Manufacturing sales hit $54.2 billion in December as renos push up lumber prices

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OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says manufacturing sales rose 0.9 per cent to $54.2 billion in December, led by sales of wood products, transportation equipment, and petroleum and coal products.

The agency says there were record-high sales of wood products in the final month of 2020, as higher lumber prices pushed sales up 8.3 per cent to $3.7 billion in a rush of new home sales and renovations.

Petroleum and coal product sales rose 4.7 per cent to $4.2 billion amid higher energy prices in December, and there was a 26.9 per cent uptick in sales of railroad rolling stock, as transportation equipment sales rebounded.

The December report comes as wood manufacturers coped with shortages and supply constraints amid a renovation boom last year — while manufacturers of transportation equipment and coal and petroleum products vied for a turnaround.

Transportation, coal and petroleum accounted for three quarters of last year's decline in manufacturing sales, which dropped 11.4 per cent to $610.6 billion in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic led to widespread shutdowns and scaled-back production.

Statistics Canada says in December, manufacturing sales rose in nine provinces but fell in Ontario, where sales slid for chemicals, plastics and rubber products and the COVID-19 pandemic hit Toronto manufacturing sales harder than other cities.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 15, 2021.

The Canadian Press