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Canada Wholesale Sales Stabilize in February as Computers Drop

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April 19 (Bloomberg) -- Canadian wholesale sales unexpectedly stalled in February as drops in computers and toiletries curbed gains at automobile dealers.

Wholesale sales remained at C$48.8 billion ($47.6 billion), Statistics Canada said today in Ottawa, compared with the median estimate for a 0.3 percent gain in a Bloomberg survey with 15 responses.

The Bank of Canada on April 17 cut its 2013 growth forecast to 1.5 percent from 2 percent, citing weakness in business and government spending. Governor Mark Carney still expects the pace of growth to accelerate, led by investment and exports that slumped late last year.

Computer and communications equipment sales dropped 8.2 percent to C$3.10 billion and toiletries fell by 8 percent to C$633 million according to the report. Motor vehicle and parts sales advanced by 3 percent to C$8.23 billion.

Statistics Canada today also revised its estimate of the December sales decline to 1.5 percent from 1.1 percent and boosted the January increase to 0.5 percent from 0.3 percent. Those changes left the February sales total below the original January reading of C$49 billion.

Inventories increased 0.6 percent to C$61.6 billion. The inventory-to-sales ratio, a measure of how many months it would take to deplete stocks at the current sales pace, was unchanged at 1.26 in February.

Wholesale sales were 0.8 percent higher in February than the same month a year earlier.

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

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