OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian manufacturing sales rebounded in March, driven by gains in the motor vehicle sector and record sales in the food industry, data from Statistics Canada showed on Wednesday.
The 1.0 percent increase was in line with economists' expectations, though the gain in volumes was less robust at 0.2 percent. Sales for February were downwardly revised to a drop of 0.6 percent from an initially reported 0.2 percent decrease.
Sales rose in 16 of 21 industries in March, accounting for 71 percent of the manufacturing sector. The transportation sector led the way, rising 2.1 percent as the vehicle and vehicle parts industries saw increases in sales volumes and prices.
Food industry sales rose for the second month in a row, climbing 2.6 percent to a record high of C$8.9 billion ($6.54 billion). Gains were widespread, with all nine food subsectors gaining, particularly meat and dairy.
Overall inventories rose 1.2 percent to a record high of C$72.7 billion, lifted by the transportation equipment and beverage and tobacco sectors. Still, the inventory-to-sales ratio, which measures how many months it would take to exhaust inventories at current sales levels, was unchanged at 1.35.
Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Paul Simao