Canadian manufacturing PMI contracts in March

Tue Apr 2, 2013 9:29am EDT
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* PMI falls to 49.3 in March from 51.7 in February

* First contraction since data series started in 2010

* New orders slip, pushing output down; job growth slows

By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO, April 2 (Reuters) - Canada suffered a surprising contraction in manufacturing activity in March, according to data released on Tuesday, suggesting the economy has not yet shaken off the slowdown it suffered in late 2012.

The RBC Canadian Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index was at 49.3 last month after adjusting for seasonal variation, down from 51.7 in February. A reading above 50 represents expansion, while a number below 50 means contraction.

It was the first contraction since data collection for the indicator began in October 2010.

"The deterioration in the Canadian manufacturing measure is surprising in the face of improving growth in both the U.S. and various emerging economies," Royal Bank of Canada's chief economist, Craig Wright, said in a statement accompanying the data.

"This weak spot should be short-lived, however, as we expect that global demand for Canadian exports will recover, providing a welcome boost for domestic manufacturers."   Continued...