Canada: Monthly Survey of Manufacturing, October 2017

Manufacturing sales declined 0.4% to $53.5 billion in October, following two consecutive monthly increases.

Sales fell in 8 of 21 industries, representing 56.0% of the manufacturing sector. Sales of motor vehicles and other transportation equipment accounted for most of the decline in October. Excluding these two industries, manufacturing sales increased 0.5%.

In constant dollars, sales decreased 1.5% in October, reflecting a lower volume of goods sold.

Transportation equipment posts the largest decline

Transportation equipment sales declined 5.0% to $9.7 billion in October, mostly due to lower sales of motor vehicle and other transportation equipment.

Sales in the motor vehicle industry fell 6.7% to $4.6 billion, the second consecutive monthly decrease. The decline partly reflected lower volumes generated by decreased production after shutdowns of some assembly plants in October. In constant dollars, sales volumes in the motor vehicle industry fell 7.6%.

Other transportation equipment sales were down 37.2% to $248 million in October. Sales in this industry are volatile compared with sales in the transportation equipment industry as a whole. In constant dollars, sales volume fell 37.9%.

Sales were also down in the chemical (-1.1%) and machinery (-1.4%) industries in October. The declines were widespread and reflected lower volumes of goods sold.

Lower sales in current dollars were partially offset by increases in petroleum and coal (+2.2%) and wood product (+3.4%) industries. After removing the effect of price changes, the volume of sales rose 1.1% and 1.9% respectively in these industries.

Sales down in Ontario

Sales decreased in six provinces in October, led by Ontario.

Sales in Ontario fell 2.2% to $24.0 billion, mainly attributable to declines in the motor vehicle (-7.7%), machinery (-3.6%) and food (-1.4%) industries.

Following three consecutive monthly increases, sales in Quebec declined 0.4% to $13.2 billion, mainly due to the petroleum and coal product and transportation equipment industries. These declines were partly offset by higher sales in the wood product and furniture and related product industries.

In Alberta, sales rose 4.2% to $6.0 billion, following a 1.4% decline in September. Sales were up in 10 of 21 industries, largely driven by higher sales in the petroleum and coal product (+14.7%) and, to a lesser extent, food and fabricated metal product industries.

In British Columbia, sales rose 2.1% to $4.3 billion in October, the third straight monthly increase. Gains were observed in 17 of 21 industries, mainly driven by a 7.0% sales increase in the primary metals industry. Sales were also higher in the paper, wood product and petroleum and coal product industries.

Inventory levels rise

Inventory levels increased 1.6% to $74.8 billion in October, following two consecutive monthly declines. Inventories rose in 16 of 21 industries, with the largest gains in the transportation equipment (+2.8%), primary metals (+2.9%) and machinery (+2.1%) industries.

The inventory-to-sales ratio increased from 1.37 in September to 1.40 in October. The inventory-to-sales ratio measures the time, in months, that would be required to exhaust inventories if sales were to remain at their current level.

Unfilled orders increase

Unfilled orders rose 2.4% in October to $87.3 billion, following a 1.1% decline in September. The growth in October was mainly attributable to more unfilled orders in the aerospace product and parts industry (+3.1%), which was partially due to the depreciation of the Canadian dollar relative to the US dollar during the month.

New orders rose 5.3% in October to $55.5 billion, as the aerospace product and parts, primary metals and fabricated metal products industries saw an increase in new orders. This advance was partially offset by a decrease in new orders in the motor vehicle industry.


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Dean Popplewell

Dean Popplewell

Vice-President of Market Analysis at MarketPulse
Dean Popplewell has nearly two decades of experience trading currencies and fixed income instruments. He has a deep understanding of market fundamentals and the impact of global events on capital markets. He is respected among professional traders for his skilled analysis and career history as global head of trading for firms such as Scotia Capital and BMO Nesbitt Burns. Since joining OANDA in 2006, Dean has played an instrumental role in driving awareness of the forex market as an emerging asset class for retail investors, as well as providing expert counsel to a number of internal teams on how to best serve clients and industry stakeholders.
Dean Popplewell