TORONTO—A monthly gauge of the Canadian manufacturing sector hit its lowest level in nearly two years in January.
The RBC Canadian purchasing managers index dropped to 51 last month, signalling that manufacturers expected only a marginal improvement in business conditions at the start of 2015, a stark contrast to optimistic views in October and November.
A measure above 50 on the RBC PMI indicates the manufacturing sector is expanding. But January marks the second month in a row that the index has fallen, dropping to 53.9 in December after hitting 55.3 in November and October.
Key highlights of the report include:
- Output and new business growth both eased sharply
- Manufacturing employment fell for the first time in 12 months
- Input cost inflation dropped to its lowest since September 2013, despite a weaker exchange rate
- All regions monitored by the survey recorded weaker output trends than in December
- Quebec and Alberta & British Columbia saw the most noticeable reductions in employment
- Input cost pressures moderated in all regions at the start of 2015