Canadian manufacturing sales rose 1 percent to C$50.4 billion (US$39 billion) in April, mainly reflecting higher sales in the petroleum and coal product, transportation equipment, and primary metal industries, according to Statistics Canada.
Sales increased in 10 of 21 industries, representing 55 percent of Canadian manufacturing sales.
In constant dollar terms, sales were up 1.4 percent, indicating that higher volumes of manufactured goods were sold in April. Prices for the manufacturing sector fell 0.5 percent, according to the Industrial Product Price Index.
Sales in the petroleum and coal product industry were up 8.3 percent in April, following a 13.4 percent increase in March. Higher petroleum prices contributed to the gain. Petroleum and coal product prices rose 2.5 percent in April, according to the Industrial Product Price Index.
Transportation equipment sales increased 2.1 percent, reflecting higher sales in most sub-industries. Production in the aerospace products and parts industry was up 6.3 percent. Due to lower production in March this year, the decline in April was not as strong as usual, leading to a seasonally adjusted increase in production for the aerospace industry.
Sales in the railroad rolling stock industry advanced 39.5 percent, the third increase in four months. Sales in this industry tend to be volatile compared with transportation equipment as a whole, due to the nature of the business.
Sales of primary metals were up 3.9 percent in April. This was the industry's fourth sales increase in five months.
Sales increased in six provinces, with Alberta, Quebec and Ontario posting the largest gains.
Sales in Alberta increased 3.5 percent in April, following a 0.1 percent rise in March. The gain in Alberta was the result of a 19.6 percent advance in sales of petroleum and coal products. Despite the gain this month, sales in Alberta were 11.8 percent lower than in April 2015.
Sales in Quebec increased 1.4 percent, following three months of declines. Production in the aerospace product and parts industry was up 11.2 percent. Higher sales of petroleum and coal products also contributed to the provincial gain.
Following two months of declines, sales in Ontario were up 0.4 percent. The gain in April was mainly the result of higher sales in the primary metals industry, which advanced 10.1 percent. Sales of transportation equipment increased 0.9 percent, the ninth gain in 12 months.
Inventories fell for the third consecutive month in April, decreasing 0.4 percent, the lowest level since December 2014. Inventories dropped in 15 of 21 industries. Transportation equipment recorded the largest decrease, with inventory levels down 1.2 percent. The decline was the result of lower inventories of aerospace products and parts (-1.4 percent), motor vehicles (-1.7 percent), and motor vehicle parts (-1.5 percent). These declines were partly offset by higher inventories of primary metals (+2 percent).
The decrease in inventories of aerospace products and parts partly reflected a stronger Canadian dollar relative to the US dollar in April. Inventories are mainly held in US dollars in the aerospace industry, so currency fluctuations will influence their value.
The inventory-to-sales ratio dropped from 1.43 in March to 1.41 in April. This 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 in April, following two consecutive monthly declines. This was the second increase in nine months. Unfilled orders were 9.4 percent lower than in the same month the previous year. The gain in April was due to higher unfilled orders of aerospace products and parts (+1.4 percent).
The machinery industry also posted an increase in April. Unfilled orders were up 3.2 percent, following four months of declines.
New orders increased 7.9 percent in April, reflecting a substantial increase in the aerospace product and parts industry. The machinery industry and the petroleum and coal products industry also posted higher new orders in April.