Canadian corporate profits rise 1.5% in Q3

Profits earned by Canadian corporations were up 1.5 per cent in the third quarter, following a 2.6 per cent gain in the second quarter, according to Statistics Canada.

Most sectors stronger than last year, with oil and gas leading the gains

Profits earned by Canadian corporations were up 1.5 per cent in the third quarter, following a 2.6 per cent gain in the second quarter, according to Statistics Canada.

Corporate profits have been rising or fallen only marginally for five quarters, following a sharp downturn in the second quarter of 2012.

Operating profits for Canadian corporations are up 4.3 per cent compared with the third quarter of 2012.

Canadian corporations reported $77 billion in operating profits in the third quarter, Statistics Canada said, with 15 of 22 industries making gains.

In the non-financial sector, oil and gas extraction companies led the growth, boosting their operating profits by 23.8 per cent to $2.2 billion. The oil and gas sector has seen many companies restructuring to adapt to the new normal of low gas prices and bottlenecks in getting crude oil to market.

In the financial sector, operating profits fell 0.4 per cent to $24.1 billion, dragged down by losses in the insurance industry.

Floods hurt insurance industry

Operating profits for property and casualty insurance carriers fell by 4.5 per cent, mainly due to claims stemming from last summer's floods in Alberta and Toronto and the rail disaster in Quebec.

At the same time, building material and supplies wholesalers were doing better, with their profits up 20.3 per cent amid demand for materials to rebuild.

Profits in manufacturing were down, with a decline in computer and electronic product manufacturing offsetting gains at other industries.

The petroleum and coal products industry saw the largest increase in operating profits in the manufacturing sector, up 65.5 per cent to $2.6 billion, because of strong revenues from crude petroleum refining.

Motor vehicle and parts manufacturing was also strong, with operating profits up 34.1 to $907 million, mainly because of increased demand for auto parts.

Car and parts sales helped boost operating profits in retail, which were up 6.2 per cent to $4.1 billion.

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