Manufacturers of computers (+10.5%) and fabricated metal products (+5.3%) led the growth in manufacturing shipments in February with 10.5% and 5.3% gains, respectively.
Higher prices contributed to gains in the petroleum (+3.9%) and wood products (+4.1%) industries.
Volatility continued in the manufacturing of computer and electronic products. In February, shipments rebounded to $1.7 billion, following successive losses in December (-0.8%) and January (-7.8%). Canada’s telecommunications sector remains tepid, despite a rebound in manufacturing by their US counterparts, where shipments have soared 17.5% in the first two months of 2004.
Meanwhile, various subindustries of fabricated metal products manufacturing contributed to the 5.3% boost in shipments to $2.6 billion. This represented a partial recovery from January’s steep drop (-6.5%).
Shipments of petroleum and coal products jumped 3.9% to $3.3 billion in February, the highest level since March 2003. Rising prices for crude oil, partly caused by strong global demand and a possible cut in production quotas, contributed to the boost in the value of petroleum shipments.
Wood products manufacturing jumped 4.1% to $2.7 billion, the highest level in three months. The ongoing construction boom in Canada and the United States continued to generate heavy demand for wood products, and contributed to recent price gains. Wood product prices have soared almost 10% since December.
Offsetting some of February’s increase, manufacturers of transportation equipment reported fewer shipments. Motor vehicles shipments fell 3.1% to $5.4 billion, while production of aerospace products and parts decreased a substantial 14.1% to $863 million. Both industries reported successive increases in December and January.
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