Statistics Canada’s Monthly Survey of Manufacturing for March 2018 shows that overall, Canadian manufacturing sales rose 1.4 per cent to $57.1 B for the period.
The primary metal, aerospace product and parts, fabricated metal products and other transportation equipment industries were mostly responsible for the increase.
Overall, sales were up in 13 of 21 industries, representing 72 per cent of the Canadian manufacturing sector. In volume terms, manufacturing sales rose 0.6 per cent.
Primary metals and aerospace products and parts posted the largest gains. Primary metal sales rose 4.2 per cent to $4.4 billion in March, following a 4.4 per cent increase in February. While the growth in sales in dollar terms was widespread, the iron and steel mills and ferro-alloy as well as the alumina and aluminum production and processing industries posted the largest sales gain in March.
In the aerospace industry, production rose 10.6 per cent in March following a 4.0 per cent gain in February. The depreciation of the Canadian dollar contributed to a rise in the value of sales and inventories. Most sales and inventories held in the industry are priced in US dollars, and both are key components in the calculation of aerospace production.
Sales were also up in the fabricated metal product (+4.6 per cent), other transportation equipment (+37.4 per cent) and wood product (+3.7 per cent) industries.
These increases were partially offset by declines in the motor vehicle (-2.0 per cent), machinery (-1.7 per cent) and computer and electronic product (-3.4 per cent) industries.
Regionally, manufacturing sales rose in seven provinces in March, with Quebec and British Columbia responsible for most of the total national gain.
In Quebec, sales rose 2.9 per cent to $13.8 B in March, mainly due to a 21.3 per cent increase in the aerospace product and parts industry, which is heavily concentrated in the province. Sales also rose in the primary metal machinery, and fabricated metal product industries.
Sales in British Columbia increased 4.0 per cent to $4.6 B, following four consecutive monthly declines. The increase was largely attributable to higher sales in the wood product industry.
Inventory levels increased 0.7 per cent to $79.3 B in March. This was the sixth consecutive increase in inventories, with 6 of 21 industries posting higher levels. The gains were attributable to the transportation equipment (+3.5 per cent), chemical (+5.9 per cent) and plastic and rubber products (+5.3 per cent) industries.
Unfilled orders rose 1.5 per cent in March to $88.6 B, a second consecutive monthly increase. The advance reflected a gain in the aerospace product and parts industry, up 2.4 per cent to $47.1 B, representing more than half of total unfilled orders.
New orders fell 0.7 per cent to $58.5 billion, following a 7.4 per cent increase in February. The decline in March was mainly the result of lower new orders in the aerospace product and parts; machinery; and the motor vehicle industries.
Source: Statistics Canada