Ottawa – Canadian manufacturing sales increased 2.5% to $53.7 billion in July 2014, exceeding the previous record of $53.2 billion set in July 2008, according to the latest Monthly Survey of Manufacturing from Statistics Canada. Manufacturing sales have trended upwards since January 2014. The gain in July was largely attributable to higher sales in the transportation equipment and primary metal industries.
Sales rose in 16 of 21 industries, representing about 56% of Canadian manufacturing.
Constant dollar sales rose 2.8% in July, indicating the gain was mainly due to a rise in volumes rather than prices.
Transportation equipment leads the gains
Transportation equipment sales rose 10.3% to $10.1 billion in July. The advance was mainly due to gains in the motor vehicle, aerospace product and parts, and other transportation equipment sub-industries.
In the motor vehicle sub-industry, sales increased 11.6% to $5.1 billion. Historically, most automotive plants have shutdowns in July. However, this year, several plants reported shorter or no shutdowns during July, which accounted for the stronger than normal month.
Primary metal sales rose 4.0% to $4.2 billion in July. Gains in the industry were widespread.
In July, five industries reported lower sales, with food manufacturing reporting the largest decrease, down 1.4% to $7.9 billion.
Sales gains concentrated in Ontario
While eight provinces posted higher sales in July, the bulk of the gain was in Ontario.
Sales in Ontario rose 4.2% to $25.0 billion in July. About 90% of the provincial gain stemmed from a 12.2% advance in the transportation equipment industry. Sales rose 3.9% in the primary metal industry and 4.4% in the fabricated metal product industry. A 3.6% decline in the food industry offset some of these gains.
The second largest gain for July was in Manitoba, where manufacturing sales rose 15.4% to $1.5 billion. Most of the gain reflected an increase in the transportation equipment and primary metal industries.
In Alberta, sales declined 0.8% to $6.9 billion. This was the second decline in seven months. Decreases in the petroleum and coal product and food industries were largely responsible for the provincial decline.
Inventories edge up
Inventory levels remained virtually unchanged in July, edging up 0.1% to $71.5 billion. Higher inventories held by manufacturers in the aerospace product and parts industry were almost completely offset by a decrease in the petroleum and coal product industry.
In the aerospace product and parts industry, inventories increased 4.6% to $8.2 billion. The gain was mostly the result of higher goods in process and finished products on hand.
In the petroleum and coal product industry, inventories fell 2.6% to $7.6 billion. A decrease in finished products held by manufacturers was the principal factor behind the decline, as several plants sold off excess inventories.
Unfilled orders rise
Unfilled orders rose 0.6% to $89.6 billion in July, following two months of slight declines. Advances in the computer and electronic product, transportation equipment, and primary metal industries were mainly responsible for the increase in July.
Unfilled orders in the computer and electronic product industry advanced 3.9% to $4.3 billion, the sixth consecutive monthly increase and the eighth gain in 10 months.
New orders rose 4.3% to $54.2 billion in July, mainly as a result of gains in the transportation equipment and primary metal industries.