Following seven consecutive monthly increases, manufacturing sales fell 2.0% to $71.6 billion in May on lower sales in 11 of 21 industries, Statistics Canada data indicates.
The decline was primarily driven by the motor vehicle (-31.9%), primary metal (-4.1%), and miscellaneous manufacturing (-10.8%) industries. Meanwhile, sales of petroleum and coal products (+5.4%) and machinery (+3.3%) increased the most.
Sales in the motor vehicle industry decreased 31.9% to $3.3 billion in May, following three consecutive monthly gains. The declines were attributable to retooling at auto assembly plants and semiconductor part shortages. The production of fully electric commercial vans is expected to begin in Ontario in the fourth quarter of 2022. Despite the decline in motor vehicle sales in May, year-over-year sales were up 41.3%. Exports of motor vehicles and parts declined 3.8% in May from the previous month.
Primary metal sales fell 4.1% to $6.3 billion in May, still the second highest sales level on record after April, on lower prices which led to declines in sales of alumina and aluminum products (-9.1%) and non-ferrous metals (-5.8%). Sales of primary metals in real terms edged up 0.2% in May. Prices decreased 8.1% for primary non-ferrous metals and were down 17.6% for unwrought aluminum and aluminum alloys. Prices of primary metals continue to be impacted by the global supply interruptions caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The miscellaneous manufacturing (-10.8%), plastic and rubber product (-3.9%) and non-metallic mineral product (-6.4%) industries also contributed to the monthly decline.
Following a 4.7% increase in April, sales of machinery reached a record high in May, rising 3.3% to $4.0 billion. Excluding the metalworking machinery industry, sales rose in all other machinery industries, led by industrial machinery (+26.2%), other general-purpose machinery (+13.0%) and ventilation, heating, air-conditioning and commercial refrigeration equipment (+9.1%). Year over year, total machinery sales increased 20.1% in May.
Sales in constant dollars decreased 3.9% in May, indicating that lower volumes were responsible for the decline in sales on a current dollars basis, while the Industrial Product Price Index rose 1.7% in May.