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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Wholesale trade jumped by 1.4 percent in April from March on higher demand for personal goods as well as machinery and electronic equipment, Statistics Canada said on Thursday.
Analysts had, on average, forecast a 0.6 percent month-on-month increase. Statscan revised March's gain to 0.7 percent from an initial 0.6 percent.
"Despite the back-to-back monthly increases, overall wholesale sales have lost a bit of momentum since the second half of 2007... A significant dampening factor has been the slowdown in exports of motor vehicles and lumber," Statscan said in its daily commentary.
The personal and household goods sector increased by 2.9 percent over March on higher pharmaceutical sales and a rebound in demand for clothing as the unusually harsh winter faded.
The machinery and electronic equipment sector grew by 2.5 percent in April. In all, five of the seven wholesale sectors reported higher sales.
The auto sector, hit this year by higher gas prices and a U.S. economic slowdown, was down 0.3 percent from March, and down 11.1 percent from April last year.
Reporting by David Ljunggren; editing by Janet Guttsman