OTTAWA, Oct 20 (Reuters) - The value of Canadian wholesale trade unexpectedly fell 0.1 percent in August as sales declined in sectors including machinery and motor vehicles, data from Statistics Canada showed on Tuesday.
Economists had forecast a gain of 0.2 percent on the month. In volume terms, August wholesale sales fell 0.5 percent. July's reading was revised downward to a 0.1 decline.
Inventories grew 0.6 percent to C$73.2 billion ($56.34 billion) in August, the highest on record, the statistics agency said.
The machinery, equipment and supplies sector dropped 2.4 percent to its lowest level since April 2014, and the motor vehicle and parts sector fell 1.2 percent.
Four sectors declined, representing 72 percent of wholesale trade, though the sale of farm products, miscellaneous items and building materials recorded gains.
Wholesale sales fell for the eighth time in nine months in oil-rich Alberta, edging down 0.9 percent to C$6.6 billion.
Reporting by Simon Doyle; Editing by Bernadette Baum