Value of shipments jumps in October

OTTAWA — The value of shipments by Canadian manufacturers surpassed expectations in October, rising 2.1% on surging automobile production.

October’s shipments totaled $38.278 billion, up from $37.482 billion during September, according to a Statistics Canada monthly survey of manufacturing. All figures are seasonally adjusted.

The stronger-than-expected result may be a harbinger of increased exports in an October trade report expected today. This could boost demand for the dollar, economists said.

However, the inventories-to-shipments ratio fell to 1.31 from September’s 1.34, the beginning of a downward trend, StatsCan said. A declining inventory-to-shipments ratio shows manufacturers are drawing down stockpiles to meet demand.

There were increases in 13 of 22 manufacturing groups, representing 68.3% of the total value of shipments. Growth was spurred by a 12.7% increase in motor vehicle shipments and a 4.7% increase in auto parts and accessories. The overall increase of shipments in the automotive sector was 10.0% over September following the introductions of new models and the resolution of summertime strikes at General Motors Corp., StatsCan explained.

The monthly gain follows a “four-month period of volatility,” said the agency.

In addition to automotive shipments, there were gains of 3.1% in electronics products and 2.9% in the value of wood shipments. Growth was offset in part by a 1.5% decrease in the value of food shipments and a 4.4% drop in the value of machinery shipments.

StatsCan said the value of inventories climbed 0.1% to $50.251 billion from $50.217 billion, rising for the seventh consecutive month mainly because of an increase in stockpiling of automotive and aircraft parts.

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