Shipments from Canadian factories took a surprise jump in March to their highest level since November 2000 on the strength of higher energy prices and stronger motor vehicle manufacturing. Statistics Canada reported a 1.4-percent rise in overall shipments. Excluding the 6.2-percent jump in the auto industry, they rose by 0.8 percent.
"Despite global uncertainty in the wake of the war in Iraq
and the tenuous state of the U.S. economy, the Canadian
manufacturing sector held its own in recent months," Statscan
said, noting a 2.2-percent increase in the first quarter after
the 0.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2002. New orders rose by 1.6 percent to their highest level since August 2002. Excluding the auto industry, they rose 1.1 percent. (Reuters)
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