Shipments soar in September (November 20, 2003)

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OTTAWA, Ont. – Shipments soared 5.2% to $43.0 billion in September, the highest level since March, Statistics Canada reports.

Higher shipments, rising orders, and the fifth successive decline in inventories were the highlights reported by manufacturers in September, as Ontario rebounded from the affects of August’s electrical blackout.

In September, manufacturers made up lost ground from the adverse impact of the electrical blackout of August 14. The Ontario economy was notably affected by the power outage and the following week of energy conservation. Assembly lines were shut down, plants and offices worked on reduced schedules and refineries closed. August’s 4.9% decrease in total shipments was a one-time occurrence, largely due to the blackout.

Increases were broadly based in September, as 17 of 21 manufacturing industries, representing 84% of total shipments, reported higher production. Ontario’s rebound (+$1.8 billion) from the blackout led the nine provinces reporting increases in September. Even excluding Ontario’s significant impact on the Canada total, manufacturing shipments still rose a healthy 1.8%. Quebec (+$177 million), British Columbia (+$71 million) and Saskatchewan (+$38 million) also reported strong increases in September.

Despite the upbeat tone of the September report, overall it remained a dismal third quarter, rocked by the blackout in August. Shipments declined 0.4% in the third quarter, following a 3.9% drop in the second.

For more information or to order further data, contact Statistics Canada at 1-866-873-8789; 613-951-9497; fax: 613-951-9499;

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