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(Wallace Refiners) – Statistics Canada reported last Friday that the domestic manufacturing sales rose 3.5% to $57.8 billion in March—the highest level since June 2019—on higher sales in 17 of 21 industries, led by the motor vehicle, petroleum and coal and food product industries.
The Industrial Product Price Index increased by 1.6% in March, with prices up in 14 of 21 commodity groups, led by lumber and other wood products (+10.2%), energy and petroleum products (+4.6%) and chemicals and chemical products (+4.1%). The Raw Materials Price Index rose 2.3% in March.
In the petroleum and coal products industry, sales increased for the sixth consecutive month, rising 6.2% to $5.3 billion in March, mostly on higher prices. In constant dollars, sales rose 2.7%. The volume of petroleum sold declined by 3.9% in the first quarter.
Primary metal (+4.1%), aerospace product and parts (+12.0%), and plastic and rubber product (+3.4%) industries also contributed to the sales growth in March.
Food manufacturing sales increased for the fifth consecutive month, rising 2.7% to a record high $9.8 billion in March. Sales of food products were up 3.1% in the first quarter.
Wood product sales rose 4.6% to a record high $4.5 billion in March on higher prices. Sales increased by 21.5% in the first quarter following a 16.9% gain in the fourth quarter of 2020. Manufacturers are benefiting from higher demand from the United States and a surge in housing market activity in Canada.
On the other hand, sales of computer and electronic products declined by 3.7% to $1.3 billion in March, the second consecutive decline, but were up 12.3% compared with the same month a year earlier.
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