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Relative to March, the Canadian Industrial Product Price Index (IPPI) was unchanged in April, according to Statistics Canada. Increases in chemical products (+1.7 percent) and petroleum and coal products (+0.4 percent) were offset by a decline in primary metal products (-2.1 percent). The Raw Materials Price Index (RMPI) fell 2.0 percent, largely because of mineral fuels.
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The increase in chemical products was mainly attributable to fertilizers (+12.2 percent), specifically urea (+30.5 percent). Higher urea prices were partly a result of strong demand in the United States.
Petroleum and coal products were pushed upward mainly by gasoline prices (+2.7 percent), which posted their fourth consecutive gain.
In contrast, declines in prices of primary metal products (-2.1 percent), especially aluminum products (-3.7 percent), copper and copper alloy products (-4.5 percent), nickel products (-4.4 percent) and other non-ferrous metal products (-1.9 percent), partly offset the increases in chemicals and in petroleum and coal products.
Decreases were also observed in meat, fish and dairy products (-0.5 percent) and motor vehicles and other transportation equipment (-0.1 percent).
Some Canadian producers who export their products are generally paid on the basis of prices set in US dollars. Consequently, the 0.1 percent increase in the value the Canadian dollar relative to the US dollar in April had the effect of slightly reducing the corresponding prices in Canadian dollars. However, the exchangerate had a negligible impact on the index as a whole.
In April, the IPPI excluding petroleum and coal products edged down 0.1 percent for the second consecutive month.
Compared with the same month a year earlier, the IPPI rose 0.4 percent in April. The slowdown of the growth of the index has continued since September 2011.
The increase in the IPPI was led by higher prices for motor vehicles and other transportation equipment (+2.7 percent).
More modest advances were observed in chemical products (+2.5 percent) and in fruit, vegetables, feeds and other food products (+2.2 percent).
The growth of the IPPI was moderated largely by a decrease in primary metal products (-9.4 percent), which posted a sixth consecutive decline. The largest contributors to the decrease were other non-ferrous metal products (-13.0 percent), nickel products (-29.3 percent), aluminum products (-11.1 percent) and copper and copper alloy products (-10.1 percent).
The 3.5 percent decline in the value of the Canadian dollar against the US dollar contributed to the growth of the index in April. Without the impact of the exchangerate, the IPPI would have fallen 0.4 percent instead of increasing 0.4 percent.
The IPPI excluding petroleum and coal products was up 0.5 percent relative to April 2011.
Raw Materials Price Index
The RMPI declined 2.0 percent in April, the third consecutive monthly decrease. The downward trend of the index was slightly more pronounced in April, following declines of 0.6 percent in February and 1.7 percent in March.
In April, the decrease of the index was mostly the result of mineral fuels (-2.8 percent), particularly crude petroleum (-2.6 percent).
The decline of the RMPI was moderated primarily by vegetable products (+1.4 percent), especially oilseeds (+6.5 percent) and grains (+1.3 percent).
In the oilseeds group, higher prices were observed for canola (+6.2 percent) and soybeans (+6.3 percent). The increase in soybean and canola prices was partly attributable to a decline in global supply, especially in South America, where drought disrupted normal production.
The main contributors to the rise in grain prices were oats (+4.0 percent), wheat (+2.7 percent) and barley (+2.0 percent).
The RMPI excluding mineral fuels posted a 1.3 percent decrease in April, ending a string of three consecutive monthly advances.
Compared with the same month a year earlier, the RMPI was down 13.6 percent, its second consecutive decrease. The decline of the index was more pronounced in April, partly because it had reached an exceptionally high level a year earlier.
The index was pushed downward mainly by mineral fuels prices (-21.3 percent) and, to a lesser extent, non-ferrous metals (-12.2 percent).
Crude petroleum (-21.8 percent) was primarily responsible for the decline in mineral fuels, posting its second consecutive decrease.
All major non-ferrous metal product groups except precious metals were down. Among the main contributors to the decline were copper concentrates (-12.8 percent), other non-ferrous base metals (-21.1 percent), non-ferrous metal scrap (-10.6 percent) and zinc concentrates (-15.3 percent).
Year over year, the RMPI excluding mineral fuels declined 5.6 percent in April.