Canada's Ivey purchasing index shows faster expansion in March

FILE PHOTO: A woman carries shopping bags while walking past a window display outside a retail store in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, July 21, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Wattie/File Photo

OTTAWA (Reuters) - The pace of purchasing activity in Canada, measuring the monthly variation in economic activity, climbed off at 5-month low in March, according to Ivey Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) data released on Thursday.

The seasonally adjusted index rose to 54.3, up from 50.6 in February, surpassing analysts’ expectations for 51.1.

The Ivey PMI measures the month-to-month variation in economic activity as indicated by a panel of purchasing managers from across Canada. A reading above 50 indicates an increase in the pace of activity.

The unadjusted index rose to 57.6 from 48.9.

The gauge of employment rose to an adjusted 54.5 from 53.2 in February, while inventories slipped to 47.8 from 52.2.

Reporting by Julie Gordon in Ottawa; Editing by Alistair Bell