Canadian manufacturing PMI growth stuck at 2-year low

Wed Jan 2, 2013 9:29am EST
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* PMI flat at 50.4 in Dec from Nov

* Holds at weakest reading in survey's 2-year history

* Slowest rate of job growth since January 2012

By Claire Sibonney

TORONTO, Jan 2 (Reuters) - Canadian manufacturing growth was little changed in December, hovering at a more than two-year low, according to data released on Wednesday, adding to recent evidence of a disappointing economic performance for the fourth quarter.

The RBC Canadian Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index was 50.4 last month after adjusting for seasonal variation, compared with roughly the same figure in November, when the index marked its the weakest reading since data collection began in October 2010.

The PMI average for the fourth quarter as a whole was 50.7, down from 52.8 in the previous quarter, and was also the lowest quarterly reading in more than two years.

The index was precariously close to contraction but still remained above the 50 mark that separates expansion from deterioration.

"A weak global economy and a strong loonie have weighed somewhat on the broader sector and contributed to a flat PMI reading compared to November," Craig Wright, chief economist at Royal Bank of Canada, said in a statement, echoing policymakers' concerns that the persistent strength of the Canadian dollar is hurting the country's export-driven economy.   Continued...