INDUSTRY PULSE: Shipment volumes post strong gains in first half of 2004

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OTTAWA, Ont. — Manufacturers posted record-high shipments of $49.9 billion in June, up 1.5% from May, Statistics Canada reports.

June’s increase in shipments was widespread; 15 of 21 industries, accounting for a healthy 82% of total shipments, were up. June also marked the seventh consecutive advance in shipments, the longest string of gains since eight months were reported during 1998/99.

"Although soaring prices for crude oil and various primary metals have contributed to strong shipment gains in recent months, June’s increase went beyond the price effect," Statistics Canada comments in its report.

Big-ticket industries such as motor vehicles, aerospace and machinery, contributed to a 2.0% hike in durable goods manufacturing to $28.6 billion in June, the highest level since the boom period of 2000. Shipments of nondurable goods were also up by 0.8%, following May’s price-inflated jump of 2.3%.

Manufacturing shipments have rebounded 6.1% in the first six months of 2004, compared with the same period in 2003. Despite the strong gains, however, Canadian manufacturers still have some room to catch up to their southern neighbours. Year-to-date shipments in the United States are up 10.6% compared with last year.

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