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Inventories drawn down in the face of rail strike, refinery fire

OTTAWA, Ont. -- A two week long rail strike at a major Canadian carrier compelled manufacturers to draw on inventor...


OTTAWA, Ont. — A two week long rail strike at a major Canadian carrier compelled manufacturers to draw on inventories in February in an attempt to maintain production levels.

Total inventories for manufacturers fell 0.4% to $62.8 billion in February, after hovering near record levels for several months, Statistics Canada reports. Allowing for the 4.6% increase in the price of petroleum and coal during this time, the industry actually tapped an estimated 4.6% of finished goods and 6.1% of raw materials of inventories to fill its orders in February.

While companies in 11 of 21 industries increased their inventories, rail dependent industries such as chemicals (-1.3%) and motor vehicles (-6.2%) used their inventories to tide them over during interruptions in the supply chain.

By stage of fabrication, goods in process inventories have eased lower in six of the last seven months. Inventories of raw materials have declined in five of the last six months, while finished products inventories fell 0.3%, a second drop after rising steadily over the previous six months.


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