OTTAWA (Reuters) - The value of Canadian wholesale trade rose far less than expected in April as activity increased in just three sectors, including the food and beverage industry, data from Statistics Canada showed on Monday.
The 0.1 percent gain was short of economists' expectations for an increase of 0.5 percent after March's upwardly revised decrease of 0.8 percent. Volumes increased by 0.2 percent in April.
It was the latest sign that the second quarter began on weak footing. After a relatively strong start to the year, economic growth is expected to be flat at best in the second quarter, partly weighed by the impact of recent wildfires in Alberta, before rebounding in the third quarter, analysts say.
Sales in the food, beverage and tobacco sector rose 0.7 percent. The "miscellaneous" sector, which includes items such as minerals and precious metals, also led with a 5.2 percent gain. Overall, three of the seven main wholesale sectors were higher.
In Alberta, where the economy has been hurt by the decline in oil prices, sales were down 0.6 percent weighed by lower sales of machinery, equipment and supplies.
Reporting by Leah Schnurr Editing by W Simon