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Manufacturing shipments at highest level in six months

OTTAWA, Ont. -- Manufacturing shipments rose 0.8% rise in February to $45.8 billion, the highest level since Septem...


OTTAWA, Ont. — Manufacturing shipments rose 0.8% rise in February to $45.8 billion, the highest level since September, Statistics Canada reports.

It should be noted, however, that the rise in shipments wasn’t all attributed to increased business for carriers. Rising prices for several types of manufactured goods contributed to the total value of shipments in February. And the rise in fuel prices also present a future problem for carriers.

Higher prices pulled up shipments of nondurable goods by 1.1% to $19.5 billion, the fourth increase in a row. Manufacturers of durable goods reported a 0.6% rise in shipments, making up some of the ground lost in January (-1.3%). In total, 12 of 21 industries accounting for 54.0% of total shipments, reported increases.

Soaring demand for lumber and raw steel , in particular, contributed to significant price gains in recent months.

Fuel prices were also on the increase and are expected to continue to rise. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) recently proposed to cutback crude oil production as of April 1.

"The possibility of a reduction to production quotas, in an industry currently facing strong demand, has sent petroleum prices to near record levels," Statistics Canada comments.

The Canadian dollar eased back somewhat in February following the decade-high levels of January. Although manufacturers seem to be holding their own, absorbing some of the higher costs attributed to the appreciating dollar, this factor remains a cause for concern. More than 50% of Canadian manufactured products are destined for markets abroad.

Six provinces, led by Alberta, reported higher shipments in February. Computer and electronic products manufacturing and wood products were among several industries contributing to Alberta’s 3.4% (+$131 million) rise in shipments to $4.0 billion, the seventh consecutive gain.

Ontario (+$113 million) and New Brunswick (+$87 million) followed Alberta’s lead. Value of shipments in Ontario rose by 0.5% to $23.9 billion, partly compensating for the 0.7% drop in January. Fabricated metal products and a boost in computer and electronic product output were among the contributors. Following a weak January, New Brunswick posted widespread gains as shipments recovered by 8.7% to $1.1 billion.


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