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Mining closures contribute to real GDP decline: report

CBJ - May 8 - Real gross domestic product declined 0.2 per cent in February, according to a report by Statistics Canada.

Temporary closures in mining and other goods-producing industries contributed to the decline, while decreases in mining and oil and gas extraction, manufacturing, utilities, as well as forestry and logging outpaced advances in construction. In service-producing industries, gains in wholesale trade and in the finance and insurance sector outweighed declines in retail trade and in the transportation and warehousing sector.

Mining and oil and gas extraction fell 1.6 per cent in February following a small decrease in January and a two per cent increase in December. Excluding oil and gas extraction, mining declined seven per cent in February, as output at potash and nickel mines was reduced by temporary shutdowns. Potash mining was down 19 per cent as a result of the closure of mines in Saskatchewan in response to weak world demand. Copper, nickel, lead and zinc mining declined 9.9 per cent as several nickel mines in Ontario, which also produce copper and precious metals, were closed for safety issues in early February.

Oil and gas extraction decreased 0.9 per cent. Crude petroleum production declined partly as a result of unplanned maintenance activities in Alberta. Natural gas production was also down. Storage levels of natural gas remained high in February. Support activities for mining and oil and gas extraction increased 1.6 per cent.

Manufacturing declined 1.2 per cent in February after increasing for five consecutive months. Non-durable goods manufacturing decreased 1.4 per cent on reduced output of food, chemical, and plastic and rubber products. Durable goods production fell 0.9 per cent as lower output in transportation equipment and primary metal manufacturing more than offset increases in non-metallic mineral products and machinery manufacturing.

The output of utilities decreased 1.9 per cent in February, partly as a result of unseasonably warm weather leading to lower demand for electricity and natural gas.

Construction rose 0.5 per cent in February with increases in residential and non-residential building construction as well as in engineering and repair work. The output of real estate agents and brokers increased 1.1 per cent in February on increased activity in the home resale market.

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