Mario ToneguzziManufacturing sales in Alberta continue to be strong and growing.

A report released on Tuesday by Statistics Canada indicates that sales grew by 0.2 per cent in October to just over $6.8 billion. Sales are also 13.3 per cent higher than a year ago. For Alberta, that represents a hike of $800 million from October 2017.

Nationally, manufacturing sales edged down 0.1 per cent in October to $58.2 billion, following four increases in the previous five months. Lower sales at wood product and primary metal industries were largely offset by higher sales at food and machinery industries, said the federal agency.

On an annual basis, sales are up eight per cent.

Overall across Canada, sales were down in October in seven of 21 industries, representing 40.5 per cent of the manufacturing sector. Sales of durable goods decreased 0.9 per cent to $30 billion, while sales of non-durable goods rose 0.7 per cent to $28.3 billion, explained StatsCan.

“The inventory-to-sales ratio increased from 1.44 in September to 1.46 in October. This ratio measures the time, in months, that would be required to exhaust inventories if sales were to remain at their current level,” it said.

“Unfilled orders increased 1.4 per cent to $96.4 billion in October, following a 0.2 per cent decline in September. Most of the gain was attributable to a 1.5 per cent increase in the transportation equipment industry. Unfilled orders in this industry reached $64.7 billion in October, their highest level since January 2016. Unfilled orders also rose in the machinery (+2.2 per cent) and fabricated metal product (+2.1 per cent) industries.

“After four consecutive monthly decreases, new orders were up 2.4 per cent to $59.6 billion in October. The gain mostly reflected an increase in new orders in the railroad and rolling stock, other transportation equipment, fabricated metal product and aerospace products and parts manufacturing industries.”

Royce Mendes, an economist with CIBC Economics, said “expectations were running high for factory sales, but the data proved disappointing.”

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