Monday, December 6, 2010


Canada – In September, factory sales sagged 0.6% after  springing 2.0% in August. Sales receded in 13 of 21 industries, representing two thirds of total sales. However, the decrease was concentrated in motor vehicles, parts and accessories. Excluding these, factory sales were up 0.6%. In constant dollars, manufacturing sales were down 1.4% after climbing 2.2% the month before. This said, volume sales
have been sluggish since last May and the manufacturing sector, unlike the Canadian economy as a whole, is still far from its pre-recession peak. In addition, after surging 5.7% in August, new orders dove 4.9% owing primarily to transportation equipment (-25.1%). The loonie’s appreciation against the greenback is having a heavy impact on the  manufacturing industry by creating a challenging environment for exporting industries.

Again in September, wholesale sales rolled ahead 0.4%  after progressing 1.3% one month earlier. In volume terms, sales were up 0.3%. Still in September, new motor vehicle sales rose 4.2% after declining 4.8% in August. The increase was led by a 5.8% jump in truck sales, while  passenger car sales advanced 2.0%.

United States – In October, producer prices increased  0.4% m/m, just as they did in September. Year over year, they were up 4.3% compared with 4.0% the previous month. Excluding food and energy, prices slipped 0.6% m/m but were up 1.5% y/y, down from 1.6% y/y the month before.

In September, headline CPI inflation edged up to 1.2% y/y. Excluding food and energy, the index slid to 0.6%, its lowest mark ever. With core CPI at a record low, the Federal Reserve’s concern with avoiding deflation is understandable.

On a monthly basis (seasonally adjusted), headline inflation moved higher 0.2% while the core index held steady.  Back in October, retail sales were up 1.2% after a 0.7% gain in September. Sales shot up 7.3% over the past 12 months.

Sales excluding autos swelled 0.4% m/m and 6.0% y/y.  Again in October, housing starts plunged 14.9% to 519K. However, we expect starts to rebound in the coming months as permits remain above 550K. Still in October, industrial production was flat after dipping 0.2% the preceding month. The weakness was concentrated in utilities, which slumped 3.4% on the month. On the other hand, manufacturing crept forward 0.5% while capacity utilization stayed level at 74.8%.

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