May 22, 2018 / 12:41 PM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-Canada wholesale trade jumps 1.1 pct in March on autos, parts

(Adds details of release, background)

OTTAWA, May 22 (Reuters) - Canadian wholesale trade jumped by 1.1 percent in March, the largest month-on-month rise for five months, thanks largely to strength in the motor vehicle and parts subsector, Statistics Canada said on Tuesday.

The increase - greater than the 0.6 percent advance forecast by analysts in a Reuters poll - was the largest since the 2.0 percent gain seen in October 2017. Statscan revised February’s decline to 0.4 percent from an initial drop of 0.8 percent.

Sales though only rose in Ontario - the most populous of Canada’s 10 provinces - and Saskatchewan in the west. Wholesale trade grew in four out of seven sectors in March, accounting for 49 percent of wholesale trade.

Removing the effects of price changes, sales volumes rose 0.8 percent from February.

After three consecutive monthly falls, the motor vehicles and parts subsector posted a 5.0 percent gain on the back of motor vehicles sales, which rose to a near record high.

Sales in the building materials and supplies subsector increased by 3.4 percent to a record high while the food, beverage and tobacco subsector saw trade drop by 1.4 percent, the second consecutive dip.

Reporting by David Ljunggren Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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