While analysts had expected a 0.3% increase, instead Statistics Canada reported a 0.3% decrease in manufacturing shipments. For August shipments totalled $49.8 billion, down from $50 billion in July, as reported by Global and Mail on Oct. 16.
If price changes were factored out, shipments were actually up 0.5%, the statistical agency said.
Durable-goods shipments were down 1%, as the transportation sector posted a second straight month of decline. Non-durable-goods shipments were up 0.6%, as increases in paper, chemicals and food manufacturing were partially offset by declines in the petroleum industry.
Manufacturing inventories rose 0.2% in August to $63.1 billion, led by rising stockpiles in chemicals and wood products. Transportation inventories fell 1.5%, mainly due to an 8.7% drop in motor-vehicle production.
Declining orders in the aerospace and automotive industry pushed the new orders total to $49.5 billion which is a decrease of 1.1%. Transportation equipment dropped 1.5%. On the upside food manufacturing was up 1.2%, chemical shipments rose 1.8% and paper products increase 4.4%.
"While manufacturers are still reeling from the impact of the stronger currency, the slowdown that is brewing south of the border will add to manufacturers' woes. Not only does that imply continued regional disparities in Canada's growth picture, but the economy as a whole is likely to soften up in the face of the U.S. economic slowdown," said Marc Lvesque, chief North American forex strategist at TD Securities, as reported by the BBC.