Manufacturing sales across Canada fell in April as COVID-19-related shutdowns took effect across North America.
In Canada, 21 industries were impacted in April by the pandemic, according to Statistics Canada, while total business in the US plummeted.
Canadian sales of manufacturing products dropped by 28.5pc on a monthly basis to $26.8bn in April, and by 9.8pc to $39mn in March from February, according to Statistics Canada.
From a sales volume standpoint, manufacturing sales decreased by 26pc in April compared to March. The fabricated metal product sector is one of the most affected within the manufacturing industry, which was followed by the primary metal sector and the transportation equipment sector, along with other non-metal based segments like rubber, furniture, and others.
The impact on sales in the transportation industry was mainly led by a decline in motor vehicle sales and motor vehicle part sales in April, as many parts suppliers in North America operated at limited capacities or closed down their operations completely.
Overall inventory levels across the 21 industries in April declined by 0.6pc to $65.7bn compared to a 0.7pc increase to $65.8mn in March. This drop in inventory levels was mainly driven by 12 of the 21 manufacturing sectors, but was offset by inventory surpluses in the transportation equipment sector (1.3pc) and primary metal sector (1.7pc) in April compared to March. That, in turn, increased the inventory-to-sales ratio in April to 2.41 from 1.74 in March.
However, unfilled order levels dropped by 1.2pc to $72.5bn in April from $73.4bn during the previous month. This decline was attributed to a 1.1pc decrease in unfilled orders in the transportation sector, and a 17.2pc rise in the primary metal sector.
New orders also declined by 31.2pc to $26bn in April, which was mostly affected by the transportation equipment sector with a drop of 85.9pc from one month earlier.
Statistics Canada expects manufacturing sales in May to improve, as some industries began partially reopening in all provinces in the middle of the month, which had a positive impact on sales.