Canadian factory activity rises at fastest pace in seven months

FILE PHOTO: Workers are seen at at Bri-Steel Manufacturing, a manufacturer and distributer of seamless steel pipes, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, June 21, 2018. REUTERS/Candace Elliott

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian manufacturing activity expanded in September at the fastest pace in seven months as new orders and production picked up, data showed on Tuesday.

The IHS Markit Canada Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ index (PMI), a measure of manufacturing business conditions, rose to a seasonally adjusted 51.0 in September, its highest level since February, from 49.1 in August. A reading above 50 shows expansion in the sector.

“The latest PMI figures for Canada provide some cause for optimism at the end of the third quarter,” said Andrew Harker, economics associate director at IHS Markit. “Tentative signs of demand improving helped firms secure greater volumes of new business and increase production slightly, though conditions clearly remain challenging.”

Trade tensions this year between the United States and China have contributed to a slowdown in the global economy.

A measure of output rose to a six-month high at 50.2, from 49.4 in August, as new orders rose.

New orders climbed to 50.7, its highest since February, from 47.5 in August, while employment also reached a seven-month high, rising to 52.1 from 50.5 in the prior month.

Canada’s job market has been robust this year, while the Bank of Canada has left interest rates on hold even as other central banks, including the U.S. Federal Reserve, have eased.

Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama