UPDATE 2-Canada manufacturing sales plunge, confirming weak trend

Fri Dec 14, 2012 10:08am EST
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* Sales fall 1.4 pct vs estimate of no change

* Motor vehicles, primary metals post big drops

* Data confirms Canadian economy struggling to advance

By David Ljunggren

OTTAWA, Dec 14 (Reuters) - Canadian manufacturing sales unexpectedly plunged by 1.4 percent in October from September in the latest sign the economy is struggling to cope with market problems abroad and due to the effect of a strong Canadian dollar.

Statistics Canada said on Friday that the drop - the biggest in nine months - was due to weakness in major sectors such as motor vehicles and primary metals.

Analysts had expected no change in manufacturing sales. Statscan revised September's performance to unchanged from an initial 0.4 percent increase.

"A slowdown in emerging market growth and uncertainty related to the fiscal crises in both the U.S. and Europe have all led to a deceleration in global economic momentum, especially in the second half of this year," TD Economics economist Francis Fong said in a note to clients.

The October drop was the greatest since a 2.4 percent retreat in January 2012.   Continued...