(Adds details on June's record; background)
OTTAWA, Oct 20 (Reuters) - Canadian wholesale trade in August recouped most of July's decline and came in at the second-highest level on record, defying expectations of a 0.2 percent decline, according to Statistics Canada data released on Monday.
Sales increased 0.2 percent from July to a seasonally adjusted C$53.07 billion ($46.96 billion), just shy of June's record C$53.10 billion, and 6.0 percent higher than a year earlier. July's fall was revised to 0.2 percent from 0.3 percent.
The August level was also the second highest in constant dollars. In volume terms, sales rose by 0.1 percent. Wholesale inventories also hit a record level.
Wholesale trade brightened what had largely been a disappointing month for economic figures, with factory sales, exports and building permits all down.
The biggest gain was in the machinery, equipment and supplies category, which rose 3.6 percent to a record high. The Bank of Canada has long been looking for increased business investment, as well as exports, to replace consumption as the main driver of economic growth.
Sales in the motor vehicle and parts industry fell by 3.7 percent, offsetting most of July's 4.5 percent gain. Excluding this industry, wholesale sales rose by 1.0 percent.
$1=$1.13 Canadian Reporting by Randall Palmer; Editing by Peter Galloway