May 4, 2015 – The RBC Canadian Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (RBC PMI) indicated another difficult month for Canadian manufacturing companies, with output, new business and employment levels all decreasing during April.
Meanwhile, the weaker exchange rate helped to stabilize the downturn in export sales, but the latest reduction in overall new order volumes was the fastest since the survey began in October 2010. Strong input cost inflation persisted in April, although competitive pressures and subdued client demand meant that manufacturers increased their output charges at only a marginal pace.
Adjusted for seasonal influences, the RBC Canadian Manufacturing PMI registered 49.0 in April, up only fractionally from 48.9 in March and below the neutral 50.0 value for the third month running. A reading less than 50.0 on the index indicates contraction.
“The Canadian manufacturing sector continued to exhibit weakness in the month of April with deteriorating business conditions and weak new business inflows,” said Craig Wright, senior vice-president and chief economist, RBC. “On a more positive note, the weakness in the PMI was narrowly based in Alberta and B.C. with all of the other regions accelerating from the previous month and moving into, or remaining in, expansionary territory. The regional breakdown suggests that outside of the energy weakness, prospects for manufacturing are improving from the conditions evident earlier in the year.”
According to The Canadian Press, RBC attributed the weak national index to worsening conditions in Alberta because of lower oil prices and energy investments.