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OTTAWA, Dec 18 (Reuters) - The value of wholesale trade unexpectedly declined in October, weighed by lower sales in the food and motor vehicle and parts sectors, data from Statistics Canada showed on Friday.
Wholesale trade declined 0.6 percent, thwarting economists' expectations for a gain of 0.1 percent, while September was revised down to a decline of 0.3 percent from an initially reported 0.1 percent decrease.
Sales volumes for October also decreased 0.6 percent. Excluding motor vehicles, total sales fell 0.3 percent.
Sales in the food, beverage and tobacco sector tumbled 3.0 percent, the third decrease in four months. Motor vehicle and parts sales fell for the fourth month in a row, with the sector down 2.1 percent.
Wholesale inventories rose 0.5 percent. Gains were seen in three out of seven subsectors, which accounted for 62 percent of total inventories. Inventories in motor vehicles and parts rose 3.3 percent to reach their highest level on record.
Canada was in a mild recession in the first half of the year and although growth resumed in the third quarter, early data has suggested the fourth quarter got off to a weak start.
Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe