Inventories increase slightly in January

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OTTAWA, Ont. — Total inventories for manufacturers rose 0.1% to $63.1 billion in January, the sixth increase in the last seven months to just below recent high levels.

An unseasonably warm December and early January in eastern North America allowed inventories of petroleum and coal products to rise in January. In spite of lower shipment levels in January, slow sales of motor vehicles led to higher inventories.

Companies in 12 of 21 industries reduced their inventories, with primary metals and plastics accounting for most of the drop.

By stage of fabrication, goods in process inventories have eased lower in five of the last six months. Inventories of raw materials increased after a four month slide, while finished products inventories fell 1.1% after rising steadily over the last six months of 2006.

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