OTTAWA: Statistics Canada has released the results of its monthly manufacturing sales survey, revealing that sales decreased 0.9 per cent in July to $44.3 billion—although sales were 15.5 per cent higher than the low reached in May 2009.
The agency says constant dollar manufacturing sales declined 1.0 per cent in July, with sales falling in 12 of the 21 industries, representing about half of total manufacturing sales across the country.
Leading the declines were automotive, paper and furniture industries.
Motor vehicle manufacturing sales fell 8 per cent in July, reflecting larger-than-usual production declines at several plants during that month.
Last week, Statistic Canada reported that Canadian exports to the US fell 2.2 per cent in July, while imports grew by 2.9 per cent, narrowing Canada’s trade surplus south of the border to $1.2 billion from $2.4 billion in June.
“The fact that we allowed our manufacturing sector to shrink so dramatically, even before the global financial crisis, has left us deep under water,” says Jim Stanford, economist for the Canadian Auto Worker’’ union (CAW). “Canada’s becoming more in debt as a nation to the world with each passing month. I’m concerned about the decline of manufacturing over the last decade. We can dig stuff out of the ground—minerals, tar sands, natural gas, etc.—as fast as we can, but without a strong manufacturing base we can never pay our way in world trade.”
Paper product manufacturers reported a 5.5 per cent decline in sales in July, the first decrease in five months. Several manufacturers reported a downturn in demand compared with June.
Manufacturing sales dropped 10.7 per cent for furniture and related products, following a 5.8 per cent gain in June. Most of the changes in June and July were focused in Ontario and BC, where almost half of the industry’s manufacturing takes place.
About nine industries did report gains during that month, including a 3.2 percent increase in beverage and tobacco product manufacturing and a 1.2 per cent increase in food sales.
However, provincial results were mixed—five provinces experienced increased sales, while sizeable decreases in other provinces offset these gains.
Manufacturing sales fell 10.9 per cent in Newfoundland and Labrador (10.9 per cent) and Saskatchewan (3.8 per cent), both from a decline in the durable goods industries.
Sales also decreased in BC and Quebec by 2.9 per cent with paper product manufacturing sales leading the decline. But in Quebec, transportation equipment sales accounted for most of the provinces decrease, falling 18.3 per cent compared to the previous month.