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Shipment volumes drop again in October

OTTAWA, Ont. -- Shipment volumes have been up and down like a yo-yo so far this year and that pattern will continue...

OTTAWA, Ont. — Shipment volumes have been up and down like a yo-yo so far this year and that pattern will continue through to year end.

In October manufacturing shipments decreased 1.1% to $42.5 billion, as manufacturers gave back some of the large gains of September.

October’s decrease in shipments was broadly based, spanning 15 of 21 industries, accounting for 71% of total shipments,according to Statistics Canada.

A number of factors contributed to the pause in shipments, the government agency noted: “In some industries, October marked the return to more normal shipments levels following quarter-end boosts to production in September and the large bounce-back (+5.4%) after the Ontario blackout. Lower industrial prices in October also contributed to decreases in some industries.”

Another key factor impacting export-reliant manufacturers was the appreciating value of the Canadian dollar against the US greenback, which reached a 10-year high in October. Many of Canada’s manufacturing outputs are destined for US markets.

Ontario led the eight provinces reporting lower shipments in October. Shipments fell $221 million (-1.0%) to $22.7 billion, following a 9.0% blackout-related recovery in September. Decreases in Ontario’s computer and chemical industries offset a strong boost in food manufacturing.

Lower prices for paper and wood products contributed to a $107 million (-3.7%) decrease in shipments by British Columbia manufacturers. Quebec’s shipments receded $100 million (-1.0%) in October, as a result of decreases in the computer and paper industries.

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