Traffic through Canada’s biggest port fell during the first half of the year, hit by weak industrial activity at home and slackening demand for commodities in Asia, another sign of trouble for the nation’s sputtering economy.
Following a record year for the Port of Vancouver in 2015, cargo fell 5.9 % to 66 million metric tons in the six months through June from the same period in 2015, the port said in a statement. Shipments of all major commodities declined except for grains.
Exports of thermal coal for power plants in Asia plummeted 39 %. Meanwhile, a slowdown in industrial activity in western Canada hit volumes of machinery, vehicles, and construction materials, which fell 12 %. A weaker Canadian dollar also affected consumers, leading to a decline in imports of household goods, it said.
Canada’s natural resources-dependent economy is struggling to emerge from a slump having expanded by 1.2 % since May 2014, the slowest two-year pace outside a recession in at least six decades.
Disappointing data on trade and employment has stoked speculation policymakers will need to add even more stimulus if things don’t improve.