TORONTO, April 2, 2012 /PRNewswire/ - Operating conditions in Canada's manufacturing sector strengthened in March, according to the RBC Canadian Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index™ (RBC PMI™ ), a monthly survey, conducted in association with Markit, a leading global financial information services company, and the Purchasing Management Association of Canada (PMAC), which offers a comprehensive and early indicator of trends in the Canadian manufacturing sector.
The headline RBC PMI - a composite indicator designed to provide a single-figure snapshot of the health of the manufacturing sector - registered 52.4 in March, up from 51.8 in February, signalling a modest improvement in Canadian manufacturing business conditions. Index readings above 50.0 signal expansion from the previous month; readings below 50.0 indicate contraction.
The RBC PMI found that new orders and output both increased further in March, reflective of greater client demand. However, production growth was nonetheless the second-weakest in the 18-month survey history. Job creation was at a four-month high in March, while the rate of input price inflation eased since February.
"Activity in the Canadian manufacturing sector has been bucking the general trend of softening conditions, particularly in Europe and Asia," said Craig Wright , senior vice-president and chief economist, RBC. "Canadian manufacturers will continue to benefit from the strengthening U.S. economy, which started 2012 on a much more promising note. We expect to see continued demand for key Canadian exports, such as autos, machinery and lumber, south of the border, with real exports returning to pre-recession peak levels in 2013."In addition to the headline RBC PMI , the survey also tracks changes in output, new orders, employment, inventories, prices and supplier delivery times. Key findings from the March survey include:
- Output and new orders both increase modestly in March
- Fastest rate of job creation since last November
- Average selling prices fall for first time in 18-month series history
- PMI data signalled that manufacturing business conditions improved in all four regions in March. The weakest monthly improvement was registered in Alberta & British Columbia , however.
- New order volumes increased at the fastest pace in Quebec , but were broadly unchanged in Alberta & British Columbia .
- Job creation was registered in all four regions during March.
- The fastest rate of input price inflation was reported by manufacturers in Ontario .
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