Inventory levels increase slightly

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OTTAWA, Ont. — Inventory levels edged up 0.2% to $63.1 billion in July, Statistics Canada records indicate.

The increase was due to a 1.5% jump in raw material inventories, as both goods-in-process and finished-product inventories were drawn down during the month. After increasing slowly throughout 2006, inventories have remained fairly stable during 2007, increasing only 0.4% since the start of the year.

Only 10 of 21 industries reported an increase in their inventories in July, led by a 5.3% gain in the petroleum and coal industry. Inventory levels in this industry have increased 20% since December 2006.

Chemical manufacturers also reported rising inventories (+1.6%) in July. These inventories rose for five consecutive months, largely due to pharmaceutical manufacturers who introduced a number of new product lines over the past year.
Primary metal manufacturers offset some of the increases, reporting lower inventories for the fourth time in the past five months. Inventory levels peaked at almost $7 billion in December 2006, before tapering off to $6.6 billion in July.

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