Wholesale sales in Canada declined in February after four straight monthly gains, led by lower sales in personal and household goods, and food and beverages.
Wholesale sales fell 0.2% on a seasonally-adjusted basis in February to 58.86 billion Canadian dollars ($43.58 billion), Statistics Canada said Monday. Market expectations were for a steeper 0.9% decrease, according to econom ists at Royal Bank of Canada.
In volume terms,February wholesale sales declined 0.4% from the previous month.
"We're calling for some slippage" in what's been a string of positive economic data, economists at CIBC World Markets said in a note to clients. "Wholesale trade could be a first taste of what's ahead.
On a 12-month basis, wholesale trade increased 6.6%.
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.
Meanwhile, wholesale inventories rose 0.2% to C$74.11 billion, and rose 2.2% on a 12-month basis. A rise in inventories tends to signal production exceeded consumption in the month.
Write to Paul Vieira at email@example.com
Corrections & Amplifications
This story was corrected at 12:56 p.m. ET because it misstated the month as January, intead of February, in the third paragraph.
In volume terms, February Canada wholesale sales declined 0.4% from the previous month. "Canada Wholesale Sales Drop 0.2% in February," at 9:06 a.m. EDT, misstated the month as January in the third paragraph. (April 24, 2017)
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April 24, 2017 13:07 ET (17:07 GMT)