Canada January wholesale sales jump 3.3 percent on stronger autos

FILE PHOTO – Railcars stand idle at the Canadian National (CN) railyards in Edmonton February 22, 2015. REUTERS/Dan Riedlhuber/File Photo

OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canadian wholesale trade in January unexpectedly soared by 3.3 percent, its biggest monthly advance in more than seven years, on stronger sales of motor vehicles and parts, Statistics Canada data indicated on Monday.

The increase, far bigger than the 0.5 percent gain forecast by analysts, was the greatest since a 3.8 percent advance seen in November 2009 and pushed sales to a record C$59.09 billion ($44.43 billion).

In volume terms, wholesale trade grew by 3.4 percent, which is likely to bolster overall economic growth in January.

Sales were up in four of the seven subsectors, representing 55 percent of total wholesale trade.

Sales in the motor vehicles and parts subsector leapt by 17.1 percent, the biggest month-on-month gain since August 2005, breaking a two-month stretch of declines. Excluding this subsector, January wholesale sales edged up by 0.3 percent.

The personal and household goods subsector increased by 3.0 percent as sales of home entertainment equipment and household appliances shot up by 30.6 percent. The miscellaneous subsector dropped by 1.0 percent on lower sales by the agricultural supplies industry.

Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Bernadette Baum