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Canada November Retail Sales at Record on Snow Gear and Cars

Canadian retail sales rose faster than all economists forecast to reach a record in November, led by automobiles and winter gear.

Sales increased 0.6 percent to C$41.0 billion ($36.8 billion), Statistics Canada said today in Ottawa, three times faster than the 0.2 percent median of a Bloomberg survey with 18 responses.

The increase follows reports this week of record wholesale sales and factory orders at a two-year high, suggesting the economy grew 0.2 percent in November, according to Krishen Rangasamy, senior economist at National Bank Financial in Montreal.

The Canadian dollar fell to the lowest since July 2009 after today’s report, as investors continue to focus on comments yesterday by Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz, who said in the bank’s Monetary Policy Report that some exporters are struggling even as the currency weakens and growth rises in the U.S., Canada’s biggest trade partner.

“Perhaps Canada is doing a bit better than what markets seem to be believing,” Rangasamy wrote in a note to clients, adding retail sales may grow at an annualized pace of 6.5 percent in the fourth quarter.

The currency fell 0.3 percent to C$1.1123 at 9:33 a.m. in Toronto today, and earlier touched C$1.1174, the lowest level since July 2009.

Household Spending

Consumers remain a key source of growth in the world’s 11th largest economy with uneven global demand delaying what the Bank of Canada has said is a needed pickup in exports and business investment. Household spending has been supported by low interest rates and modest job growth.

“Colder weather and earlier than normal winter snowfalls advanced the purchase of winter merchandise at clothing and clothing accessories stores,” which rose 1.1 percent in November, Statistics Canada said.

Motor vehicle and parts sales rose 1.2 percent to C$9.63 billion in November as an early onset of winter boosted demand for seasonal items, Statistics Canada said.

Sales advanced in nine of 11 categories making up 72 percent of retailing, Statistics Canada said. Electronics and appliance store sales jumped 6.4 percent in November “on the strength of new product releases,” and gasoline station sales gained 1.0 percent.

Sales excluding motor vehicles and parts rose 0.4 percent, exceeding economists forecasts for a 0.3 percent gain.

The volume of sales, a measure that excludes price changes, rose 0.8 percent in November.

In a separate report, Statistics Canada said the number of Canadians receiving jobless benefits increased in November.

The number of regular beneficiaries rose by 1,270, or by 0.2 percent, to 512,330. From the year-ago month, the total number of beneficiaries fell by 38,780, or by 7.0 percent.

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