OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian wholesale trade rose for the seventh time in eight months in December, jumping 0.9 percent on higher auto and food sales, Statistics Canada said on Tuesday.
The increase was greater than the 0.6 percent advance forecast by market operators. In volume terms, sales were up by 1.3 percent.
Four of the seven subsectors, representing 71 percent of wholesale sales, reported increases. The motor vehicle and parts subsector posted a 3.4 percent gain, hitting the highest level since March 2007.
Wholesale sales of food, beverage and tobacco products rose 1.8 percent, while the building materials and supplies subsector was up 0.7 percent. Inventories gained 1.4 percent in December, with 18 of the 25 industry groups reporting increases.
On an annual basis, wholesale sales were up 7.4 percent from 2010. This was slightly smaller than the 8.1 percent year-on-year advance posted in 2010, which marked the strongest annual growth since 1997.
The motor vehicle and parts subsector, which accounted for most of the 2010 increase, recorded slower growth in 2011. Statscan said this could be a result of the Japan earthquake and tsunami, which disrupted supply chains.
Reporting by David Ljunggren; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe