UPDATE 1-Canada wholesale trade unchanged in Jan, autos act as a drag

Thu Mar 17, 2016 8:36am EDT
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(Adds details of release, background)

OTTAWA, March 17 (Reuters) - The value of Canadian wholesale trade remained unchanged in January from December as lower auto sales canceled out gains in other sectors, Statistics Canada said on Thursday.

Analysts in a Reuters poll had predicted a 0.2 percent increase in wholesale sales from December. In volume terms, sales fell by 0.2 percent.

Sales in the motor vehicles and parts subsector dropped by 2.8 percent, the first decline in three months. Sales of motor vehicles, which had hit a record in December, sank by 4.9 percent.

Overall, sales were higher in four out of seven subsectors, accounting for around 54 percent of wholesale sales.

The machinery, equipment and supplies subsector gained 2.6 percent while personal and household goods rose 0.5 percent to hit a record high.

Wholesale inventories edged up by 0.3 percent, the first increase in three months.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)