Ottawa - Manufacturing sales increased 1.0% in October 2013 to $50.1 billion. With this gain, sales reached their highest level since May 2012. The sales increase in October was mostly caused by higher sales in the food industry. Sales also rose notably in the chemical industry.
Sales advanced in 13 of 21 industries, representing 49% of the manufacturing sector. Non-durable goods sales advanced 2.6% while durable goods sales declined 0.5%.
Constant dollar sales were up 1.0%, indicating a rise in volumes.
Sales rise substantially in the food industry
In the food industry, sales rose 6.9% to $7.7 billion in October, as a result of widespread increases reported by a large number of food manufacturers. The sales gain in the industry was the largest recorded over the past two decades. The advance in manufacturing sales also coincided with higher exports of farm, fishing and intermediate food products. Noteworthy sales gains were posted by the meat, dairy, other food, and grain and oilseed milling sub-industries. In the grain and oilseed milling sub-industry, strong sales reflected record levels of canola production this year.
Chemical sales increased 2.8% to $4.1 billion in October, as a result of widespread gains.
In the transportation equipment industry, sales fell 1.7% to $8.8 billion, offsetting a portion of the overall gain in total manufacturing sales. Sales were down 1.9% in the motor vehicle assembly industry while production decreased 4.5% in the aerospace product and parts industry.
Sales up in seven provinces
Manufacturing sales were up in seven provinces in October, with Quebec leading the way.
In Quebec, sales rose 2.1% to $11.7 billion in October. The gain largely stemmed from higher food sales, particularly in the dairy, meat, and animal food sub-industries. Higher production in the aerospace product and parts industry also contributed to the provincial increase.
Sales in the manufacturing sector in Alberta posted a 2.7% increase to $6.4 billion in October, largely reflecting higher sales in the chemical, petroleum and coal product as well as food industries.
New Brunswick manufacturing sales were up 7.7% to $1.9 billion, the highest level on record. Sales rose in 16 of 21 industries in the province.
Lower sales in Ontario offset a portion of the gains in October. The province's manufacturing sales edged down 0.4% to $22.5 billion. The decrease was largely the result of a 31.9% decline in the aerospace product and parts industry along with decreases in the petroleum and coal product, and motor vehicle industries. Production in the aerospace industry is substantially more volatile compared with the manufacturing sector as a whole.
Manufacturing inventories rose 1.9% to $69.4 billion, the third gain in four months. The increase largely stemmed from higher inventories of petroleum and coal products and transportation equipment.
In the petroleum and coal product industry, inventories were up 9.5% to $6.0 billion. The gain was entirely caused by higher inventories of raw materials on hand.
Transportation equipment inventories rose 3.4% to $12.0 billion in October. The gain was mostly attributable to a 3.4% advance in aerospace products and parts and a 5.8% rise in the motor vehicle assembly industry.
Computer and electronic product inventories increased 4.3% to $3.2 billion, partly as a result of higher raw materials on hand.
The inventory-to-sales ratio rose to 1.39 in October from 1.37 in September. 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.
Unfilled orders increase
Unfilled orders rose 0.7% to $72.3 billion, the 10th gain in 12 months. The increase was caused by higher unfilled orders in the aerospace product and parts industry. Excluding the aerospace industry, unfilled orders were flat.
In the aerospace product and parts industry, unfilled orders advanced 1.2% to $41.3 billion. Most of the gain reflected a strengthening of the US dollar compared with the Canadian dollar. The bulk of unfilled orders in the aerospace industry are held in US dollars.
As well, unfilled orders rose 3.8% to $3.2 billion in the computer and electronic product industry. The gain was the second increase since March.
New orders increased 5.9% to $50.6 billion, reflecting gains in the aerospace product and parts, and food industries.