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Canadian manufacturing sales unexpectedly fell 0.4 percent in June from May as the oil industry was hit by lower prices and volumes and continued refinery shutdowns, Statistics Canada said on Thursday.
Markets had expected a modest 0.2-percent rise after sales were flat in May, according to revised figures. In constant dollar terms, June sales rose 0.1 percent and 12 of the 21 industries in the survey reported higher sales.
Manufacturing sales climbed steadily after the 2008-09 recession, but the June decline was the fourth in the past six months, leaving total sales at $48.9 billion, below their pre-recession peak.
Sales in the petroleum and coal product industry slid 10.6 percent, reflecting a 4.9-percent drop in prices, ongoing closures at several refineries and lower sales volumes at others.
The transportation industry, the biggest manufacturing sector, reported a 1.7-percent increase in sales to the highest level since November 2007.
Overall, new orders advanced 1.7 percent and unfilled orders were up 2.2 percent, although both were influenced by demand for aerospace products and parts, which tend to be very volatile.
Inventories fell 1.7 percent, dragged down by the aerospace and energy industries, and the inventory-to-sales ratio declined to 1.32 in June from 1.34 in May.