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Canadian First-Quarter Capacity Use Rises to Highest Since 2007

Canadian industrial companies made the most use of their production capacity since 2007 in the first quarter on increased demand for cars and machinery, government figures showed.

The share of plant capacity in use increased to 80.7 percent in the January-March period, the highest since the fourth quarter of 2007, from 80.5 percent in the previous quarter, Statistics Canada said today in Ottawa. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg forecast the rate would remain unchanged at 80.5 percent, based on the median of 12 estimates.

Manufacturing capacity use rose to 81.3 percent in the first quarter from 80.6 percent in the fourth quarter, the highest since the third quarter of 2007, Statistics Canada said.

Capacity use in the oil and gas extraction industry rose to 90.2 percent, from 89.6 percent, while forestry and logging fell to 88 percent, from 91.7 percent. Mining dropped to 60.3 percent in the first quarter, from 64.2 percent during the last three months of 2011.

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