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Manufacturing sales rebound

Published by Steve Coleman on May 16, 2012

In March, Canadian manufacturing sales posted the largest increase in nine months.

Sales increased 1.9 per cent to $49.7 billion, the largest increase since September 2011. Petroleum and coal products led the way.

Statistics Canada says sales increased in 13 of 21 categories, representing more than 75 per cent of total production. Durable goods sales rose 1.4 per cent. People bought 2.4 per cent more non-durable goods.

The government agency says a look at the constant dollar totals say people bought more during the month. The numbers were up 1.9 per cent.

Petroleum and coal product sales fuelled the increase. Sales were up a reported 4.5 per cent to $7.5 billion, the highest they've been since July 2008. The biggest increases were higher sales volumes at "many" oil refineries.

In the chemical industry, sales rose 3.2 per cent to $3.9 billion. Most chemical manufacturers reported higher sales. Again, it was volumes sold that improved the numbers over the previous month.

One of the big winners for the month turned out to be the aerospace product and parts industries where sales advanced 9.9 per cent to $1.4 billion. The auto industry also bounced back from the previous month. Automakers suffered an 8.6 per cent decline in February, but saw 2.3 per cent of their business come back in March.

The month's biggest losers turned out to be primary metals (a 1.2 per cent decrease) and the plastics and rubber products industries (1.6 per cent less).

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