January wholesale trade leap confirms recovery

Wed Mar 17, 2010 9:14am EDT
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian wholesale trade jumped by a much greater-than-expected 3.0 percent in January from December, providing more proof that the recovery is well underway, Statistics Canada data indicated on Wednesday.

The increase, the strongest since the 5.0 percent leap recorded in December 2006, was far larger than the 0.5 percent rise forecast by market operators. Statscan revised December's month-on-month growth to 0.9 percent from an initial 0.7 percent.

In terms of volume of sales, January wholesale trade was up 2.9 percent from December. All seven sectors posted advances.

The building materials sector advanced by 4.2 percent on the back of a 5.8 percent increase in housing starts in January from December. The government says it is closely watching the housing sector but has not seen any signs of a bubble so far.

The automotive products sector grew by 4.8 percent in January on a 6.1 percent rise in the sales of motor vehicles, while the machinery and electronic equipment sector was up by 2.6 percent. Wholesale inventories fell by 1.1 percent from December, the 11th consecutive monthly decline.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Padraic Cassidy)