Manufacturing sales in Alberta rose in January by 2.5 per cent to $6.2 billion, following two consecutive monthly declines, according to Statistics Canada data released on Friday.
“Sales were up in 12 of 21 industries, largely driven by a 13.8 per cent increase in the food industry. Sales were also up in the wood product, fabricated metal product and electrical equipment, appliance and component industries,” added the federal agency.
On an annual basis, sales rose by 1.3 per cent in the province.
Across Canada, manufacturing sales increased one per cent to $57.1 billion in January, following three consecutive monthly decreases. Year-over-year sales were up 4.4 per cent.
In January, StatsCan said sales rose in 15 of 21 industries, representing 55.9 per cent of total manufacturing sales. Higher sales in the food as well as the electrical equipment, appliance and component industries were the main contributors to the gains in January.
The federal agency said food manufacturing sales rose 2.8 per cent to $8.8 billion in January, following a 2.1 per cent decline in December. The advance in January mainly reflected higher sales in the meat product; grain and oilseed; and other food manufacturing industries. After removing the effect of price changes, sales volume increased 2.4 per cent in the food industry.
“Canadian manufacturing started 2019 with a much-needed pleasant surprise. The positive headline was boosted further by an impressive volumes print, broad-based sectoral and regional gains, and an upward revision to December’s data. If there is a fly in the ointment, it is the forward-looking indicators,” said Omar Abdelrahman, an economist with TD Economics.
“Despite the positive release, we still expect a generally weak first quarter. As noted in our latest Quarterly Economic Forecast, this is generally due to recent broad-based weaknesses in indicators (specifically consumer-related data) and a subpar handoff to the new year. Looking ahead, the manufacturing sector should receive some support from a weak loonie and continued growth south of the border.”
Mario Toneguzzi is a Troy Media business reporter based in Calgary. He writes for Calgary’s Business.