Notwithstanding the first decline of shipments in several months, there were mixed signals on the inventory front in September.
Raw material inventories, which are generally built-up in anticipation of future production, rose 0.4% to $27.1 billion the seventh successive increase, Statistics Canada reports.
Meanwhile, inventories of finished products increased 1.1% to $21 billion in September, the highest level since October 2001. Some manufacturers noted concerns about the higher levels of finished-product inventories, as reported in the Business Conditions Survey for October.
The increases in raw materials and finished-product inventories contributed to the 0.5% boost in total inventories in September. Inventories now stand at $62.2 billion, up almost 7.0% since the close of 2003, and extending the upward trend in inventories to nine months.
Primary metals (+2.3%), fabricated metal products (+2.1%) and machinery (+1.7%) manufacturing contributed to the higher level of inventories in September.
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