* Wholesale trade grows 1.4 pct vs forecast of 0.3 pct gain
* Inventories decrease 0.2 pct
* Machinery, equipment and supplies post biggest gain in 10 years
OTTAWA, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Canadian wholesale trade jumped by 1.4 percent in October from September, exceeding expectations, as sales in the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector grew at the fastest rate in a decade.
The strength in the wholesale industry, reported by Statistics Canada on Wednesday, followed two months of weak or stagnant activity and far surpassed the median forecast in a Reuters poll of a 0.3 percent gain.
Statscan revised down its estimate for September wholesale activity to flat from a gain of 0.2 percent previously.
In volume terms, October sales grew 1.2 percent.
Sales increased in five of seven subsectors representing over 70 percent of wholesale trade.
Machinery, equipment and supplies sales led the growth, rising 5.6 percent for the biggest monthly gain since September 2003. The personal and household goods subsector and farm products also registered strong gains while the auto sector fell 1.4 percent.
In the year to October, wholesale trade grew 3.5 percent.
Inventories declined by 0.2 percent in the month but were up 0.7 percent from October 2012.