Most of Canada’s businesses reported a profitable fourth quarter in 2012, with total corporate operating profits of $72.5 billion, up 1.4 per cent from the previous quarter, Statistics Canada reported today. This followed a 3.9 per cent increase in the third quarter. However, year over year, Q4 profits were down 1.2 per cent compared to 2011.
Operating profits increased in 13 of the 22 industries that Statistics Canada tracks.
The financial sector saw a slight decline in profit (0.4 per cent) to $19.4 billion.
The largest overall increase was seen among insurance carriers and related businesses: profits there increased by 29.7 per cent.
In the non-financial sector, there was general growth, though the energy and mining sectors experienced declines. Oil and gas extraction and support activities profits fell 22.7 per cent to $1.1 billion, while mining profits fell 18.0 per cent to $1.7 billion. Petroleum and coal products manufacturers also saw falling profits with a drop of 26.5 per cent to $3.2 billion in the fourth quarter.
Construction profits rose 12.7 per cent to $4.0 billion, but manufacturing overall remained unchanged, standing at $12.7 billion.
Within the manufacturing sector, however, 10 of the 13 manufacturing industries showed gains, led by the motor vehicle and parts, where profits were up 33.2 per cent to $1.2 billion on strong year-end sales. Profits had declined 12.1 per cent in the third quarter.
Profits for chemical, plastics and rubber products manufacturers rebounded, rising 14.4 per cent to $2.0 billion, following a 17.0 per cent decline in the third quarter.
Primary metal manufacturing profits increased 44.3 per cent to $620 million.
In the information and cultural industries, profits rose 7.4 per cent to $5.9 billion. The increase was concentrated in the telecommunications industry, where profits rose 10.1 per cent to $4.4 billion.
Transportation and warehousing also saw a rise of 10.9 per cent to $3.0 billion.
Retailers’ profits increased 6.1 per cent to $4.1 billion, largely thanks to motor vehicle and parts, whose dealers accounted for just under half of the increase.