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Canadian manufacturing sales increased 1.9 percent to C$55.8 billion in February (US$44.4 billion) following two straight monthly declines. The growth was due mainly to higher sales in the transportation equipment industry, according to new data from Statistics Canada.
Sales were up in 14 of 21 industries, representing 72.2 percent of the total Canadian manufacturing sector.
Transportation equipment sales grew 6.6 percent to C$10.7 billion (US$8.5 billion) during the month, following a 6.3 percent decline in January. This was due mainly to advances in motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts, 8.9 percent and 4.8 percent respectively, which followed atypical plant shutdowns in January.
Sales in the primary metal manufacturing industry rose 4.8 percent to C$4.3 billion (US$3.4 billion), following two straight monthly decreases. Paper manufacturing grew 3.2 percent and computer and electronic products manufacturing grew 5.7 percent following declines in the previous month.
These increases were partially offset by a 2.1 percent decrease in the petroleum and coal products industry, where sales totaled C$5.8 billion (US$4.6 billion). The decline was partly explained by the decrease in the price of refined products.
Sales rose in six provinces in February, with Ontario and Quebec leading the way. After falling 2.1 percent in January, sales in Ontario rose 3 percent to C$25.9 billion (US$20.6 billion) in February. Motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts were the prime contributors to growth. The increases were partially offset by lower sales of chemical products, machinery, and petroleum and coal products.
In Quebec, sales rose 2.2 percent to C$13.5 billion (US$10.7 billion) following two consecutive monthly decreases. Increases were noted in 14 of 21 industries, mainly due to a 6 percent gain in sales in the primary metal manufacturing industry and a 2.5 percent increase in the transportation equipment manufacturing industry.
British Columbia posted the largest monthly decrease (-1.3 percent) and its fourth consecutive monthly decline. The decline in February was mostly due to lower sales in the electrical equipment, appliance and component industry.
The Canadian manufacturing sector posted record high inventories in February. Total inventories rose 1.3 percent to C$77.4 billion (US$61.6 billion), the fifth monthly gain in inventories. Unfilled orders increased during the month, rising 3 percent to C$89.7 billion (US$71.4 billion), a second straight monthly gain. New orders rose 5 percent to C$58.4 billion (US$46.5 billion), the third straight monthly increase.