Canada Sept factory sales raise hopes of a comeback

Fri Nov 15, 2013 10:24am EST
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By Louise Egan

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian manufacturing sales jumped in September to their highest since June 2012 on strength in the auto and food industries, an encouraging sign that the hard-hit sector may be rebounding and contributing to speedier economic growth.

Manufacturing sales grew 0.6 percent in the month, slightly above the 0.5 percent gain forecast by market operators, to C$49.9 billion ($47.5 billion). Sales were flat in August.

In volume terms, which matter most for gross domestic product growth, sales rose 1 percent in September.

"This is the first gain in the volume of shipments since the first quarter of 2012 ... it might feed sentiment that perhaps Canadian manufacturing is finally turning the corner,' said Scotia Capital economists Derek Holt and Dov Zigler in a note to clients.

"A caution against this is that the order book has been waning," they said.

In contrast to the strong sales figure, new orders slid 2.6 percent, the biggest drop in nine months as a result of a decrease in the aerospace industry. Excluding aerospace, which is highly volatile, new orders were up 1.4 percent, a Statscan official said.

The Canadian dollar firmed to a session high after the data. It firmed as high as C$1.0453 to the greenback, or 95.67 U.S. cents, stronger than Thursday's close of C$1.0468, or 95.53 U.S. cents. <CAD/>

On the year, overall factory shipments rose 1 percent. But the weak U.S. market and strong Canadian dollar have prevented manufacturing from returning to its pre-recession peak.   Continued...

A partially assembled Chrysler minivan works its way down the assembly line during the production launch of the new 2011 Dodge Grand Caravan's and Chrysler Town & Country minivans at the Windsor Assembly Plant in Windsor, Ontario January 18, 2011. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook