OTTAWA, Ont. — Factory shipments were down slightly in February, but considering manufacturers were coping with a CN Railway strike and an oil refinery fire in Ontario, economists say the slight downturn is actually a positive sign.
Shipments were down just 0.2% in February, totalling $48.5 billion. However, new orders for manufacturers spiked 1.9% to $50.7 billion. Thats the second highest level for new orders in 16 months. Also increasing by 4.9% were unfilled factory orders an indication of future shipment levels. They are now at their highest point since November, 2001 according to Statistics Canada.
“While not exactly a barnburner, this shows some underlying resiliency in Canadian manufacturing,” Douglas Porter, economist with BMO Capital Markets, told the Canadian Press.
The increase in new orders is the encouraging, say economists, as the US is experiencing a decline of 1% compared to last year.
“This is a big turnaround from trends of the past two years, when Canadian orders were under water and US factory orders were solid,” Porter said.
– With files from the Canadian Press
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