Canadian manufacturing sales fell 0.1 per cent in October to $58.2-billion, hurt by a decline in sales in the wood product and primary metal industries, Statistics Canada said on Tuesday.
Economists had expected an increase of 0.4 per cent, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.
“Expectations were running high for factory sales, but the data proved disappointing,” CIBC economist Royce Mendes wrote in a brief note.
“However, the weakness wasn’t very concentrated, with only 7 of 21 industries declining. Moreover, in volume terms, shipments actually rose 0.2 per cent.”
Over all, sales were down in seven of 21 the industries tracked, representing 40.5 per cent of the manufacturing sector.
Wood product manufacturers saw sales fall 7.5 per cent to $2.6-billion in October hurt by a continued decline in prices and timber supply shortages.
Meanwhile, primary metal manufacturing sales fell 3 per cent to $4.1-billion owing to lower sales in the non-ferrous metal production and processing and the alumina and aluminum production and processing industries.
Partly offsetting the losses, food manufacturing industry sales rose 1.5 per cent to $8.7-billion, boosted by higher sales in the meat, other food manufacturing and animal food product industries.
Machinery sales rose 2.9 per cent, helped by higher sales in the agricultural, construction and mining machinery as well as the other general-purpose machinery industries.
Sales of durable goods fell 0.9 per cent to $30-billion, while sales of non-durable goods rose 0.7 per cent to $28.3-billion.
Inventory levels rose 1 per cent to $85-billion in October.
Regionally, manufacturing sales in dollar terms were down the most in Quebec with a 1.5-per-cent drop to $13.9-billion.
New Brunswick saw manufacturing sales fall 12 per cent to $1.3-billion in October, the lowest level since November, 2016, while British Columbia experienced a 0.9-per-cent drop to $4.7-billion.
Sales rose 0.7 per cent in Ontario to $26.7-billion, boosted by a rise in the transportation equipment industry.