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TORONTO (Reuters) - Losses in Canada's auto manufacturing industry are expected to balloon to C$1.7 billion ($1.4 billion) this year due to collapsing sales in the U.S. market, the Conference Board of Canada said on Tuesday.
This will be the third straight year of losses for the Canadian industry, and it is expected to lose more than C$1 billion in 2009, the board said in its twice-yearly outlook for auto manufacturing.
"Canadian auto manufacturers remain caught in a maelstrom of cyclical and structural industry changes, a trend that is unlikely to improve until at least 2010," said Sabrina Browarski, a Conference Board economist, in a statement.
In the last report on the Canadian auto industry the board released, in June, it forecast a profit of C$155 million in 2008.
However, about one in nine cars made in Canada are exported to the United States, where auto sales have collapsed in recent months.
The report said new vehicle sales in the United States in 2009 are expected to fall to their lowest level since 1992.
Reporting by John McCrank; editing by Peter Galloway