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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada's industries operated at 81.1 percent of capacity in the first quarter, rebounding from a weak second half of 2012, according to Statistics Canada data released on Thursday.
But the rate was less than the 81.5 percent median forecast in a Reuters survey of analysts. The fourth-quarter rate was revised down to 80.5 percent from 80.7 percent.
"Mining, oil and gas extraction was the main source of the overall increase in capacity use in the first quarter," Statscan said. The oil and gas extraction industry, which slowed down in the second half of 2012, saw its capacity use rise 1.8 percentage points to 87.4 percent.
The manufacturing sector rose 0.2 point to 79.7 percent after two quarters of decline.
The transportation equipment subsector, which includes the auto industry, fell 2.5 points to 85.9 percent.
Reporting by Randall Palmer and Alex Paterson; editing by John Wallace