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Canada

Ocean freight rates into certain markets have been seen to fall slightly amid lingering vessel space tightness and difficulties in obtaining bookings for the near future. It is to be hoped this is a sign that carriers are seeing less volume coming forward and that availability will open up.

Canada’s unemployment rate remains at historically low levels while the country is faced with a serious labour shortage. Immigration has accounted for nearly 100% of labour growth in recent years, but still hundreds of thousands of jobs are left unfilled.

Seasonality is a big factor in Canada given the severity of the winters. In the midst of the summer, metal flows are normally strong. However, a combination of factors appears to be tampering with historical levels: aerospace remains in recovery; automotive is still suffering; and the recent weakness in ferrous and non-ferrous metals prices has tended to slow sellers. A “wait-and-see” attitude can be sensed among many market participants. Stability in the metal exchanges would surely favour improved flows.