April data from the RBC PMI highlighted a sustained recovery in business conditions across the Canadian manufacturing sector, with growth of output, new orders and employment all accelerating since the previous month.
At the same time, manufacturers pointed to the weakest rate of input price inflation so far in 2016, despite rising demand for raw materials and some reports of renewed stock shortages among suppliers. Reduced cost pressures and efforts to stimulate client demand in turn contributed to a decline in factory gate charges for the first time in three months.
A monthly survey, conducted in association with Markit, a leading global financial information services company, and the Supply Chain Management Association (SCMA), the RBC PMI offers a comprehensive and early indicator of trends in the Canadian manufacturing sector. Adjusted for seasonal influences, the RBC Canadian Manufacturing PMI registered 52.2 in April, up slightly from 51.5 in March and above the neutral 50.0 threshold for the second month running. Although indicative of a moderate improvement in business conditions, the latest reading was the strongest since December 2014. This was mainly driven by a rebound in output, new business and employment growth. Meanwhile, the only negative influence on the headline PMI was a fractional reduction in stocks of purchases during April, which reflected ongoing caution among manufacturers in relation to their inventory management.
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