UPDATE 1-Canada producer price index down for first time in 5 months

Thu May 30, 2013 8:34am EDT
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* Producer prices fall by 0.8 pct

* Raw material prices down by 2.2 percent on crude oil

OTTAWA, May 30 (Reuters) - Canadian producer prices dropped for the first time in five months in April, slipping 0.8 percent from March on lower prices for petroleum and coal products, Statistics Canada said on Thursday.

The decline, which matched the decline recorded in December 2011, was greater than the 0.3 percent drop forecast by market analysts. Of the 21 major commodity groups, 14 were down, three up, while four were unchanged.

The largest contributor to the decline was a 3.0 percent drop in petroleum and coal products. Gasoline prices retreated by 3.6 percent from March, in part due to high inventories of crude oil in North America.

The Canadian dollar grew by 0.6 percent in value against its U.S. counterpart in April. Without the effect of the exchange rate, producer prices would have fallen by 0.6 percent from March.

The prices of raw materials fell by 2.2 percent, the second consecutive monthly decline and the largest drop since the 4.2 percent plunge in June 2012. A 2.8 percent fall in the price of crude oil was primarily responsible.