Building product exports improve
October 12, 2017
While Canada continues to be a net importer of building products, the country exported $24 billion worth of building materials in 2016, up 3 per cent from a year earlier.
“The first half of 2017 saw a modest increase in exports, but also imports,” noted an August report from Altus Group, adding that the trade deficit in building products is narrowing.
While the trade gap in building materials with the United States is now at the lowest level since 2009, largely due to lumber exports into an improving U.S. new housing market, the gap is widening in trade with China, the report found.
In Metro Vancouver and other major Canadian cities, complete kitchens, bathrooms and other China-made building materials are routinely imported for new condominium projects. In 2016, China sold nearly $6 billion worth of building products into Canada, while Canadian building product imports to China were in the $1 billion range. Canadian exports were mostly rough lumber used as concrete forms for Chinese construction sites.
Home building and residential renovations account for the bulk of building product spending in Canada, worth $44 billion last year, compared to $36 billion in the non-residential sector, according to the Altus Group Housing Report.