Statistics Canada says the country’s manufacturing sales in December were $55.5 billion, down 0.3% from the record-high level set in the previous month.
The petroleum and coal product industry had the biggest month-over-month decline, dropping 4.1% to $5.7 billion in December, after five consecutive increases.
Food industry sales dropped 2.6% to $8.5 billion after the strongest November in years.
Statistics Canada says the food industry’s decline in December was most pronounced in the meat product industry and the dairy product industry.
Overall, manufacturing sales were down in 11 of 21 industries in December. Volumes edged down 0.1% after adjusting for price changes.
Sales were down in seven provinces including Quebec, which saw a 1.1% decline to $13.2 billion. Ontario’s manufacturing sales were up 1.2% to $25.7 billion, while Alberta sales rose 1.2% to $6.2 billion.
Still, the Bank of Canada should be encouraged by this data, says Derek Holt, vice-president and head of Capital Markets Economics at Scotiabank, in a Feb. 16 report.
“I would think that on net the BoC will be encouraged by the magnitude of the rebound in the manufacturing sector over the fourth quarter relative to the soft patch in Q3,” he writes.
“Both short-term market rates and [the] CAD were little affected by the release […],” he adds.
Holt is calling for 0.18% month-over-month GDP growth in December, “pending next week’s retail/wholesale reports, and given other readings like how hours worked were up solidly in December […] while housing starts were down 14% m/m,” he says in the report.