OTTAWA Feb 20 The pace of Canadian wholesale
trade accelerated in December in its third consecutive monthly
gain, with increases seen in most sectors, including machinery
and building material, data from Statistics Canada showed on
The 0.7 percent increase was in line with economists'
expectations, though November was revised slightly downward to
0.1 percent from the initially reported 0.2 percent.
Volumes in December were up 0.9 percent, which could support
overall economic growth during the month, although
fourth-quarter growth is likely to slow after a sharp rebound in
the third quarter following the impact of May's wildfires in
Wholesale trade rose in six out of seven sectors, accounting
for 82 percent of activity. The machinery, equipment and
supplies sector led the way with a 2.5 percent increase, while
the building material and supplies sector rose 1.4 percent.
Motor vehicle and parts declined 2.1 percent on weaker
vehicle sales, the only sector where activity fell. But the
pull-back capped a strong performance for wholesale motor
vehicle and parts in 2016, which rose 8.8 percent for the year.
Wholesale trade as a whole was up 3.1 percent in 2016, the
seventh annual increase in a row.
The figures for the year suggested the biggest impact from
rebuilding efforts in Alberta has not yet been felt on wholesale
trade, Statistics Canada said. Although there was a rebound in
the lumber and building supplies industry in the last four
months of 2016, exports of forestry products also increased,
making it "difficult to conclude that the rebound was due to the
rebuilds, which may not have fully started yet," the report
(Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by James Dalgleish)