* PMI flat at 50.4 in Dec from Nov
* Holds at weakest reading in survey's 2-year history
* Slowest rate of job growth since January 2012
By Claire Sibonney
TORONTO, Jan 2 Canadian manufacturing growth was
little changed in December, hovering at a more than two-year
low, according to data released on Wednesday, adding to recent
evidence of a disappointing economic performance for the fourth
The RBC Canadian Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index
was 50.4 last month after adjusting for seasonal variation,
compared with roughly the same figure in November, when the
index marked its the weakest reading since data collection began
in October 2010.
The PMI average for the fourth quarter as a whole was 50.7,
down from 52.8 in the previous quarter, and was also the lowest
quarterly reading in more than two years.
The index was precariously close to contraction but still
remained above the 50 mark that separates expansion from
"A weak global economy and a strong loonie have weighed
somewhat on the broader sector and contributed to a flat PMI
reading compared to November," Craig Wright, chief economist at
Royal Bank of Canada, said in a statement, echoing policymakers'
concerns that the persistent strength of the Canadian dollar is
hurting the country's export-driven economy.
"That said, as the cloak of uncertainty is removed from the
global economy in the coming months related to fiscal policy in
the U.S. and elsewhere, we expect that demand for Canadian
exports will rise, as will investment and hiring across the
Although new orders were up, partly reflecting greater
demand and new product launches, output levels were mostly
unchanged from November. Meanwhile, employment continued to
rise, but the pace of job creation was at an 11-month low, and
input prices rose at the slowest pace since July.
Companies reported passing on greater costs to clients by
raising their output charges modestly.
Q4 GDP OFF TO SLOW START
The manufacturing data came after a government report last
month that showed the Canadian economy grew by just 0.1 percent
in October from September, indicating a very slow start to the
fourth quarter amid foreign and domestic economic woes.
Canada fared better than most of its rich industrialized
peers in the aftermath of the 2007-09 global financial crisis,
prompting the Bank of Canada in 2010 to become the first central
bank in the Group of Seven to tighten monetary policy after the