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File photo of an auto worker at the General Motors Oshawa assembly plant. (Moe Doiron/The Globe and Mail)
File photo of an auto worker at the General Motors Oshawa assembly plant. (Moe Doiron/The Globe and Mail)

Canada’s May factory sales jump to near record high Add to ...

The value of Canadian factory sales jumped by 1.6 per cent in May from April, pushed up to near record levels by higher shipments of petroleum, coal and motor vehicles, Statistics Canada said on Wednesday.

The increase – the fourth in five months – was greater than the 1.0 per cent advance predicted by market operators. In volume terms, sales also rose by 1.6 per cent.

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The total value of sales in May was C$51.64-billion ($47.81-billion), the fourth highest on record, and the most since the C$53.22-billion seen in July 2008.

Sales in the petroleum and coal product industry grew by 7.2 per cent in May as a series of refineries returned to normal output after partial shutdowns in April for maintenance and retooling.

Sales in the motor vehicle industry increased by 9.3 per cent, reaching their highest mark since January 2012, after some plants returned to regular levels after April shutdowns.

Sales rose in 11 of 21 industries, representing about 61 per cent of the manufacturing sector. In Ontario, the most populous of the 10 provinces, sales rose by 2.3 per cent to reach their highest level since July 2008.

The value of inventories fell by 0.6 per cent, the first drop in five months, while the inventory-to-sales ratio fell to 1.39 from 1.42 in April, the lowest level since December 2013.

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