OTTAWA, Ont. — In February, lower prices for several resource-based industries contributed to a sizeable drop in manufacturing shipments.
Shipments tumbled 2.2% to $50.7 billion in February, the third decline in the last four months, according to a Statistics Canada report.
Although wide ranging, the decrease was largely attributable to lower industrial prices for petroleum, wood and chemical products, the government agency notes in its report in the Daily Bulletin.
Accounting for 64% of total shipments, 16 of the 21 industries posted decreases in February. A portion of the drop was concentrated in industries where prices have fallen in recent months. Excluding the petroleum and coal products, wood products and chemical products industries, shipments declined only 0.8%.
At 1997 prices, manufacturers maintained shipment volumes at January’s level of $47.6 billion, thus production remained stable.
Only Newfoundland and Labrador, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut registered higher shipments in February. Lower shipments by nondurable goods industries largely contributed to the weak month for most provinces.
Quebec’s manufacturers reported a $338 million drop in shipments (-2.7%) to $12.0 billion. Declines in shipments of petroleum, food and wood products pulled down manufacturing activity in Quebec for the third time in the last four months.
The petroleum and primary metals industries contributed to Ontario’s $200 million (-0.8%) decrease in manufacturing activity to $25.4 billion, while British Columbia’s manufacturing sector posted a $129 million (-3.4%) drop in shipments to $3.7 billion. The wood products industry was largely responsible for the first decrease in British Columbia in five months.
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