Business

August manufacturing sales better than expected

Canadian manufacturers increased their sales by a surprising 1.4 per cent in August, to $47.6 billion, Statistics Canada reported Friday.
Engine specialist Jennifer Souch assembles a Camaro engine at the GM factory in Oshawa. Canadian manufacturing sales rose a better-than-expected 1.4 per cent in August. (Frank Gunn/Canadian Press)

Canadian manufacturers increased their sales by a surprising 1.4 per cent in August, to $47.6 billion, Statistics Canada reported Friday.

The consensus among economists had been for an increase of 0.5 per cent.

Sales reached their highest monthly value in almost three years. Adjusting for inflation, the volume of sales was up 1.1 per cent.

Still, sales are still below the level they were at before the 2009 recession.

The growth in August was limited to 11 of the 21 manufacturing sectors tracked by Statistics Canada, but those make up 70 per cent of the industry.

"This month's results extend a positive sales trend, but keep in mind that the recent two-month growth sequence merely makes up for ground lost in the second quarter of the year," said TD Bank economist Jacques Marcil.

"With about one-third of our manufacturing sales going to the U.S., we are not expecting breakneck growth for the rest of the year," Marcil said.

"Signs point to improved auto industry shipments stateside," he said, "but these are vulnerable to buyer confidence, which remains weak. At the same time, the recent softness of the Canadian dollar will provide offsetting support."

Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Ontario led the provincial increases. Sales of transportation equipment led all categories, rising seven per cent after a 3.5 per cent gain in July.

With files from The Canadian Press

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