OTTAWA, May 16 (Reuters) - Canadian manufacturing sales increased more than expected in March on strength in primary metals, aerospace products and parts, fabricated metals and other transportation equipment, Statistics Canada reported on Wednesday.
Factory sales rose 1.4 percent, surpassing the 1.2 percent gain expected by economists, and February's increase was upwardly revised to 2.7 percent from a previously reported 1.9 percent.
Volume rose a more modest 0.6 percent in March.
Sales of primary metals rose 4.2 percent, building on a 4.4 percent increase in February. Iron and steel mills and ferro-alloy as well as alumina and aluminum production and processing industries posted the largest sales gains in the month.
In the aerospace industry, production increased 10.6 percent in March after a 4.0 percent gain in February, boosted by the depreciation of the Canadian dollar.
Sales were up by 4.6 percent in the fabricated metal product industries, by 37.4 percent in other transportation equipment and by 3.7 percent in the wood product industries.
The gains were partly offset by a 2.0 percent decline in the motor vehicle industry, a 1.7 percent drop in machinery and a 3.4 percent decrease in computer and electronic products.
Inventories rose 0.7 percent to a record high, making for a sixth consecutive monthly increase, driven by gains in the transportation, chemical and plastic and rubber product industries. ($1 = $1.29 Canadian)
<^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Graphic - Canadian manufacturing sales
http://link.reuters.com/nem27s Graphic - Canada economic snapshot
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