March 1, 2013
RBC Canadian Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index™ (RBC PMI™)
pointed to the strongest expansion in
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
offers a comprehensive and early indicator of trends in the Canadian manufacturing sector.
- 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.
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."
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.
The volume of
received by Canadian manufacturers increased for the third month running in February. Firms generally commented on new client wins, although greater global demand, particularly in
the United States
acted to boost
new export work
. Overall, the rise in total new orders was moderate and the strongest since last September.
Reflective of increased new orders, companies raised
in the latest survey period. Output growth was the fastest in six months, but weaker than the series average.
Stocks of finished goods
were meanwhile depleted for the second month running, and
backlogs of work
also fell further, although at the slowest rate in five months.
increased in February, with over 14 per cent of surveyed firms hiring additional staff since January. Although a number of panellists linked job creation to the increase in new work, other respondents cited improved business confidence. Overall, the rate of employment growth quickened from January's one-year low to a four-month high.
quantity of inputs
bought by manufacturers was unchanged since January, while
stocks of purchases
were reduced for the fourth consecutive month in February. Concurrently, the latest lengthening of
suppliers' delivery times
was to the greatest extent in seven months, with a number of panellists commenting that vendors experienced transportation problems relating to the recent heavy snowfall.
faced by Canadian manufacturing companies continued to increase in February, the rate of inflation was the weakest since
and modest in the context of historical data. Firms particularly mentioned raw materials such as metals, chemicals and resin as having increased in price over the month.
Output charges also rose in February, as higher costs were generally passed on to clients. Although the rise in
was the greatest in ten months, it was weaker than the series average.
"Growth in the Canadian manufacturing sector gained momentum in February and, with panellists expressing an optimistic business outlook, this expansion may continue to strengthen in the coming months" said Cheryl Paradowski, president and chief executive officer, PMAC
- 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 .
"At the moment, however, growth remained below par, with both output and new orders increasing only modestly over the month."
The report is available at
Notes to Editors:
The RBC Canadian Manufacturing
Report is based on data compiled from monthly replies to questionnaires sent to purchasing executives in over 400 industrial companies. The panel is stratified geographically and by Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) group, based on industry contribution to Canadian GDP.
Survey responses reflect the change, if any, in the current month compared to the previous month based on data collected mid-month. For each of the indicators the 'Report' shows the percentage reporting each response, the net difference between the number of higher/better responses and lower/worse responses, and the 'diffusion' index. This index is the sum of the positive responses plus a half of those responding 'the same'.