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OTTAWA, Nov 19 (Reuters) - The value of Canadian wholesale trade unexpectedly fell in September, weighed by a drop in motor vehicle and parts sales for the third month in a row, data from Statistics Canada showed on Thursday.
Wholesale trade declined 0.1 percent, falling short of economists' forecasts for a gain of 0.3 percent, while the volume of sales decreased by 0.4 percent. August's figures were revised to show no change after an initially reported decline of 0.1 percent.
Lower sales were seen in three of the major sectors, which accounted for 45 percent of wholesale trade. The motor vehicle and parts category led the way down, falling 3.0 percent. Excluding autos, overall sales rose 0.5 percent.
The provinces of Alberta and British Columbia were the biggest drivers of the decline. Sales in Alberta, which has been hit by the drop in oil prices, were down 1.3 percent to their lowest level since June 2013. The weakness was widespread across sectors and made for the ninth decline in 10 months.
Inventories in Canada declined by 0.4 percent, the first decline in 11 months.
Reporting by Leah Schnurr Editing by W Simon