Take Stock_June 12

Statistics Canada says the global recession idled a record level of Canada’s production capacity in the early months of 2009.

Production capacity idled at height of recession: statscan

Statistics Canada says the global recession idled a record level of Canada’s production capacity in the early months of 2009.

The agency says the rate of capacity utilization — the level of actual industrial output in comparison to potential — fell 5.6 percentage points in the first three months of 2009 from the previous quarter to 69.3 per cent. That represents the first time since the agency began compiling the data in 1987 that the rate has been below 70 per cent. But economists with the Bank of Nova Scotia note that it likely was the lowest number since 1962, when the Bank of Canada began the series until Statistics Canada took over. “Capacity utilization has hit bottom or is very close to doing so,” wrote Scotia Capital economists in a note to clients, but added they expect activity to pick up soon.

Cold winter, spring taking toll on grain farmers: wheat board

Even for the hardiest Prairie farmer, 2009 is shaping up to be a big challenge. Following a bitterly cold winter and a spring that refused to warm up, farmers are looking at reduced production and low yields for virtually every crop.

“I’ve been farming for over 40 years and . . . it was one of the longest and coldest springs that I can remember,” Chuck Fossay, who grows canola, flax and other crops near Starbuck, Man., said Thursday.

“We just managed to finish seeding on Sunday, so we’re about three weeks behind in seeding (and) the crop is very slow coming out of the ground ’cause of the cold weather.” Fossay, whose land was hit by frost even in June, is not alone.

According to the Canadian Wheat Board’s annual crop outlook issued Thursday, producers across the Prairies will be producing smaller crops. “Most (areas) have had about half the available heat to grow a crop this year, which is quite dramatic,” said Bruce Burnett, the board’s director of weather and market analysis.

— The Canadian Press

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