Canadian manufacturing sales dropped by one per cent or $572.4 million on a month-over-month basis in January, according to figures released Friday by Statistics Canada.

According to the federal statistics agency, sales fell in 14 of 21 industries. The sectors most responsible for the decline were motor vehicles, aerospace products and parts and primary metal industries.

A note from Capital Economics said that a decline in sales from vehicle assembly plants was the biggest factor.

Though the numbers came in slightly below expectations, Craig Wright, chief economist for Royal Bank of Canada, said they should not be cause for concern as declines generally occur after stronger periods.

The unpredictability of the aerospace sector also may have played a role.

“Aerospace is the most volatile component so to see a drop is not surprising,“ Wright said, adding that he expects to see better overall numbers in general in future reports.

Wright said that U.S. President Donald Trump’s steel tariff announcement didn’t play a significant role in this survey, as these numbers would have preceded that announcement.

Royce Mendes, director and senior economist at CIBC World Markets, said he was not surprised by the report, and that export data previously collected suggested such a decline was coming.

“The survey suggests that GDP data could look soggy to open the New Year,” Mendes wrote in a note.

According to the note from Capital Economics, the StatsCan report is a reflection of troubles in the export sector, which has not benefited from a pick-up in global economic activity or previous declines in the Canadian Dollar.

Those are among the factors that led Capital Economics to forecast slow economic growth this year.

The StatsCan report indicated manufacturing sales decreased in five provinces, with Ontario showing the largest decrease in total dollars. After two consecutive months of increases, Ontario’s January sales were $595 million lower than December’s and $515 million lower compared to last year.

The biggest percentage decrease came out of Northwest Territories and Nunavut, whose figures were reported together. Their sales slipped to $4.3 million from $6.3 million in December, a 32.2 per cent decline. The second biggest decline was felt in PEI, which saw a 13 per cent decline since December, to $136.3 million from $156.7 million.

The biggest monthly increase was in Saskatchewan, which saw sales increase by 5.7 per cent to $1.3 billion. New Brunswick has seen the biggest sales increase of all provinces and territories this past year, resulting in a 15.2 per cent from January 2017.

Overall, on a year-over-year basis, Canada still netted a $1.56 billion increase in manufacturing sales compared to last January, a rise of 2.9 per cent.

Financial Post