OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian wholesale trade in June unexpectedly dropped by 2.8 percent from May, dragged down in part by sharply lower sales of agricultural supplies, Statistics Canada data indicated on Tuesday.
The fall - far greater than the 0.5 percent decline forecast by market analysts - was the biggest month-on-month drop since the 4.6 percent descent seen in January 2009. Statscan revised May's advance to 2.2 percent from an initial 2.3 percent.
June sales dropped in all seven subsectors while volumes shrank by 2.9 percent. Sales were down in seven of the 10 provinces, with Ontario, the most populous province, accounting for almost 70 percent of the total decline.
The largest drop in dollar terms came in the miscellaneous subsector, which posted an 8.0 percent retreat on the back of a 22.6 percent decrease in the agricultural supplies industry. This was the industry's first drop after six consecutive monthly advances.
The second largest decline was in building materials and supplies, which fell by 3.0 percent, the fifth drop in the past six months. The inventory-to-sales ratio grew to 1.28 - its highest value since August 2009 - from 1.23 in May.
Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe