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OTTAWA, Dec 20 (Reuters) - The value of Canadian wholesale trade rose far more than expected in October as sales of building materials jumped and motor vehicle sales hit a record high, data from Statistics Canada showed on Tuesday.
The 1.1 percent increase was the biggest gain in five months and exceeded economists' forecasts for a rise of 0.6 percent. September, however, was downwardly revised to a decline of 1.5 percent.
Vehicle sales rose 1.2 percent to C$8.96 billion ($6.68 billion), representing a record high and accounting for more than half of the gain in the overall motor vehicle and parts sector. The sector as a whole increased 1.8 percent. Excluding vehicles and parts, wholesale trade was up 0.9 percent.
Sales of building materials rose 2.8 percent as sales of lumber and other building supplies increased. Overall, sales were up in five of seven sectors, accounting for about 87 percent of wholesale trade.
In volume terms, sales were up 0.9 percent, which could bode well for broader economic growth at the start of the fourth quarter. The economy is expected to slow in the final quarter of the year following a strong rebound in the third quarter. ($1 = $1.3407 Canadian)
Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe