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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian manufacturing sales unexpectedly jumped for the second month in a row in December as firms sold higher amounts of transportation equipment and petroleum products at the end of the year, data from Statistics Canada showed on Wednesday.
The 2.3 percent increase exceeded economists' expectations for a gain of 0.2 percent, while November was revised significantly higher to show a rise of 2.3 percent from an initially reported 1.5 percent.
Volumes were up 2.3 percent in December, boding well for economic growth in the fourth quarter.
Transportation equipment sales rose 7.4 percent, helped by increased demand in the vehicle parts and assembly industries. The gain was also driven by the "other transportation equipment" category, which includes manufacturing for all-terrain and military vehicles.
Sales of petroleum and coal products climbed 11.6 percent as refineries restarted production following maintenance in September and October. Overall, sales rose in 8 out of 21 industries, accounting for 41 percent of the manufacturing sector.
Companies continued to draw down their inventories, which fell 0.3 percent in a third consecutive monthly decline, while the forward-looking new orders gauge was down 0.6 percent.
Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Nick Zieminski