UPDATE 1-Canada wholesale trade unexpectedly drops in May

Mon Jul 20, 2015 8:36am EDT
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OTTAWA, July 20 (Reuters) - Canadian wholesale trade slumped in May, giving back some of the previous two months' hefty gains, as sales of motor vehicles tumbled, data from Statistics Canada showed on Monday.

Sales fell by 1.0 percent, exceeding economists' forecasts for a flat reading, while sales were also down 1.0 percent in volume terms.

Lower sales in four subsectors accounted for the decline, making up 65 percent of overall wholesale trade.

The motor vehicle and parts category was among the biggest drags, down 3.1 percent. Excluding the sector, wholesale trade decreased just 0.6 percent.

The miscellaneous sector, which includes agricultural supplies and chemical products, fell 3.7 percent, the fourth decline in five months.

Inventories edged up 0.1 percent, the seventh month of increases in a row. Inventories were up in four out of seven sectors, led by a 2 percent gain in the personal and household goods group.

The economy contracted in the first quarter and recent data has shown the second quarter got off to a weak start, raising the risk that the economy was in recession in the first half of the year. (Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Nick Zieminski)