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Canadian manufacturing sales rose 1.4 percent $57.1 billion in March, according to new data from Statistics Canada. Higher sales at primary metal; aerospace products and parts; fabricated metal products; and other transportation equipment industries were the main drivers of the increase.
Overall, sales rose in 13 of 21 industries, representing 72 percent of the Canadian manufacturing sector.
Sales were up in seven provinces in March, with Quebec and British Columbia responsible for most of the total national gain.
In Quebec, sales rose 2.9 percent to $13.8 billion in March, mainly due to a 21.3 percent increase in the aerospace product and parts industry. Sales also rose in the primary metal, machinery, and fabricated metal product industries.
Sales in British Columbia increased 4 percent to $4.6 billion in March, following four consecutive monthly declines. The increase was largely due to higher sales in the wood product industry.
In Saskatchewan, sales rose 5.6 percent to $1.5 billion.
Sales were down in Manitoba, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island due to lower sales of durable goods.
Inventory levels also rose in March, increasing 0.7 percent to $79.3 billion. This was the sixth consecutive increase in inventories, with 6 of 21 industries posting higher levels. The gains were attributable to the transportation equipment (+3.5 percent), chemical (+5.9 percent) and plastic and rubber products (+5.3 percent) industries.
The inventory-to-sales ratio declined from 1.40 in February to 1.39 in March. The inventory-to-sales ratio measures the time, in months, that would be required to exhaust inventories if sales were to continue at their current pace.
Unfilled orders rose 1.5 percent in March to $88.6 billion, a second consecutive monthly increase. The advance reflected a gain in the aerospace product and parts industry, up 2.4 percent to $47.1 billion, representing more than half of total unfilled orders.
New orders fell 0.7 percent to $58.5 billion, following a 7.4 percent increase in February. The decline in March was mainly the result of lower new orders in the aerospace product and parts, machinery, and the motor vehicle industries.