Sharp drop wipes out gains in June and July.
OTTAWA — Canada’s manufacturing sector contracted for the first time this year as August sales fell 3.3% to $52.1 billion.
Statistics Canada said about half the August loss was because of lower sales of motor vehicles and parts. Without motor vehicles and parts in the mix, manufacturing sales fell 1.9%.
Economists had expected a loss of 1.6%, according to Thomson Reuters.
The decline also helped push the loonie down 0.63 of a cent to 88.2 cents US.
Manufacturing sales had been trending upwards since January, but August’s sharp drop essentially wiped out June and July’s gains.
Sales for the month were down in 16 of 21 industries, representing about 81% of the country’s manufacturing, Statistics Canada said.
In constant dollar terms, sales fell 3.7%, suggesting a lower volume of products was sold.
Sales of transportation equipment fell 12.8% to $8.9 billion in August, Statistics Canada said, mostly because of fewer sales of motor vehicles and parts.
After a gain of 13.7% in July, which was stronger than usual, sales in the motor vehicle industry fell 12% to $4.5 billion in August. Sales in the parts industry were down 10.8 % to $2 billion for the month – the second drop in eight months.
Statistics Canada also said sales of petroleum and coal products fell 3.4% to $7.3 billion.
There were fewer sales in seven provinces in August, mostly concentrated in Ontario.
Statistics Canada said total inventories fell 0.6% to $71.3 billion in August. It was the second time total inventories have fallen in eight months.
© 2014 The Canadian Press