Car sales boost Canada wholesale trade in November

Mon Jan 21, 2008 8:37am EST
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - The biggest jump in automotive sales since March helped carve out a gain of 0.3 percent in Canadian wholesale trade in November despite declines in most other sectors, Statistics Canada said on Monday.

The median forecast of analysts in a Reuters poll was for a 0.5 percent gain in wholesale activity. Statscan revised the October increase to 0.4 percent, from 0.5 percent.

Automotive sales surged 4.7 percent in November but sales outside that sector fell 0.6 percent in value during the month. The biggest percentage drop was noted in "other products" -- including items like fertilizers, agriculture supplies and paper products -- followed by building materials.

The sharp rise in the Canadian dollar in November to parity with the U.S. dollar lowered the import price of many goods sold by wholesalers. That partly explained the healthy increase in vehicle sales, Statscan said.

It also explained why, unlike other months, wholesale volumes grew, matching the increase in value at 0.3 percent.

Inventories rose for a fifth straight month, up 0.4 percent wile the inventory-to-sales ratio stayed unchanged at 1.27.

*Statistics Canada report


(Reporting by Louise Egan; Editing by Bernadette Baum)