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Natural resource indicators, first quarter 2017

Released: 2017-06-19

Growth in real gross domestic product

First quarter 2017

0.4% increase

(quarterly change)

Real natural resource gross domestic product (GDP), or the volume of economic activity attributable to natural resources, increased by 0.4% in the first quarter after edging up 0.2% in the fourth quarter. In comparison, GDP for the total economy grew 0.9%.

Energy, the largest subsector, was the main contributor to the growth for the quarter (+0.7%). The mineral and mining subsector grew 0.4%, while the forest (-1.0%) and hunting, fishing and water (-2.6%) subsectors declined.

Natural resource activity totalled $213 billion (nominal terms, at annual rates) in the first quarter, accounting for 10.8% of Canada's GDP. This proportion remains below the most recent peak of 14.5% recorded in the second quarter of 2014.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Growth in real gross domestic product attributable to natural resource activity
Growth in real gross domestic product attributable to natural resource activity

Chart 2  Chart 2: Contributions to percentage change in real gross domestic product, first quarter 2017
Contributions to percentage change in real gross domestic product, first quarter 2017

Natural resource prices continue to rise

Natural resource prices increased 2.1% in the first quarter on the strength of the energy (+2.4%) and forest (+2.3%) subsectors. Prices in the mineral and mining subsector (+2.1%) also rose in the quarter. Natural resource prices increased 16.4% in the first quarter compared with the same quarter a year earlier.

Chart 3  Chart 3: Natural resource price index, gross domestic product
Natural resource price index, gross domestic product

Exports down in the first quarter

Real natural resource exports declined 0.2% in the first quarter after increasing in the last two quarters of 2016. Declines were observed in the mining subsector (-3.9%), led by coal exports (-19.2%), which were affected by harsher weather conditions and lower demand due to recent price volatility. The declines were partly offset by increases in the energy subsector (+2.0%), led primarily by refined petroleum products (+21.7%) as some operations resumed after scheduled maintenance in the fourth quarter.

Real natural resource imports rose by 2.2% in the first quarter, on the strength of mining (+3.9%) and energy (+1.3%) products. This resulted from the aggregate effects of a 26% increase in crude oil imports and a 22% decline in refined petroleum products imports.

Chart 4  Chart 4: Real natural resource exports
Real natural resource exports

The natural resource sector adds jobs in the first quarter

Employment in the natural resource sector increased 0.8% (+4,650 jobs) in the first quarter. Growth was led by the energy subsector (+0.8%), which added 2,000 jobs to the economy. Within the subsector, employment in the services (+1.2%) and primary manufacturing (+1.7%) industries increased. There were also notable gains in the mining subsector (+1,900 jobs).

Chart 5  Chart 5: Employment changes, first quarter 2017
Employment changes, first quarter 2017

Downstream activities continue to add to GDP

Secondary and tertiary processing for the forest and mineral and mining subsectors are identified in the natural resource indicators for analytical purposes.

Real GDP from downstream activities rose 4.2% in the first quarter on the strength of mineral and mining products. An additional 1.6% of Canadian GDP was attributable to these downstream activities.

The natural resources sector including these downstream activities represented 12.4% of GDP in the first quarter.

  Note to readers

The natural resource indicators provide quarterly indicators for the main aggregates in the Natural Resource Satellite Account, namely, nominal and real gross domestic product, output, real exports and imports, and employment. The estimates from this account are directly comparable to the estimates found in the Canadian System of Macroeconomic Accounts.

The energy subsector accounts for approximately two-thirds of the Canadian natural resource sector, while the mining subsector accounts for just over 20%. The forest (8%) and the hunting, fishing and water (4%) subsectors account for the rest.

Next release

Data on natural resource indicators for the second quarter will be released on September 20.

Products

Additional information can be found in, "The Natural Resources Satellite Account: Feasibility study", and "Natural Resources Satellite Account - Source and Methods" part of the Income and Expenditure Accounts Technical Series (Catalogue number13-604-M).

The System of Macroeconomic Accounts module features an up-to-date portrait of national and provincial economies and their structure.

The Methodological Guide: Canadian System of Macroeconomic Accounts (Catalogue number13-607-X) is available.

The User Guide: Canadian System of Macroeconomic Accounts (Catalogue number13-606-G) is also available. This publication will be updated to maintain its relevance.

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; STATCAN.infostats-infostats.STATCAN@canada.ca) or Media Relations (613-951-4636; STATCAN.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.STATCAN@canada.ca).

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