Canada third-quarter industrial capacity rises for fifth consecutive quarter

FILE PHOTO: Steam billows from a stack at the Stelco plant, formerly U.S. Steel Canada, in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada on March 4, 2009. REUTERS/Mike Cassese/File Photo

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada’s industrial capacity rose in the third quarter for a fifth straight quarter as gains in the construction sector offset lower extraction volumes in the oil and gas industry, data from Statistics Canada showed on Friday.

Capacity utilization rose to 85.0 percent, marking a 10-year high and in line with forecasts after the second quarter was downwardly revised to 84.3 percent.

Capacity in the construction sector rose to 89.1 percent from 87.6 percent on an overall increase in activity. Groundbreaking on new homes has been stronger this year than economists had expected.

The gains were also driven by the electric power generation and transmission industry, which saw its utilization rate rise to 88.9 percent from 85.2 percent, the highest level since the fourth quarter of 2008.

But that was tempered by oil and gas extraction, where capacity slipped to 81.5 percent from 81.8 percent due to lower extraction volumes of conventional oil.

Capacity in the manufacturing sector edged up at 85.2 percent from 85.1 percent. The utilization rate rose in 13 of the 21 major manufacturing industries, including machinery and non-metallic mineral product manufacturing.

Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Bernadette Baum