Exports drive Ontario’s automotive sector to big gains

Canadian manufacturing — specifically Ontario's automotive sector — is showing signs of finally roaring back to life.
Strong U.S. demand and a lower dollar helped pushed manufacturing sales in January a higher than expected 2.3 per cent to a record $53.1 billion, Statistics Canada reported Wednesday. Volumes reached levels last seen before the Great Recession of 2008-09.
Much of it was driven by Ontario, where manufacturing sales jumped 3.9 per cent to a record $26.4 billion, partly on moves by some automakers to retool their plants to produce higher-value vehicles, Statistics Canada said.
"This is a pretty dynamite report," said Toronto-Dominion Bank economist Brian DePratto. "It's hard to find anything not to really like about it. This is more confirmation of our view that (economic) growth in the first quarter is likely to be north of 2 per cent."
Total motor vehicle manufacturing sales, most of it in Ontario, rose 9.6 per cent to $6.6 billion, their highest level since November 2000.
Nationally, motor vehicle manufacturing accounted for 12.5 per cent of all manufacturing sales in January, a high last reached in 2003, while petroleum and coal products represented just 7.5 per cent of the total, their lowest level since 2004.

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