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OTTAWA, July 21 (Reuters) - Canadian retail sales posted their third healthy increase in a row in May, Statistics Canada data indicated on Friday, in a sign of economic vitality that could boost the case for the Bank of Canada to hike rates again this year.
Sales rose by 0.6 percent from April to hit a record C$48.91 billion ($38.82 billion), Statscan said, much greater than the 0.2 percent advance forecast by analysts in a Reuters poll. Sales increased in five of 11 subsectors, representing 56 percent of total retail trade.
The central bank last week raised interest rates for the first time in nearly seven years and said further hikes would depend on the strength of the economy.
May’s advance in retail trade was largely driven by a 2.4 percent increase in sales at motor vehicles and parts dealers. Excluding this subsector, retail sales dropped by 0.1 percent.
Stripping out the effects of price changes, May sales volumes grew by 1.1 percent. Gasoline stations recorded a 0.6 percent decline, as lower prices outweighed a higher volume of gas sold. ($1=$1.26 Canadian)
Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe