An economic report released on December 20, 2023, by the Ontario Construction Secretariat (OCS) revealed that there was a mild contraction in investment and that inflation remained unchanged.
According to the report, total ICI building construction investment was down 0.7 per cent from September to October due to a lower level of investment in the commercial and institutional sectors. The report noted that industrial sector investment continues its steady upward trend and that Ontario headline inflation remained unchanged between October and November at 3.3 per cent. Inflation excluding food and energy also increased from 3.7 per cent to 3.8 per cent, which was partly driven by higher services price inflation.
Total ICI investment in building construction decreased by 0.7 per cent from September to October, according to the report, which was due to a slightly lower level of commercial building investment which decreased from $1.40 billion to $1.38 billion. Institutional sector investment also decreased slightly, from $615.9 million to $612.6 million and industrial investment grew 0.9 per cent.
According to the report, total investment in ICI building construction was up 13.2 per cent in comparison to the same time last year, with the industrial sector experiencing the largest percentage change.
The report noted that Ontario year-over-year headline inflation remained at 3.3 per cent in November. Core inflation increased slightly from 3.7 per cent to 3.8 per cent, driven partly by the increase in services price inflation, which increased from 4.4 per cent to 4.6 per cent. Goods inflation decreased from 1.9 per cent to 1.8 per cent and energy price inflation was -6.5 per cent, the same as October.
In terms of lumber and other wood products, the report noted that inflation was -11.4 per cent, marking the 13th consecutive decrease in year-over-year prices. The report also noted that the number product price inflation has been negative for over a year now.
Energy and petroleum product prices declined -15.7 per cent annually, a slightly lower deflation in comparison to the -16.9 per cent from October.
The report also noted that fabricated metal and construction materials inflation was down 2.7 per cent, which was the 9th consecutive drop in this category, with prices having gradually cooled over the year.
Plastic and rubber product inflation was -1.0 per cent which is the first negative reading in this category this year, according to the report. The report also noted that inflation in this product category has not been this low since March 2021, when it was -2.0 per cent.
The report concluded by noting that cement, glass, and other non-metallic mineral product inflation remains elevated, with annual price inflation at 9.5 per cent.