Manufacturing AUTOMATION

Manufacturing sales up in February, wholesale sales down, as per latest StatsCan report

April 18, 2022
By The Canadian Press

Canadian manufacturing sales rose 4.2 percent to $67.7 billion in February as auto manufacturers ramped up production even as the industry faced protests blockading the Ambassador Bridge between Canada and the United States as well as an ongoing semiconductor shortage.

Statistics Canada said Thursday manufacturing sales were higher in 14 of 21 industries to make it the fifth consecutive month of gains.

The overall increase came as sales of motor vehicles rose 25.0 percent to $3.7 billion in February, the highest level since January 2021, even as some highway crossings between Canada and the U.S. were blocked temporarily by those protesting pandemic health restrictions.

Statistics Canada said the blockades contributed to a five percent drop in exports of motor vehicles and parts in February.

Paul Ashworth, chief North America economist at Capital Economics, said the February figures were much better than expected even though the blockade at the key Ambassador Bridge border crossing weighed on exports.

“Admittedly, price gains played a role in the nominal sales gain, with producer prices increasing by 3.1 percent, but sales volumes still increased by a solid 2.2 percent, more than reversing the Omicron-related dip in January,” Ashworth wrote in a report.

Statistics Canada said the protests impacted about 17.7 percent of manufacturing plants, with 13.2 percent reporting disruptions in transportation and 8.3 percent reporting shortages of raw materials.

In addition to the gain in the motor vehicle sector, sales of food products gained 5.3 percent on grain and oilseed milling and meat products, while petroleum and coal industry sales rose 6.7 percent, due in large part to higher prices.

Sales of wood products gained 8.5 percent at $4.5 billion in February.

Meanwhile, in a separate report, Statistics Canada said wholesale sales fell 0.4 percent in February to $78.8 billion, the first drop since July 2021.

Sales of personal and household goods fell 5.1 percent in February to $11.4 billion, while building material and supplies wholesalers dropped 2.8 percent to $13.7 billion.

The motor vehicle and motor vehicle accessories and parts subsector lost 1.9 percent at $11.0 billion.

In volume terms, sales of wholesale goods sold fell 1.4 percent in February.

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