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Canada Manufacturing Sales Gain as Factories Process Bumper Crop

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Dec. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Canadian manufacturing sales unexpectedly increased in October led by the largest gain by food manufacturers in two decades, as factories handled a record canola harvest.

Sales rose 1.0 percent to C$50.1 billion ($47.3 billion), Statistics Canada said today in Ottawa. The result exceeded all 15 forecasts in a Bloomberg survey of economists that had a 0.3 percent decline as the median estimate.

Food manufacturers posted a 6.9 percent sales gain to C$7.74 billion and chemical shipments gained 2.8 percent to C$4.05 billion, Statistics Canada said. At the same time, other large factory categories posted declines. Motor vehicle assembly fell 1.9 percent to C$4.59 billion in October, and petroleum and coal product sales were down 0.3 percent to C$7.15 billion.

Sales rose in 13 of 21 categories tracked by Statistics Canada, accounting for 49 percent of production. While shipments are 2.6 percent above year-earlier levels, they remain 0.9 percent below the post-recession peak set at the end of 2011, today’s figures show.

Inventories rose 1.9 percent to C$69.4 billion, with the ratio of factory stockpiles to sales rising to 1.39 from 1.37. The increase in stockpiles was led by the petroleum and coal and transportation equipment industries, Statistics Canada said.

Unfilled orders increased 0.7 percent to C$72.3 billion, Statistics Canada said, due to a 1.2 percent gain at aerospace and parts factories. “Most of the gain reflected a strengthening of the U.S. dollar compared with the Canadian dollar,” the agency said in the report. “The bulk of unfilled orders in the aerospace industry are held in U.S. dollars.”

The aerospace industry also led a 5.9 percent jump in new orders.

Excluding price changes, a better indicator of manufacturing’s contribution to economic growth, factory sales rose 1.0 percent in October, meaning price changes had little impact on the figure.

To contact the reporter on this story: Theophilos Argitis in Ottawa at targitis@bloomberg.net

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

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