Ottawa, ON — Manufacturing sales rose 1.6% in December 2009 to $43.0 billion, according to Statistics Canada’s latest Monthly Survey of Manufacturing. The gains were mostly concentrated in the transportation equipment industry. This was the sixth increase in overall manufacturing sales in seven months and the highest level since December 2008.
Gains in the aerospace product and parts, the motor vehicle and the petroleum and coal product industries were largely responsible for December’s increase.
Constant dollar manufacturing sales increased 2.1% in December.
Production in the aerospace product and parts industry rose 28.1%, following a 17.1% decline in November. Recently, the aerospace product and parts industry has been volatile compared with the overall manufacturing sector.
Sales in the motor vehicle industry increased 4.4% in December to $3.6 billion. Sales have been rising since January 2009.
The petroleum and coal products industry reported a sales increase of 2.4% in December. The gain reflected greater sales volumes reported by several refineries.
The advance in overall manufacturing was partially offset by a 6.4% decline in the non-metallic mineral product industry.
In December, eight provinces showed stronger manufacturing sales.
The largest gain was in Ontario, where sales increased by $438 million in December to $19.8 billion. The motor vehicle, primary metal and miscellaneous manufacturing industries led the provincial increase.
New Brunswick reported an increase in sales of $156 million (+13.0%) in December. This was the third monthly rise after a 26.1% drop in September.
Manufacturing activity increased by $56 million (+5.0%) in Manitoba. The increase reverses a 4.2% drop in November.
Manufacturing sales decreased 2.3% in British Columbia, reflecting declines in both the primary metals and wood products industries.
Inventory levels declined 1.0% in December to $59.0 billion. This was the tenth monthly decline in 2009, leaving inventories 11.3% lower than December 2008 levels. Inventory decreases were widespread across the manufacturing sector, as levels contracted in 17 of 21 industries.
A 3.3% rise in petroleum and coal products inventories only partially offset the declines in other industries. The increase reflected higher inventory volumes at several refineries as prices for the industry declined 1.8% according to the Industrial Price Product Index.
The inventory-to-sales ratio declined for the fifth time in seven months, reaching 1.37 in December. December’s level is close to more normal levels for the ratio seen before November 2008.
In December, unfilled orders rose 2.3% to $52.4 billion following five consecutive monthly declines. A 4.1% increase in unfilled orders in the transportation equipment industry was mostly responsible for the overall gain in manufacturing. Total unfilled orders for the manufacturing sector were 24.8% below the level in December 2008.
Unfilled orders rise
New orders advanced 7.4% in December to $44.2 billion, reflecting strength in the transportation equipment industry. This was the fourth gain in six months.