UPDATE 1-Canada wholesale trade the latest to disappoint in Dec

Wed Feb 19, 2014 8:47am EST
 
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* Wholesale sales -1.4 pct in Dec, volume -1.6 pct

* Computers and autos lead decline; sales ex-autos -0.9 pct

* December already had negative manufacturing, building data

* Some economists have blamed bad weather for weak month

OTTAWA, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Canadian wholesale trade fell by more than expected in December, by 1.4 percent to the lowest level in six months, the latest in a series of negative indicators for the month, according to Statistics Canada data released on Wednesday.

The median forecast in a Reuters survey of analysts was for a decline of 0.5 percent from November, and the actual number was worse than the most pessimistic estimate in the survey, of -1.0 percent. The decline in volume terms, relevant for calculating real gross domestic product (GDP), was even greater, 1.6 percent.

Some economists have blamed bad weather for the disappointing data in the month and assume that January will be shown to have regained at least some of the losses. Statistics Canada had earlier reported falls of 0.9 percent in manufacturing sales and 4.1 percent in building permits, and economists had already expected a weak reading for December GDP.

All the data is adjusted for seasonal factors like Christmas sales and normal winter weather but not for one-off storms.

Five of the seven sectors fell, representing 79 percent of wholesale trade. Computer and communications equipment and motor vehicles led the declines. Excluding the auto industry, sales fell by 0.9 percent.