Manufacturing sales slowly edge up

April 21, 2010
by Canadian PLANT staff

OTTAWA: Manufacturing sales in February continued to inch their way ahead of a low in May last year with a 0.1% gain for a total of  $44.1 billion reported by 12 of 21 industries, says Statistics Canada.

Constant dollar manufacturing sales increased 0.3%, the sixth consecutive increase.

The agency says sales of non-durable goods rose 0.4%, continuing to outperform durable goods manufacturing, which dropped 0.3 per cent.

Gains were largely offset by decreases in nine industries. Here are the highlights:

• Plastic and rubber product manufacturers’ sales rose 4.4% during the month following a 9% gain in January.

• Chemical products sales were up 4.3 per cent.

• Petroleum and coal products decreased 3.9% as a result of a combination of factors, including lower prices and the impact of fires at two refineries.

• Motor vehicle manufacturing sales decreased 1.1%, reflecting temporary shutdowns. Motor vehicle parts sales decreased 3.4% and aerospace production declined 0.4%.

• Provincial results were evenly split in February, with most of the sales increases in Western Canada and Ontario.

• Inventory levels remained stable, up 0.2 per cent.

• The greatest inventory increases (10.2%) were in petroleum and coal products.

• Primary metal inventories fell 4.5%, half of the decline coming from lower prices.

• The inventory-to-sales ratio held steady at 1.35%, a return to a level seen prior to the economic downturn.