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Canada October Retail Sales Rise for Fourth Month on Cars

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Dec. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Canadian retail sales rose a fourth straight month in October, exceeding economist forecasts on gains in automobile and gasoline purchases.

Sales rose 0.7 percent to C$39.4 billion ($39.9 billion), Statistics Canada said today in Ottawa. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News forecast a 0.2 percent increase, based on the median of 24 projections.

Statistics Canada reports gross domestic product for October tomorrow, after output fell 0.1 percent in August and was little changed in September. The increase will help offset a decline in manufacturing, according to BMO Capital Markets economist Benjamin Reitzes.

Today’s report is “consistent with modest growth in the Canadian economy,” Reitzes said in a telephone interview from Toronto. Consumer spending may also be curbed by the lockout that has postponed National Hockey League games and warnings from policy makers for consumers to be prudent after building record debts, he said.

“Spending growth isn’t going to be particularly strong,” Reitzes said. “The fourth quarter will have a tough time getting even 1 percent growth.”

The Bank of Canada forecast in October that growth would rebound in the fourth quarter to a 2.5 percent annual pace following disruptions among energy producers that slowed the expansion to a 0.6 percent rate in the third quarter, the slowest pace in more than a year.

The Canadian dollar was 0.1 percent weaker at 98.95 cents per U.S. dollar at 9:55 a.m. in Toronto. It touched 98.97, lowest level since Dec. 7. One Canadian dollar buys $1.0106.

Auto Sales

Automobile and parts sales rose 1.6 percent to C$8.96 billion, while gasoline station receipts gained 1.6 percent to C$5.10 billion, according to the report.

Purchases excluding the motor vehicle and parts category rose 0.5 percent to C$30.5 billion. On that basis, economists surveyed by Bloomberg forecast 0.2 percent growth.

The volume of sales, which excludes the effects of price changes and more closely reflects the industry’s contribution to economic growth, rose 0.3 percent.

Sales in October were 1.7 percent higher than a year earlier, Statistics Canada said.

In a separate report, Statistics Canada said average weekly earnings of non-farm payroll workers rose 2.8 percent in October from a year ago, led by a 5.8 percent gain for accommodation and food services. On a monthly basis, earnings rose 0.9 percent, while payroll employment fell by 10,200.

To contact the reporter on this story: Greg Quinn in Ottawa at gquinn1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Wellisz at cwellisz@bloomberg.net; David Scanlan at dscanlan@bloomberg.net

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