Canada Feb raw material prices unexpectedly higher

Tue Mar 30, 2010 10:02am EDT
 
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian raw material prices unexpectedly rose in February mainly because of more expensive crude oil, while producer prices remained unchanged as expected, according to Statistics Canada data on Tuesday.

Analysts surveyed by Reuters had forecast a 1.0 percent fall in raw material prices, but they rose 0.4 percent on the month. Excluding mineral fuels, prices would have fallen 1.1 percent. On an annual basis, prices were 27.8 percent higher.

Industrial product prices had no change after three straight monthly rises and were 0.6 percent lower than a year earlier, Statscan said.

On a monthly basis, the relative weakness of the Canadian dollar boosted the prices of those industrial products, notably in the auto sector, which are priced in U.S. dollars.

The Canadian industrial products price index is based in Canadian dollars, and for those products which are priced in the U.S. currency, a rise in the U.S. dollar has the effect of boosting the Canadian price of those products.

If the exchange rate had remained unchanged, producer prices would have fallen 0.3 percent.

"The effect of the Canadian dollar's depreciation against the U.S. currency was offset by lower prices for primary metal products (-2.1 percent) and petroleum and coal products (-1.2 percent)," the federal agency said.

(Reporting by Randall Palmer; Editing by James Dalgleish)