Canada manufacturing PMI ekes out gain in January

Fri Feb 1, 2013 9:29am EST
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* PMI rises to 50.5 in Jan from 50.4 in Dec

* Output up for first time in 3 months

* Slowest rate of job creation in 12 months

By Claire Sibonney

TORONTO, Feb 1 (Reuters) - Canadian manufacturing activity grew at a snail's pace in January, according to data released on Friday that bolstered forecasts that the country's economy will get off to a sluggish start in 2013.

The RBC Canadian Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index was 50.5 last month after adjusting for seasonal variation, compared with 50.4 in December, when the index matched its the weakest reading since data collection began in October 2010.

The index was still dangerously close to contraction, but held above the 50 mark that separates expansion from deterioration.

"The Canadian manufacturing sector experienced a relatively lackluster start to the new year amid ongoing global economic uncertainty," Craig Wright, chief economist at Royal Bank of Canada, said in a statement.

"As some of the more extreme downside risk scenarios look less likely now, we should see confidence in the global economy improve, paving the way for a stronger recovery in Canadian manufacturing."   Continued...