WRAPUP 1-Canada's wholesale slump confirms bad ending to 2012

Tue Feb 19, 2013 10:41am EST
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* Wholesale trade falls sharply in December

* Economy seen shrinking in December; outlook weaker for Q4 and Q1

* Foreign investors sell Canadian securities for first time since June

* Foreign appetite for Canadian "safe-haven" debt remains strong

By Louise Egan

OTTAWA, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Canadian wholesale trade shrank more than expected in December in the latest sign the economy is sputtering, adding pressure on the government as it seeks to strike a balance between spending cuts and growth-boosting measures in its next budget.

Wholesale trade fell 0.9 percent on a reversal of November's gains in the computer and communications equipment industry, Statistics Canada said on Tuesday.

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

Wholesale trade was down 0.9 percent by volume and inventories fell 0.6 percent.   Continued...