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INDUSTRY PULSE: Lowest output in motor vehicle industry in over three years

OTTAWA, Ont. -- Transportation equipment fell 1.4% to $8.8 billion in October, the fourth consecutive decline and s...

OTTAWA, Ont. — Transportation equipment fell 1.4% to $8.8 billion in October, the fourth consecutive decline and seventh monthly drop this year.

Despite a relatively strong month of automotive sales on both sides of the border, shipments in the motor vehicle industry fell 1.0% to $4.5 billion, the lowest level in over three years, according to data gathered by Statistics Canada. This was due, in part, to a late start launching some 2007 model vehicles.

A combination of a slowdown in auto assembly and increased sourcing of parts from off-shore suppliers resulted in shipments falling from auto parts suppliers by 2.4% to $2.1 billion. It was the fourth monthly decline and the lowest level of shipments since June 1998.

Aerospace shipments fell 9.4% to $1.2 billion following strong quarter-end deliveries in September. Due to the high value of product of the aerospace industry, monthly swings of plus or minus hundreds of million dollars are not unusual. For the first 10 months of 2006, aerospace shipments were 4.1% lower than in the same period of last year.

Canadian refineries continued to produce at normal levels, but at reduced prices. Consequently, shipments of petroleum and coal products fell 6.2% to $4.4 billion. Prices declined by 6.3% because of burgeoning inventories of gasoline and crude oil in the United States in October.

Machinery manufacturing shipments rebounded from their lowest level in 14 months, with the single largest increase in shipments in October, an 8.6% jump to $2.7 billion. The machinery sub sector includes a broad variety of industries engaged in manufacturing industrial and commercial machinery.

Food manufacturing returned to normal shipment levels after an exceptional month in September. Food shipments fell 2.4% to $5.6 billion.

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