A decline in the volatile aerospace sector led a 0.9 per cent fall in Canadian factory sales in December from the month before, with the volume of sales falling by an even-greater 1.9 per cent, Statistics Canada said on Friday.
In a positive sign for future business, however, the level of new orders rose by 4.5 per cent, and unfilled orders by 4.2 per cent.
The federal agency also halved November’s sales gain to 0.5 per cent, largely because of a revision in the oil refining industry. The median forecast in a Reuters survey of analysts was for a 0.1 per cent gain in December, though the estimates ranged from –1.5 per cent to +1.0 per cent.
The aerospace industry, largely aircraft and parts, dropped by 19.4 per cent, which amounted to C$351-million ($322-million) of the overall drop of C$473-million. Exceptionally for aerospace, Statscan measures the value of production instead of sales of goods manufactured, but the sector still tends to be lumpy.
All the data is adjusted for seasonal factors.
The 1.9 per cent decline in overall, price-adjusted volume is important for its implications for real, or price-adjusted, growth in gross domestic product. It was the biggest drop since December 2012, while the drop in current-dollar sales was the largest since April 2013.