction declined 1.2%, down for the third consecutive month, due to declines in support activities for oil and gas extraction on lower drilling services.
Wholesale trade grows
Wholesale trade activity rose 2.0% in July, the highest monthly gain since September 2014. Growth was broadly-based across the sector as seven of nine subsectors were up. Leading the growth was a 5.3% increase in building material and supplies wholesaling. Machinery, equipment and supplies wholesalers recorded a 2.3% increase on the strength of increased activity across most industry groups. Motor vehicle and parts wholesaling rose 1.9% on the strength of stronger sales of motor vehicles.
The manufacturing sector declines
The manufacturing sector was down 0.4% in July. This sector has generally been posting increased activity since the second half of 2016.
Durable manufacturing declined 0.9%, following four consecutive months of growth. The largest contributor to the decline was a 5.6% decrease in the transportation equipment manufacturing subsector. Motor vehicle manufacturing was down 13.5%, in part as a result of changes in vehicle models being produced in Canada. Motor vehicle parts manufacturing was down 7.1% while miscellaneous transportation equipment decreased 1.0%. In other durable manufacturing subsectors, machinery manufacturing dropped 3.6% while non-metallic mineral product and miscellaneous manufacturing increased.
Non-durable manufacturing was up 0.3% in July after being essentially unchanged in June. Increases in plastic and rubber products (+2.0%) and chemical products manufacturing (+1.3%) more than offset declines in food (-0.7%) and petroleum and coal products manufacturing (-0.7%).
Finance and insurance declines
The finance and insurance sector declined 0.6% in July, its largest decline since April 2015. Depository credit intermediation and monetary authorities declined 1.0% on decreased activity at banking, monetary authorities and other depository credit intermediaries. Financial investment services, funds and other financial vehicles were down 0.8%, with the timing of Canada Day and of the United States’ Independence Day having an effect on the level of market activity. Insurance carriers and related activities rose 0.3%.
The construction sector declined 0.5% in July, after posting one of its largest gains in the last four years in June following work stoppages in Quebec in May. Residential construction was down 0.9% as new construction of double and row houses declined, along with housing alterations and improvements. Non-residential construction grew 0.6% as industrial and commercial constructions were up while public construction edged down. Repair construction was down 1.3% while engineering and other construction was essentially unchanged.
Transportation and warehousing edges down
Transportation and warehousing edged down 0.1% with five of nine subsectors showing decreases. Pipeline transportation was down 1.9%, partly due to wildfires in British Columbia forcing the temporary closure of some pipelines, as movement of natural gas (-3.2%) and crude oil (-0.7%) by pipeline declined. Rail transportation was down 1.2% as movement by rail of coal, automotive products, grains and fertilizers and industrial products declined. Support activities for transportation was down 0.8%. Partly offsetting the declines was growth in air transportation (+2.2%), warehousing and storage (+1.4%) and transit, ground passenger, scenic and sightseeing transportation (+0.6%).
Retail trade edges down
The retail trade sector edged down 0.1% as its 12 subsectors were evenly split between increases and decreases. The largest declines in terms of activity were at gasoline stations (-3.0%) and electronics and appliance stores (-4.9%). These were partly offset by growth at food and beverage stores (+0.8%) and health and personal care stores (+0.4%).
The utilities sector grows
The utilities sector was up 1.7% in July. Higher demand for electricity in Western Canada, in order to cope with a hot and dry July, led to a 2.3% gain in electric power generation, transmission and distribution. Natural gas distribution was down 0.9% from lower residential demand.
Real estate and rental and leasing grows
Real estate and rental and leasing edged up 0.1% in July following two consecutive months of decline.
For the fourth month in a row, activity at the offices of real estate agents and brokers contracted, down 1.5%. Housing resale activity decreased in most markets, led by continued declines in and around the Greater Toronto Area.
The public sector (education, health care and public administration) rose 0.2% as all three components increased.
Professional services rose 0.5% on the strength of increases in legal, accounting and related services (+1.2%), computer systems and related services (+0.5%) and architectural, engineering and related services (+0.6%).
Accommodation and food services rose 0.4% as activity at food services and drinking places was up 0.5%, while accommodation services increased 0.3%.
Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting was down for the ninth time in ten months.
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