OTTAWA (CP) -- Manufacturing sales rose 1.6 percent in December to $43 billion, largely on the strength of sales in transportation equipment.
Statistics Canada reports it was the sixth increase in overall manufacturing sales in seven months and the highest level since December 2008.
The agency says aerospace products and parts, motor vehicles and petroleum and coal products also recorded significant gains.
Constant-dollar manufacturing sales increased 2.1 percent in December as sales advanced in 11 of the 21 manufacturing industries.
Production in the aerospace products and parts industry rose 28.1 percent, motor vehicle industry sales were up 4.4 percent to $3.6 billion, petroleum and coal products increased 2.4 percent.
The advance in overall manufacturing was partially offset by a 6.4 percent decline in the non-metallic mineral products industry.
Eight provinces showed stronger manufacturing sales in December, with the largest gain in Ontario, where sales increased by $438 million in December to $19.8 billion.
Manufacturing sales fell 2.3 percent in British Columbia.
Inventory levels declined one percent in December to $59 billion, the 10th monthly decline in 2009. Inventory decreases were widespread across the manufacturing sector, as levels contracted in 17 of 21 industries.
The inventory-to-sales ratio declined for the fifth time in seven months, reaching 1.37 in December. December's level is close to more normal levels for the ratio recorded before November 2008.
New orders advanced 7.4 percent in December to $44.2 billion, reflecting strength in the transportation equipment industry. This was the fourth gain in six months.