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Oil sector boosts September factory sales

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Manufacturing sales rose twice as fast as expected in September to the highest level since October 2008, sealing expectations for robust third-quarter economic growth.

Factory sales jumped 2.6 percent to $49.2 billion in the month, beating the market estimate of a 1.3-percent gain.

Petroleum and coal industry sales surged 13.7 percent in the month for the biggest percentage gain in 12 years, as oil refineries resumed output following shutdowns.

Strong performances in the auto and aerospace industries also helped drive up overall sales.

In volume terms, sales climbed 1.8 percent as 10 of 21 industries reported higher sales than in August.

The manufacturing sector was the hardest hit by the global financial crisis, and its output and employment levels have not yet recovered to the pre-recession peak in July 2008.

But details of the Statscan report pointed to further strength in the months ahead. Excluding the heavyweight auto sector, sales jumped 2.3 percent. New orders shot up 4.8 percent, unfilled orders rose 3 percent and inventories grew 0.4 percent for the 12th consecutive month.

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