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INDUSTRY PULSE: Manufacturing shipments rebound in January

OTTAWA, Ont. -- Following a lacklustre finish to 2004, manufacturers rebounded in January with solid gains in shipm...


OTTAWA, Ont. — Following a lacklustre finish to 2004, manufacturers rebounded in January with solid gains in shipments, Statistics Canada reports.

Wide ranging increases contributed to a 3.0% surge in shipments to $51.5 billion, while new orders soared 7.1% and manufacturers’ backlog of unfilled orders jumped 5.2% ending a five-month slide.

"The impact of the strong Canadian dollar, coupled with high input costs took a toll on the manufacturing sector in the later months of 2004. Prospects however, improved in January as a combination of higher volumes of production and a bounce-back in industrial prices contributed to strong shipment gains at the start of the year. At 1997 prices, shipments jumped 3.2% to $48.6 billion in January, following a 0.4% decline in December," Statistics Canada noted in its Daily Bulletin.

The bulk of manufacturing industries (16 of 21), posted increases accounting for 86% of total shipments in January. Durable goods manufacturers boosted output by a sizable 4.5% to $29.7 billion. Leading the way were big-ticket industries including aircraft and parts, heavy trucks, motor vehicles and machinery, as they worked their way through various orders during the month.

Shipments of nondurable goods rose 1.0% to $21.9 billion, making up some of the ground lost in December when lower petroleum prices contributed to a 1.4% drop in shipment values.

In January, the transportation equipment sector contributed to sizable increases in shipments for Ontario and Quebec, where most of Canada’s manufacturing takes place. Most provinces posted higher shipments with only Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island and the territories reporting declines.


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