Statistics Canada says manufacturing sales in October declined 0.4% month-over-month, following two months of increases.

The Ottawa-based agency says manufacturing sales totalled $53.5 billion, down from a revised $53.7 billion in September.

Sales fell in eight of the 21 industries tracked by Statistics Canada, with most of the decline attributed to the transportation equipment sector that includes motor vehicles.

Sales in the motor vehicle industry fell 6.7% to $4.6 billion, reflecting lower volumes due to shutdowns at some assembly plants. Sales volumes in the motor vehicle industry fell 7.6%.

Ontario’s manufacturing sales were down 2.2% to $24 billion, the biggest drop of any province, mainly due to declines in the motor vehicle and food industries, for example.

Four of 10 provinces showed advances, led by a 4.2% increase to $6 billion in Alberta and a 2.1% increase to $4.3 billion in British Columbia.

Derek Holt, vice-president and head of Capital Markets Economics at Scotiabank, said in a report that the numbers could be leading to flat GDP growth for the month.

Little to no monthly GDP growth is being tracked in October pending next week’s retail and wholesale reports,” he wrote. “A 1.5% decline in shipment volumes, flat hours worked in October and a 1.8% rise in housing starts are among the ingredients to a flat GDP estimate thus far.” 

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