Canadian Manufacturing Sales Up 1.5% in November

Sales rise in 14 of 21 industries

Manufacturing sales in Canada rose 1.5 percent in November to C$51.8 billion (US$38.9 billion), following a 0.6 percent decline in October, according to Statistics Canada. The increase was mainly the result of higher sales in the primary metal, petroleum and coal product, and chemical manufacturing industries.

Sales were up in 14 of the 21 industries, representing 68 percent of Canadian manufacturing sales.

In constant dollars, sales rose 1.2 percent, indicating that a higher volume of manufactured goods was sold in November. Prices for the manufacturing sector increased 0.3 percent, according to the Industrial Product Price Index.

Primary metal manufacturing sales rose 9.1 percent to C$4 billion (US$3 billion) following two months of decline. This was the largest gain in dollar terms since April 2012. The increase in sales was widespread among all five primary metal manufacturing industries. However, the non-ferrous metal production and processing and the iron and steel pipes and tubes manufacturing industries posted the largest sales gain in dollars in November.

Petroleum and coal product sales increased 3.7 percent to C$4.5 billion (US$3.4 billion) in November, their highest level since September 2015. The gain in November was mainly attributable to higher volumes reported by several oil refineries following partial shutdowns in September and October for maintenance and retooling work.

Sales in the chemical manufacturing industry rose 3.4 percent to C$4.4 billion (US$3.3 billion), the fifth increase in six months. A large part of the gain in November was from higher sales in petrochemical as well as pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing.

Sales of wood products (+3.8 percent), food (+0.9 percent) and machinery (+2.7 percent) also increased in November.

In contrast, sales in the transportation equipment industry decreased 2.3 percent to C$10.3 billion (US$7.7 billion). The decline was mainly the result of decreases in the aerospace product and parts industry (-7.4 percent) and the other transportation equipment industry (-26.8 percent), which had posted a significant increase the previous month.

Sales were up in nine provinces in November, led by Quebec and Alberta. Increases in these provinces were largely responsible for the total national gain. New Brunswick was the lone province to see a decline.

Following a 1.5 percent decrease in October, sales in Quebec rose 3 percent to C$12.1 billion (US$9.1 billion). The provincial increase was mainly due to higher sales in the petroleum and coal product and the primary metal manufacturing industries (+10.6 percent). Meanwhile, sales in the transportation equipment industry decreased 13.5 percent.

In Alberta, sales rose 3.9 percent to C$5.4 billion (US$4.1 billion) in November, following two monthly decreases. Increases were recorded in 16 of the 21 industries, largely driven by a 4.7 percent increase in the chemical products industry and a 3.8 percent gain in the food industry.

In New Brunswick, manufacturing sales fell 2.4 percent to C$1.3 billion (US$975.9 million), due to weaker sales of non-durable goods. This was the third consecutive monthly sales decline in this province.

Inventory levels decreased 0.2 percent to C$70 billion (US$52.5 billion) in November, following two consecutive monthly increases.

Inventories were down in 11 of 21 industries, with the aerospace product and parts (-2.5 percent), petroleum and coal products (-2.3 percent) and wood product (-2.2 percent) industries posting the largest declines. These declines were partially offset by a 1.7 percent increase in chemical product inventories.

The inventory-to-sales ratio declined from 1.38 in October to 1.35 in November. 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.

Total unfilled orders for the manufacturing sector were unchanged at C$89.1 billion (US$66.9 billion) in November, as fewer unfilled orders in the transportation equipment and the fabricated metal products industries were offset by more unfilled orders in the primary metal manufacturing and machinery manufacturing industries.

New orders rose for a third consecutive month, up 0.5 percent to C$51.8 billion (US$38.9 billion). The primary metal manufacturing, machinery manufacturing and chemical product manufacturing industries contributed the most to the increase in new orders at the national level.

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