TORONTO, March 1, 2013 /CNW/ - The February RBC Canadian Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index™ (RBC PMI™) pointed to the strongest expansion in Canada's manufacturing sector since last September, although the rate of growth was only modest. A monthly survey, conducted in association with Markit, a leading global financial information services company, and the Purchasing Management Association of Canada (PMAC), the RBC PMI 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 - indicated a modest improvement in Canadian manufacturing business conditions in February. However, at 51.7, the RBC PMI remained below the series average (53.6), despite having risen from the near survey-low of 50.5 in January.
The RBC PMI found that both output and new orders increased in February, partly reflecting greater demand and new client wins. The rates of growth were stronger than in January, but weaker than their respective series averages. Higher volumes of new work encouraged manufacturers to hire additional staff, with the rate of job creation at a four-month high. Meanwhile, the rate of input cost inflation slowed to a seven-month low and was modest in the context of historical data.
"The Canadian manufacturing sector fended off the February blahs with strengthening output and employment growth," said Craig Wright , senior vice-president and chief economist, RBC. "Greater demand from United States, Japan and China played a key role in boosting new export work which helped nudge output growth to the fastest pace of growth in the past six months. While it would be premature to suggest that the global economy is treading on a much brighter path, these modest improvements hint that better days may lie ahead."The headline RBC PMI reflects changes in output, new orders, employment, inventories, prices and supplier delivery times. Key findings from the February survey include:
- RBC PMI at highest level since last September;
- faster rates of output and new order growth, but both below respective series averages; and
- input price inflation weakest in seven months.
- All four regions saw an improvement in manufacturing business conditions in February. That said, the rates of growth were only marginal in both Ontario and Quebec .
- Manufacturers based in Ontario reported a slight reduction in output, while production increased elsewhere.
- Incoming new work fell in both Quebec and Ontario .
- Strongest rate of input price inflation recorded in Alberta and British Columbia .
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