A report by Statistics Canada said sales in the sector rose by 0.1 per cent in February from January to $6.3 billion. That was also a year-over-year hike of 3.4 per cent.
Across Canada, the federal agency reported that sales were down 0.2 per cent month-over-month to $56.6 billion.
“The largest declines were in the motor vehicle assembly and wood products industries. However, these decreases were largely offset by gains in the petroleum and coal product, paper and machinery industries.
Excluding motor vehicle sales, manufacturing sales were up 0.2 per cent,” said StatsCan.
“Sales were down in 15 of 21 industries, representing 65.9 per cent of the Canadian manufacturing sector. Sales of durable goods declined 1.4 per cent to $30.1 billion, while sales of non-durable goods rose 1.2 per cent to $26.6 billion.In volume terms, manufacturing sales decreased 0.5 per cent in February.”
The federal agency said sales rose for the second consecutive month in the petroleum and coal product industry, up 7.1 per cent to $5.7 billion in February. The increase reflected higher prices as well as higher volumes, as several refineries ramped up production. In constant dollars, sales of petroleum and coal products rose 3.7 per cent in February, it said.
On a year-over-year basis, sales in Canada were up 0.9 per cent.
StatsCan said inventory levels increased for the third consecutive month, rising 0.5 per cent to $85.8 billion in February. Inventories were up in nine of 21 industries, with the largest increases in the primary metal (+1.8 per cent), petroleum and coal product (+3.1 per cent) and machinery (+1.4 per cent) industries. These increases were partially offset by a decline in wood, motor vehicle and food inventories.
“The inventory-to-sales ratio increased from 1.50 in January to 1.51 in February. This ratio measures the time, in months, that would be required to exhaust inventories if sales were to continue at their current rates,” it said.
Mario Toneguzzi is a Troy Media business reporter based in Calgary.