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Economists Survey Raises 2021 CPI Forecast To 4.9%

--Total Sales -0.4% M/M; Excluding Autos And Parts +0.3% M/M
By Yali N'Diaye
     OTTAWA (MNI) - Manufacturing sales disappointed in October, as they 
contracted 0.4%, while analysts in a MNI survey had expected a 1.0% 
increase, data from Statistics Canada showed Friday. 
     The disappointment was reinforced by the slight downward revision 
to September's estimate, with sales growth now estimated at 0.4% instead 
of the 0.5% initially reported. 
     In addition, it was not a price story as volumes contracted 1.5%, 
more than offsetting gains of 0.6% in September and 0.9% in August. 
     Amid declining sales, inventories rose 1.6%, the largest gain since 
last February. 
     That being said, forward-looking indicators were encouraging, with 
unfilled orders up 2.4%, the largest gain since July 2015, and new 
orders up 5.3%, the largest increase since April 2016. 
     Furthermore, weakness was concentrated in 8 of 21 industries, 
including the heavy weight transportation equipment sector, which 
recorded a 5.0% drop. 
     In particular, auto sales fell 6.7% on the month on a 7.6% drop in 
volumes, with the agency citing decreased production after shutdowns of 
some assembly plants during the month. 
     In addition, strikes likely affected the parts industry, which 
posted a 1.6% decline. 
     Excluding autos and parts, sales edged up 0.3%, marking their third 
consecutive increase. The last time this category posted a decrease was 
in June (-1.3%), with sales flat in July. 
     Other transportation equipment plunged 37.2% on the month, with 
volumes down 37.9%. 
     Excluding autos and the volatile other equipment category, sales 
increased 0.5%. 
     Another negative was a volume-led 1.4% decrease in machinery sales, 
which did not bode well for investment activity. 
     On the other hand, petroleum and coal rose 2.2%, supported by a 
1.1% gain in volumes.
     Sales excluding petroleum and coal fell 0.7% on the month, 
following a 0.5% decrease in September. 
     Overall, sales in non-durable goods industries edged up 0.1%. 
However, volumes were down 0.4%. Durable goods sales decreased 0.9%, 
with volumes down 2.4%. 
     Regionally, sales decreased in six provinces, led by Ontario 
(-2.2%), the manufacturing heart of the country, along with Quebec 
--MNI Ottawa Bureau; email: