Canadian factory activity expands at fastest pace in nine months

FILE PHOTO: Worker loads part for welding in robot bay at Alfield Industries, a subsidiary of Martinrea, one of three global auto parts makers in Canada, in Vaughan, Ontario, Canada April 28, 2017. REUTERS/Fred Thornhill/File Photo

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian manufacturing activity expanded in November for the third consecutive month as production climbed at a faster pace and new orders continued to grow, but the momentum was subdued compared to historical levels, data showed on Monday.

The IHS Markit Canada Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ index (PMI), a measure of manufacturing business conditions, rose to a seasonally adjusted 51.4 in November, its highest level since February, from 51.2 in October. A reading above 50 shows expansion in the sector.

“The manufacturing sector has started to find its feet again after a soft patch during the third quarter of the year,” said Tim Moore, economics associate director at IHS Markit. “New orders and production volumes have now risen in tandem for three months running.”

Survey respondents pointed to rising domestic demand as the output index rose to a nine-month high of 51.5 from 51.1 in October.

The measure of new orders continued to show expansion but was held back by a weaker contribution from export sales, dipping to 51.6 from 51.8 in October.

“Underlying growth momentum remains lackluster in comparison to historic trends and this continues to hold back job creation as well as near-term business optimism,” Moore said.

The measure of future output dipped to 62.3, matching the August level as the lowest since February 2016. It was 63.9 in October.

Data on Friday showed that Canada’s economic growth slowed to an annualized rate of 1.3% in the third quarter on lower exports.

The Bank of Canada has expressed concern about global trade uncertainty but the central bank is expected to leave its benchmark interest rate on hold at 1.75% at a policy announcement on Wednesday.

Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama