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Manufacturing sales slump for December: Statistics Canada

Manufacturing sales dropped by 3.4 per cent to $48.6 billion in December, according to a survey by Statistics Canad...


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February 18, 2008 by Canadian Plastics

Manufacturing sales dropped by 3.4 per cent to $48.6 billion in December, according to a survey by Statistics Canada — at its lowest level in three years. The announcement renewed concerns that Canada may be headed towards a recession.

According to Statistics Canada, long shutdowns at motor vehicle plants were the primary source of slashed sales. Without the inclusion of the motor vehicle and parts industries, sales only decreased by 0.8 per cent in the month.

December’s decline was the largest since August 2003, and the report noted that overall manufacturing activity decreased in four of the last five months of 2007.

Sixteen of the 21 industries included in the survey posted lower sales for the month. Factors such as the soaring Canadian dollar, spiked petroleum prices and fears of a U.S. recession all contributed to the slowdown.

The Business Conditions Survey for January has indicated that manufacturers feel apprehensive about the coming three months, and the sector is expecting lower production and employment in Q4 2008.

According to media reports, the downturn in manufacturing sales came as a shock to many in the financial community. According to the Canadian Press, economists believed they would only see a 0.2 per cent slip in December 2007.