* Sales rise 1.7 percent vs estimate of 1.0 percent gain
* Volumes rise; unfilled orders highest in over three years
* Data points to modest November, 4th-quarter growth
* Analysts see interest rates on hold
OTTAWA, Jan 18 Canadian manufacturing sales
bounced back in November after a dismal performance in October,
offering a glimmer of hope for growth amid a string of
disappointing data and weak global demand for the country's
Factory sales climbed 1.7 percent in the month, above
forecasts for a 1 percent gain, on strength in the
transportation equipment, primary metal and chemical industries,
Statistics Canada said on Friday.
That more than compensated for the 1.2 percent slump in
sales in October but still left sales below the peak registered
just before the 2008-09 recession.
The report supports forecasts of modest economic growth in
November and an improvement in the fourth quarter compared with
the third, said Paul Ferley, assistant chief economist at RBC
"Despite this strengthening, however, the pace of growth is
modest and suggests a limited prospect of any further materially
downward pressure being exerted on the unemployment rate," he
said in a research note.
"As a result, the Bank of Canada is likely to continue to
keep monetary conditions highly accommodative," he said.
Canada fared better than the United States and other major
economies during the global recession and has since recovered
all the lost jobs and output, but exports and manufacturing have
yet to make a full comeback.
Ferley sees gross domestic product advancing between 0.1 and
0.2 percent in November and fourth-quarter annualized growth of
1.5 percent at best, well below the Bank of Canada's projection
of 2.5 percent.
TD Securities economist Mazen Issa sees a risk that growth
will even come in below his estimate of 1.2 percent.
The central bank is due to revise its forecasts next week,
when it is also unanimously expected to keep its benchmark
interest rate on hold at 1.0 percent.
Manufacturing output is likely to have contracted in the
fourth quarter as a whole unless there is a huge gain in
December, said Scotia Capital economists Derek Holt and Dov
"Indeed, one good month still leaves us tracking a very poor
quarter," they said in a note.
In volume terms, manufacturing sales rose 1.6 percent. And
although motor vehicles accounted for much of the increase,
there were gains in 12 of 21 sectors.
New orders for factory goods shot up 6.2 percent and
unfilled orders advanced 3.6 percent to their highest level
since March 2009, Statscan said.
Inventories fell 0.8 percent in the month while the
inventory-to-sales ratio, which measures the months it would
take to exhaust stock at the current sales level, dropped to
1.31 from 1.35 in October.