The 2020 Mid-Year Economic Update_long

Canadian Manufacturing Sales Dip 0.8% in October

Sales fell in 15 of 21 industries.

Manufacturing sales in Canada declined 0.8 percent to C$51 billion (US$38.1 billion) in October, with the largest decreases in the primary metal, petroleum and coal product, and machinery industries.

Sales fell in 15 of 21 industries, representing 61 percent of the manufacturing sector. Sales of durable goods decreased 1.1 percent, while nondurable goods sales were down 0.4 percent.

Constant dollar sales declined 1.7 percent in October, reflecting a lower volume of manufactured goods sold. According to the industrial product price index, prices for the manufacturing sector rose 0.7 percent in October.

Primary metal manufacturing sales were down 2.4 percent in October to C$3.6 billion (US$2.7 billion). The decrease was largely attributable to nonferrous metal production, and iron and steel mills and ferro-alloy manufacturing.

Prices for primary nonferrous metal products also contributed to the decrease, falling 1.9 percent in October.

Sales in the petroleum and coal product industry were down 1.7 percent in October to C$4.3 billion (US$3.2 billion). The decrease in October was entirely attributable to lower volumes of product sold, as prices for the industry rose 4.8 percent. Maintenance and turnaround work at some facilities also lowered production.

Lower sales in the railroad rolling stock (-31.2 percent), machinery (-2.5 percent), food (-0.7 percent) and fabricated metal product (-2.3 percent) industries also contributed to the overall decrease in October.

These declines were partially offset by a 5.3 percent increase in the aerospace product and parts industry, partly reflecting changes in the value of the U.S. dollar relative to the Canadian dollar. Sales and inventories in the aerospace industry are mainly reported in U.S. dollars.

Sales of other transportation equipment (+21.6 percent), chemicals (+1.2 percent), paper (+1 percent) and clothing (+10.6 percent) also rose in October.

Sales were down in seven provinces in October, with Ontario, Quebec and Alberta posting the largest declines.

Sales in Ontario were down 0.8 percent to C$25 billion (US$18.7 billion), following two consecutive monthly gains. The decline in October reflected lower sales in the transportation equipment (-0.7 percent), machinery (-4.2 percent) and beverage and tobacco (-6.9 percent) industries.

In Quebec, sales decreased 1.2 percent to C$11.7 billion (US$8.7 billion) in October, following a 1.5 percent increase in September. Manufacturers of petroleum and coal products, primary metals and food products reported the largest declines.

Manufacturing sales in Alberta fell 2 percent to C$5.2 billion (US$3.9 billion) in October, mainly the result of lower sales in the petroleum and coal product (-6.2 percent) and the fabricated metal product (-8.9 percent) industries.

The overall decline in October was partially offset by higher sales in Newfoundland and Labrador (+18.9 percent) and Manitoba (+2.1 percent). For both provinces, higher nondurable goods sales were largely responsible for the gains.

Inventory levels edged down 0.1 percent in October to C$70.2 billion (US$52.4 billion). Inventories were down in 12 of 21 industries, led by the aerospace product and parts (-4.2 percent) and wood product (-3.4 percent) industries. A 7.6-percent increase in petroleum and coal product inventories partly offset the declines.

The inventory-to-sales ratio rose from 1.37 in September to 1.38 in October. The inventory-to-sales ratio measures the time, in months, that would be required to exhaust inventories if sales were to remain at their current level.

Unfilled orders rose 0.8 percent to C$89.4 billion (US$66.7 billion) in October. The increase was attributable to higher unfilled orders in the transportation equipment, computer and electronic product, and primary metal industries.

New orders rose 0.7 percent to C$51.7 billion (US$38.6 billion) in October as a result of gains in the aerospace product and parts and computer and electronic industries. The increase was partially offset by lower new orders in machinery and food industries.

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