Statistics Canada reports manufacturing sales up 1.4 per cent in May

A worker welds steel at George Third & Son Steel Fabricators and Erectors, in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, March 29, 2018. Statistics Canada says manufacturing sales increased 1.4 per cent to $57.1 billion in May.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

OTTAWA - Canadian manufacturing sales bounced back more than expected in May as the gains were led by the chemical, machinery and wood product industries.

Statistics Canada said Tuesday that manufacturing sales rose 1.4 per cent to $57.1 billion in May. The improvement followed a drop of 1.1 per cent in April.

Economists had expected an increase of 0.5 per cent in May, according to those polled by Thomson Reuters Eikon.

Manufacturing sales in constant dollars were up 0.9 per cent.

"Factory sales in May more than made up for the ugly drop seen in the prior month," said CIBC economist Royce Mendes, noting that the result for April was also revised to show a smaller decline. The initial reading had shown a drop a 1.3 per cent for April.

"Today's reading would have been even brighter had it not been for extended shutdowns at several refineries contributing to a further decline in petroleum sales."

Statistics Canada said sales rose in 14 of 21 industries, led by the chemical, machinery, and wood product industries.

The chemical industry rose 6.2 per cent to $4.7 billion in May, while machinery sales climbed 8.9 per cent to $3.3 billion. Wood products increased 6.1 per cent to $3.1 billion.

The transportation equipment industry fell 1.9 per cent to $10.6 billion, while the petroleum and coal product industry dropped 1.8 per cent to $5.2 billion in May.

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