Canada retail sales disappoint in September

Thu Nov 22, 2012 11:31am EST
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By Randall Palmer

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian retail sales edged up by 0.1 percent in September from August, Statistics Canada said on Thursday, a result which moved the Canadian dollar marginally lower as the gain was substantially weaker than the expected 0.5 percent increase.

It was the third straight monthly increase and took sales to a record C$39.14 million ($39.14 million) from C$39.08 million in August, seasonally adjusted, but it took the market aback.

Twenty-three of 24 forecasters surveyed by Reuters expected growth of 0.3 percent or more.

The volume of sales, which is important in calculating real growth in gross domestic product, showed no measurable increase. Year-on-year, retail sales were 1.8 percent higher in dollar terms and 1.3 percent in volume.

"In volume terms, the flat print adds little support for the month's GDP (gross domestic product), coming after a weak wholesale trade number earlier in the week," said Emanuella Enenajor at CIBC World Markets. Wholesale trade fell 1.4 percent in September.

Statscan is releasing September and third quarter real GDP data on November 30, and a number of economists said the third quarter would struggle to hit the Bank of Canada's forecast of annualized growth of 1.0 percent.


The central bank forecasts a strong pickup to at least 2.5 percent in the fourth quarter and beyond, but economists were beginning to question that.   Continued...