UPDATE 1-Canada wholesale trade falls in December

Tue Feb 19, 2013 8:37am EST
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* Sales fall 0.9 pct on computer equipment sector

* Analysts had expected a 0.4 pct decline

OTTAWA, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Canadian wholesale trade shrank in December by a sharper-than-expected 0.9 percent on a reversal of the previous month's gains in the computer and communications equipment industry, according to Statistics Canada data on Tuesday.

Market players surveyed by Reuters had forecast, on average, a 0.4 percent drop in wholesale activity in the month.

In volume terms, wholesale trade was also down 0.9 percent and inventories fell 0.6 percent.

Sales in the machinery, equipment and supplies sector explained most of the weakness, sliding 4.1 percent. Every industry in the subsector slumped but sales in the computer and communications industry tumbled 8.6 percent following a 6.3 percent jump in November.

Personal and household goods saw the second-largest decline in sales in December. Overall, five of the seven subsectors reported a drop in sales.

In 2012 as a whole, wholesale trade grew 4.5 percent from the previous year.