UPDATE 2-Canada Feb factory sales jump on autos, energy products

Tue Apr 15, 2014 10:32am EDT
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* Sales rise 1.4 pct vs estimate of 1.0 pct gain

* Record-high jumps in new orders, unfilled orders

* Transportation equipment, energy main contributors

* February GDP growth seen slowing from January (Adds analysts' comments, background)

By Louise Egan

OTTAWA, April 15 (Reuters) - Canadian manufacturing sales in February jumped to the highest level since their pre-recession peak in July 2008, but volumes were more modest and pointed to slower economic growth than in January.

Sales gained 1.4 percent versus expectations for a 1.0 percent increase, helped by higher auto industry sales and by higher energy prices, Statistics Canada data showed on Tuesday. Statscan revised down January's sales increase to 0.8 percent from 1.5 percent, however.

The overall report was upbeat for a sector that is still struggling five years after the recession, with demand from the U.S. market staying tepid.

The report's details offered a mixed picture. There was an unprecedented increase in unfilled orders and in new orders, but sales rose just 0.8 percent in volume terms.   Continued...