Corporate profits slipped 0.8% in 2nd quarter

Canadian corporate profits continued their slide in the second quarter of 2013, with manufacturing experiencing the biggest drop.

Statistics Canada numbers show steep decline in manufacturing

The oil and gas sector saw a rebound in profits in the 2nd quarter. (Canadian Press)

Canadian corporate profits continued their slide in the second quarter of 2013, with manufacturing experiencing the biggest drop.

Statistics Canada reported Tuesday that corporations earned $72.2 billion in operating profits, a 0.8 per cent decrease from the previous quarter. That decline followed a 2.8 per cent decrease in the first quarter, more than the agency had originally estimated.

The numbers reflect slow growth in Canadian economy in the first half of the year, following a rebound in late 2012.

Manufacturing industries led the decline, with a 16.6 per cent drop in operating profits to $9.9 billion.

Operating profits for petroleum and coal products manufacturing plunged because of a variety of factors, including maintenance downtime, pipeline outages and lower industry margins. Primary metal manufacturing also took a hit, falling by 66.6 per cent to $126 million.

In the non-financial sector, 10 of 22 sectors reported declining profit, including construction, transportation and warehousing, wholesale businesses and rental and leasing.

The manufacturing sector has been affected by the high Canadian dollar and the slow recovery in the U.S.

Financial sector looks strong

By contrast, the financial sector reported a strong rise in profit, up 7.6 per cent to $21.1 billion in the second quarter.  

Life, health and medical insurance firms experienced gains, as did Canadian banks, which are reporting their earnings this week.

The flooding that caused so much damage in Alberta and Toronto occurred at the end of the quarter, and its cost is not reflected in the results, Statistics Canada noted.

Profits among companies engaged in oil and gas extraction and related activities rose by 49.2 per cent to $1.9 billion, amid a rise in oil prices and strong sales.

Despite the overall downward trend, corporations are doing better than they were this time last year. Operating profits for Canadian corporations increased 1.4 per cent compared with the second quarter of 2012.