DAILY NEWS Jan 27, 2014 6:20 AM - 0 comments

Slowing growth results in four-month low for manufacturing index

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Toronto -- Manufacturing business conditions in Canada continued to improve in December 2013, albeit at the weakest pace since August 2013, according to the RBC Canadian Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (RBC PMI). A monthly survey, conducted in association with Markit, a global financial information services company, and the Supply Chain Management Association (SCMA), the RBC PMI offers a comprehensive and early indicator of trends in the Canadian manufacturing sector.

After adjusting for seasonal variation, the RBC PMI – a composite indicator designed to provide a single-figure snapshot of the health of the manufacturing sector – registered 53.5 in December and, above the 50.0 no-change mark, indicated a solid improvement in Canada’s manufacturing business conditions. However, down from 55.3 in November to a four-month low, the RBC PMI suggested that the rate of growth had slowed further from its recent two-and-a-half year peak.

The RBC PMI showed that new business rose strongly in December, supporting a further increase in production. However, the rate of new order growth eased sharply to a four-month low. Concurrently, employment increased at a modest pace that was the slowest since April. Input prices, meanwhile, rose at the strongest pace for nine months, but the rate of inflation remained weaker than the series average.

“While output and new order growth ebbed in December following a particularly strong month in November, Canada’s manufacturing sector continued to grow, registering a solid 53.5,” said Paul Ferley, assistant chief economist, RBC. “Our outlook for 2014 is underpinned by the assumption that Canadian exports will firm as the US continues on a path of recovery – this will provide a healthier environment for manufacturing to further grow in the New Year.”

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