Manufacturing sales, wholesale trade climb in August, as per latest Statistics Canada report
October 17, 2023
By The Canadian Press
By Sammy Hudes
Two key indicators of the economy climbed in August as Statistics Canada reported manufacturing sales rose 0.7 percent to $72.4 billion that month, while wholesale trade sales excluding petroleum, petroleum products and other hydrocarbons, and excluding oilseed and grain, increased 2.3 percent to $83 billion.
StatCan said Monday that manufacturing sales in August were boosted by the petroleum and coal, food and machinery subsectors. Sales of petroleum and coal products rose 10.5 percent to $8.4 billion in August on higher volumes and prices, while sales of food products rose 1.5 percent to $12.6 billion in August, the highest level on record.
Sales in the machinery subsector increased 2.4 percent to $4.8 billion, a record high, mainly on higher sales of industrial machinery.
The agency attributed the overall monthly increase to higher prices as sales in real terms decreased 0.7 percent in August.
It said the port workers strike in B.C., which ended early that month, continued to affect the manufacturing sector, but to a lesser degree than in July.
Around 8.4 percent of manufacturing plants reported that their operations were impacted by the strike in August, mainly from shortages of raw materials and transportation disruptions.
Olivia Cross, an economist at Capital Economics, said the 0.7 percent rise in manufacturing sales values was weaker than expected based on the jump in exports.
“Indeed, the fall in manufacturing sales volumes suggests that the sector is no longer benefitting from the end of earlier temporary disruptions, including parts shortages, the intensive wildfires and the port strike in British Columbia,” said Cross in a note.
“With the manufacturing surveys on a renewed downward trend and higher interest rates likely to weigh on the durables manufacturing in particular, the outlook for manufacturing sales volumes remains poor.”
Meanwhile, StatCan reported in a separate news release that wholesale trade sales increased, driven by the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector and the miscellaneous subsector.
It said sales in the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector rose 5.2 percent to $18.6 billion in August, recording its first increase in three months, led by higher sales in the farm, lawn and garden machinery and equipment industry group.
The miscellaneous subsector grew 6.9 percent to $10.3 billion.
Sales in Ontario led provincial gains, followed by Saskatchewan and B.C., as a majority of the provinces reported increases.
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