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Canadian factory downturn deepens as new orders hit 15-month low

FILE PHOTO: Workers are seen at Bri-Steel Manufacturing, a manufacturer and distributer of large diameter seamless steel pipes, in Edmonton

By Fergal Smith

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's manufacturing sector contracted for a seventh straight month in November as global industrial weakness weighed on output and new orders, and despite an increase in hiring, data showed on Friday.

The S&P Global Canada Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) fell to a seasonally adjusted 47.7 in November from 48.6 in October.

A reading below 50 indicates contraction in the sector. The PMI has been below that threshold since May, which is the longest such stretch since February 2016.

"Once again, the Canadian manufacturing PMI revealed some of the broad-based challenges facing the economy heading towards the end of the year," Paul Smith, economics director at S&P Global Market Intelligence, said in a statement.

"Output and new orders remain mired in contraction territory, linked in part to a broader-based global industrial weakness which is limiting demand and sales. Destocking remains prevalent across the supply chain, and client budgets are stretched."

The output index fell to 46.1 from 46.9 in October and the measure of new orders was at 45.4, its lowest level since August 2022, down from 48.3.

The employment measure was a bright spot, moving into expansion territory for the first time since April, as it rose to 50.7 from 49.9 in October.

But inflation pressures picked up, with the input price index rising to 55.6 from 55.1 in October and the output price measure at 54.8, its highest level since February, up from 52.6.

"Although inflation rates remain well down on previous year's highs, both vendors and manufacturers alike remain willing to push cost increases downstream to clients," Smith said.

(Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)