OTTAWA (Reuters) - The value of Canadian factory sales jumped by 1.6 percent in May from April, pushed up to near record levels by higher shipments of petroleum, coal and motor vehicles, Statistics Canada said on Wednesday.
The increase - the fourth in five months - was greater than the 1.0 percent advance predicted by market operators. In volume terms, sales also rose by 1.6 percent.
The total value of sales in May was C$51.64 billion ($47.81 billion), the fourth highest on record, and the most since the C$53.22 billion seen in July 2008.
Sales in the petroleum and coal product industry grew by 7.2 percent in May as a series of refineries returned to normal output after partial shutdowns in April for maintenance and retooling.
Sales in the motor vehicle industry increased by 9.3 percent, reaching their highest mark since January 2012, after some plants returned to regular levels after April shutdowns.
Sales rose in 11 of 21 industries, representing about 61 percent of the manufacturing sector. In Ontario, the most populous of the 10 provinces, sales rose by 2.3 percent to reach their highest level since July 2008.
The value of inventories fell by 0.6 percent, the first drop in five months, while the inventory-to-sales ratio fell to 1.39 from 1.42 in April, the lowest level since December 2013.
Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama