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Manufacturing sales decreased 0.6 percent in September to $45.1 billion, according to Statistics Canada. The decline in sales was concentrated mostly in the transportation equipment industry in Central Canada. Constant dollar manufacturing sales fell 1.4 percent in September.
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Despite the decrease, manufacturing sales in September were 17.7 percent higher than their most recent low in May 2009. Since then, sales have increased in 11 of the past 16 months.
Sales in September fell in 13 of 21 industries, representing two-thirds of total sales.
Sales in the transportation equipment industry declined 7.5 percent in September to $7.0 billion. The largest contributor was the motor vehicle industry, where sales fell 10.4 percent to $3.6 billion, reflecting lower production at several assembly plants. Sales in the motor vehicle parts industry decreased 6.1 percent to $1.6 billion, while production in the aerospace product and parts industry fell 5.7 percent.
Other industries with sales decreases included fabricated metal products (-2.0 percent) and paper (-1.8 percent).
Partially offsetting these declines were gains in the petroleum and coal products industry (+6.2 percent) and the primary metal industry (+3.3 percent), both the result of price and volume increases.
In September, sales decreased in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan while the remaining provinces advanced.
In Ontario, sales fell 1.6 percent to $21.0 billion, primarily the result of an 11.0 percent decline in the motor vehicle industry and a 6.3 percent drop in the motor vehicle parts industry. In both industries, the drop in sales was related to lower production at some plants. A 10.2 percent rise in the petroleum and coal products industry partially offset the overall provincial decrease.
In Quebec, sales were down 2.3 percent to $10.8 billion, with 17 of 21 industries declining in September.
A 1.4 percent decrease in New Brunswick stemmed from a decline in the non-durable goods industries.
Sales in Alberta advanced 2.7 percent to $5.2 billion. The main contributors to this gain were the petroleum and coal products (+7.6 percent) and chemical (+6.7 percent) industries.
In British Columbia sales rose 1.5 percent, led by a 5.0 percent increase in the paper industry.
Inventories edged down 0.2 percent in September to $60.5 billion, the first decline in four months. The decrease resulted mostly from declines in the petroleum and coal products and machinery industries. It was partially offset by higher inventory levels reported by primary metal and fabricated metal product manufacturers.
In the petroleum and coal products industry, inventories decreased 6.0 percent in September. A reduction in the volume of raw materials held at several refineries was the main cause of the decrease.
Inventories in the machinery industry fell 2.4 percent in September. A large number of manufacturers in the industry reported lower inventory levels.
The value of inventories in the primary metal industry advanced 1.6 percent. The increase reflects a 2.0 percent rise in prices as reported by the Industrial Product Price Index. Inventory levels rose 1.8 percent in the fabricated metal product industry.
The inventory-to-sales ratio for September was unchanged at 1.34. The ratio has remained relatively stable since March 2010.
Unfilled orders fell 1.9 percent to $53.6 billion in September. Despite the decline, unfilled orders have been gradually increasing since their most recent low, reached in November 2009.
The major contributors to the decrease included the aerospace product and parts (-2.3 percent) and computer and electronic product (-5.0 percent) industries.
A 3.7 percent increase in the fabricated metal product industry partially offset the overall decrease in unfilled orders.
New orders fell 4.9 percent in September to $44.0 billion. The decline was concentrated mostly in the transportation equipment industry.