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Manufacturing sales increase for third-straight month

Published by Steve Coleman on November 15, 2011

Canadian manufacturers sold more in September.

Statistics Canada says manufacturing sales rose 2.6 per cent to $49.2 billion in September, the country's third-straight monthly increase. Higher sales in petroleum and coal products and the transportation equipment industries helped fuel September's move into positive territory.

Constant dollar manufacturing sales increased 1.8 per cent, the third monthly gain, and higher sales were reported in 10 of 21 industries. The 10 reporting increases represented 60.5 per cent of total Canadian manufacturing.

Other good news for the manufacturing industry included a third-straight month of higher manufacturing sales with petroleum and coal products leading the way.

Sales of petroleum and coal products increased 13.7 per cent to $7.6 billion in September. The increase was the largest in percentage terms since March 1999. A large percentage of that was a result of petroleum refineries coming back online after summer maintenance and expansion projects.

Sales rose 7.1 per cent to $8 billion in the transportation equipment industry because of gains in the aerospace product and parts, and motor vehicle industries. In the aerospace product and parts industry, production rose 17 per cent to $1.6 billion, the highest level since July 2009. Sales in the motor vehicle industry advanced 6.2 per cent to $3.8 billion in September as several plants returned to full production.

The increase in September was partly offset by a 3 per cent decline in sales in the food industry where things were down across the board. A decline in the jewellery and silverware manufacturing industries helped push the "miscellaneous" industry category down 13.3 percentage points.

Nine provinces reported healthier manufacturing sales during the month, with Alberta, Quebec, New Brunswick and Ontario leading the way.

Manufacturers in Alberta reported a 5.9 per cent boost in sales to $6.3 billion, the largest percentage increase since May 2008. Like the industries that led the way, Alberta's gains were in petroleum and coal products and machinery.

Sales in Quebec rose 2.3 per cent to $11.9 billion in September on the strength of gains in 12 of 21 industries. The aerospace product and parts industry accounted for three-quarters of the gains. The sector reported a 25 per cent production increase to $1 billion.

Non-durable goods helped push New Brunswick's economy farther into the black in September. The Maritime province saw its third-straight monthly increase with sales increasing 3.3 per cent to $1.9 billion.

Manufacturers in Ontario reported a single percentage point increase in sales to $22.1 billion in September, the third monthly increase after a 1.1 per cent drop in June. While the month's two hottest commodities put Ontario into the positive side of the ledger, food and miscellaneous industries pushed the final total lower than it could have been.

Twelve of 21 manufacturing sectors also reported stocking more inventory than they have in the past. Levels rose 0.4 per cent to $63.9 billion in September. Inventories levels have inched up since early 2010 to their highest level since March 2009.

A 3.1 per cent increase in the machinery industry and a 4.7 per cent rise in the aerospace product and parts industry led the way.

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