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Statistics Canada says higher prices helped manufacturing sales edge up in January

The Canadian Press   

Economy Government Manufacturing Canada Coal COVID-19 Economy energy government manufacturer manufacturing motor vehicles Operations Petroleum prices Technology

OTTAWA – Canadian manufacturing sales rose 0.6 per cent to $64.8 billion in January, as higher prices helped boost sales in the petroleum and coal sector to a record high and lift wood product sales higher, Statistics Canada said Tuesday.

“The generally weaker than expected result could knock a tick off the advance estimate of monthly GDP, but that won’t be enough on its own to change the view that the Canadian economy fared much better than expected during the Omicron wave,” CIBC economist Andrew Grantham wrote in a note.

Overall sales in constant dollars fell 1.8 per cent in January, indicating the growth was a result of rising prices.

Stephen Brown, senior Canada economist at Capital Economics, said the drop in volume terms was at least in part due to the impact of staff absenteeism amid the Omicron surge in COVID-19 cases in January.

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However, Brown said with hours worked across the sector increasing strongly last month, it seems likely that manufacturing sales volumes rebounded in February.

Statistics Canada said Tuesday petroleum and coal product sales rose 6.8 per cent to a record $7.9 billion in January as higher prices for refined petroleum products helped drive the growth. Sales of petroleum and coal product in constant dollars fell 1.3 per cent.

Meanwhile, sales of wood products rose 6.5 per cent to $4.1 billion in January, helped by higher prices. Sales in constant dollars were unchanged.

Sales of motor vehicles dropped 17.5 per cent to $3.0 billion in January as several auto assembly plants saw production shutdowns due to supply chain disruptions and semiconductor shortages.

Motor vehicle parts sales fell 7.1 per cent to $2.3 billion.

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