Canada January Factory Sales Unexpectedly Fall Led by Transport

Canadian factory sales fell in January, an unexpected decline that was the fourth in five months, on drops in automobile and aircraft.

Sales fell 0.2 percent to C$48 billion ($46.9 billion), Statistics Canada said today in Ottawa. None of the 20 economists surveyed by Bloomberg forecast a decline, and their median estimate was for a 0.6 percent gain.

Factory sales have stagnated since the end of 2011 when they reached about C$50 billion, and the central bank has said companies need to invest to regain competitiveness hampered by a strong currency. Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has said the budget he presents March 21 will cut forecasts for revenue and economic growth.

Motor vehicle sales fell 3.7 percent to C$3.72 billion in January, bringing the decline over the previous 12 months to 15.5 percent, Statistics Canada said. Aerospace and parts sales dropped 19.7 percent to C$1.14 billion in the month, still 22.4 percent higher than 12 months earlier.

Petroleum and coal fell 1.8 percent to C$7.05 billion, while food sales declined 1.3 percent to C$6.68 billion.

Saputo Inc. said March 14 it will close a 100-worker cheese factory in Warwick, Ontario, in June 2014.

Total factory sales declined 1.6 percent in January from a year earlier, Statistics Canada said.

Sales fell in seven of 21 categories tracked by Statistics Canada in January, accounting for 52 percent of production.

Excluding price changes, a better indicator of the industry’s contribution to economic growth, factory sales fell 0.4 percent.

Unfilled orders rose 5.8 percent to C$69 billion, the highest since November 2008, on a 10 percent jump in aerospace backlogs to a record C$39.6 billion.

Inventories rose 1.7 percent to C$65.4 billion, with the ratio of factory stockpiles to sales rising to 1.36 from 1.34.

New orders rose 5.1 percent to C$51.8 billion.

To contact the reporter on this story: Greg Quinn in Ottawa at gquinn1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Wellisz at cwellisz@bloomberg.net; David Scanlan at dscanlan@bloomberg.net

Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.

Bloomberg reserves the right to remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.