Canada Wholesale Sales Rise 0.9% in March

By Paul VieiraFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

Wholesale sales in Canada rose in March largely in line with expectations on strong demand for lumber, building supplies and food products.

This sets the stage for strong first-quarter growth when data emerge at the end of the month, with some economists suggesting it could show annualized expansion close to 5%.

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Wholesale sales increased 0.9% on a seasonally-adjusted basis in March to 60.22 billion Canadian dollars ($44.46 billion), Statistics Canada said Tuesday. Market expectations were for a 1% rise, according to economists at Royal Bank of Canada.

In volume terms, March wholesale sales climbed 0.6% from the previous month.

On a 12-month basis, wholesale trade rose 10.2%.

February's wholesale trade figures were also revised upward, and now indicate sales rose 0.3% versus the earlier estimate of a 0.2% decline.

For all of the first quarter, wholesale sales advanced 3.6%, or the highest quarterly increase since 2008, the data agency said.

Wholesale trade is the largest component of Canada's services sector -- which in turn accounts for two-thirds of the country's economic output. Wholesalers tend to move merchandise in large quantities to institutional, industrial and retail clients.

Wholesale inventories declined 0.3% to C$77.83 billion in March, and rose 6.1% on a 12-month basis. A fall in inventories tends to signal consumption exceeded production in the month.

Write to Paul Vieira at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 23, 2017 08:58 ET (12:58 GMT)