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OTTAWA, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Canadian manufacturing sales unexpectedly fell 0.4 percent in October, pulled down by weak sales of autos and other transportation equipment, data from Statistics Canada indicated on Friday.
Analysts in a Reuters poll had forecast a 0.8 percent increase from September. Sales fell in eight of 21 industries, representing 56 percent of the manufacturing sector, while volumes dropped by 1.5 percent.
Motor vehicle sales slumped by 6.7 percent, thanks partly to shutdowns of some assembly plants that cut production of autos. Sales in the other transportation equipment category, which includes bicycles, all-terrain vehicles and tanks, plummeted by 37.2 percent.
In a more promising sign for the economy, new orders rose by 5.3 percent, the most since an 8.0 percent boost in April 2016, on increased demand for aerospace products and parts as well as primary and fabricated metal products.
Inventories rose by 1.6 percent to a record C$74.8 billion ($58.4 billion), with the largest gains in the transportation equipment, primary metals and machinery industries.
Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Steve Orlofsky