OTTAWA (Reuters) - The value of Canadian wholesale trade unexpectedly dropped in September after two months of increases, pulled down by fewer sales in the personal goods and food sectors, data from Statistics Canada showed on Tuesday.
The 1.2 percent decline from the previous month was far short of economists’ forecasts for an increase of 0.3 percent. Stripping out the effects of price changes, volumes decreased by 1.1 percent.
Still, it was only the second time this year that the value of wholesale trade fell, and sales were up 1.5 percent in the third quarter. The strong pace of economic growth Canada saw in the first half of the year is expected to slow in the last six months of 2017.
Sales declined in five out of seven sectors in September, accounting for 66 percent of wholesale trade. The drop was led by a 4.8 percent decrease in the personal and household goods sector, amid fewer sales of textiles, clothing and footwear.
The food, beverage and tobacco sector fell by 2.2 percent, taking it to its lowest since March, weighed by the food industry.
The motor vehicle and parts sector helped temper some of the overall decline, with sales in the industry up 1.4 percent. Canadian auto sales have been strong this year so far.
Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Bernadette Baum