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OTTAWA (Reuters) - The value of Canadian factory sales increased by 0.6 percent in June from May, pushed up by the chemical, petroleum and coal product industries, Statistics Canada said on Friday.
The increase - the fifth in six months - was greater than the 0.4 percent advance predicted by market operators.
The total value of sales in June was C$51.96 billion ($47.67 billion), the fourth highest on record, and the most since the C$53.22 billion seen in July 2008. In volume terms, sales rose by 0.2 percent.
Sales in the chemical industry rose 8.6 percent, reflecting higher than usual pesticide and fertilizer sales. Colder and wetter weather in western grain-growing provinces delayed planting this year.
Excluding the chemical industry, total sales fell by 0.1 percent.
Although inventories rose by 0.5 percent, the rise in sales meant the inventory-to-sales ratio stayed at 1.39, the same level as in May.
Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Alden Bentley