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Canada Wholesale Sales Fall 0.9% in December on Communications

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Feb. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Canadian wholesale sales fell for the first time in three months in December, led by a plunge in shipments of computers and telecommunications equipment.

Sales declined 0.9 percent in December to C$49 billion ($48.3 billion) after a 0.7 percent gain in November, Statistics Canada said today in Ottawa. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News projected a 0.4 percent decline, based on the median of 14 forecasts.

The report adds to evidence the country’s economy probably didn’t accelerate by much in the last three months of 2012 from the 0.6 percent annualized pace recorded in the third quarter, which was the slowest in more than a year. Canada’s statistics agency gives fourth-quarter gross domestic product data next week, and the Bank of Canada projected last month the report would show growth at a 1 percent annualized pace.

Five of the seven major categories tracked by the agency fell in December, Statistics Canada said, led by a 4.1 percent decline in machinery and equipment sales. Sales of computer and communications equipment dropped 8.6 percent, reversing gains in November.

Wholesalers of motor vehicles and parts recorded a 0.3 percent decline in sales. Building material suppliers were the only wholesalers to post gains, registering a 1.4 percent increase. Sales of food and beverages were unchanged during the month.

The volume of wholesale sales, which removes the impact of price changes, decreased 0.9 percent.

Wholesale sales were 1.6 percent higher in December than the same month a year earlier.

Wholesale inventories fell 0.6 percent to C$60.7 billion in December.

To contact the reporter on this story: Theophilos Argitis in Ottawa at targitis@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Wellisz at cwellisz@bloomberg.net

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