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Exports of precious metals reach a record high

Exports of industrial goods and materials increased 8.8% to $7.2 billion on the strength of precious metals. Exports of precious metals rose 34.0% and reached a record high of $1.3 billon. Worldwide surges in gold prices and in the demand for gold bars fuelled the rise. Exports of copper ores and of other crude non metallic minerals also posted solid gains in October. The growth in the industrial goods and material sector was largely the result of a 6.6% increase in volumes as prices grew 2.1%.

After three consecutive months of decline, exports of energy products rose 6.5% to $6.8 billion as prices increased 4.6% and volume grew 1.8%. This was only the fourth increase in prices since July 2008 while volumes increased for a fifth straight month. Petroleum and coal products such as fuel oils followed by crude petroleum largely accounted for the gain in this sector in October.

Exports of agricultural and fishing products rose 2.9% to $2.8 billion, mostly due to increased exports of canola, up 48.0% to $275 million. In June, exports of canola hit a record high of $421 million. This peak was followed by three months of decline as crops matured late this year due to a cooler than usual summer. Wheat exports, down for the fourth consecutive month, moderated the growth.

Exports of automotive products increased 1.1% to $4.2 billion led by passenger autos which rose 4.7% due to higher demand in the United States. Since January 2009, exports of passenger autos have been on an upward trend and reached $2.8 billion in October, the highest level since September 2008. Exports of trucks and motor vehicles parts declined 15.5% and 3.7% respectively in October.

Moderating the increase in overall exports, machinery and equipment fell 2.5% to $6.2 billion. Exports of industrial machinery and other transportation equipment led the decline while aircraft and telecommunication equipment posted gains in October.

Machinery and equipment accounts largely for the decline in imports

For a third consecutive month, machinery and equipment imports were down, decreasing 4.4% to $8.4 billion. Even though the declines were widespread across the sector, industrial and agricultural machinery accounted for 61% of the fall.

Imports of industrial goods and materials declined 1.5% to $6.3 billion. The drop was mainly due to lower imports of chemical products, metal in ores and other non-ferrous metals. Curbing the decline was a 21.3% gain in imports of precious metals which grew for a third consecutive month and reached their highest level in October reflecting the high demand for gold.

In contrast, imports of energy products grew 6.3% to $2.8 billion as volumes increased 6.6%. Imports of crude petroleum led the gain.