June 18 (Bloomberg) -- Canadian wholesale sales rose more than twice as fast as economists forecast in April, setting a record on gains in building material and machinery.
Sales rose 1.2 percent to C$51.2 billion ($47.1 billion), Statistics Canada said today in Ottawa, compared with the median estimate for a 0.5 percent gain in a Bloomberg survey with 13 responses.
The gain suggests growth may be picking up in the second quarter, economists said. Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz forecast in April that slack in the economy will be absorbed over the next two years on increased exports and business investment.
“Canada’s business sector is picking up after the winter,” said Bill Adams, senior international economist at PNC Financial Services Group in Pittsburgh. Growth slowed to a 1.2 percent annualized pace between January and March as a harsh winter disrupted production.
“Rising inventories suggest wholesalers are confident that stronger demand will be sustained in the months ahead,” Adams said.
Canada’s dollar was little changed after the report at C$1.0867 per U.S. dollar at 9:54 a.m. Toronto time. The yield on benchmark government 10-year bonds fell 2 basis points to 2.29 percent.
Inventories increased 0.7 percent to C$64.7 billion. The inventory-to-sales ratio, a measure of how many months it would take to deplete stocks at the current sales pace, declined to 1.26 in April from 1.27 in March.
Categories that make up 80 percent of sales rose in April, Statistics Canada said. Building material and supplies gained for a fourth month, by 3.6 percent to C$7.40 billion, and machinery and equipment rose 2.2 percent to C$10.8 billion.
Statistics Canada revised the March wholesale sales decline to 0.3 percent from 0.4 percent initially.
The volume of wholesale sales, which removes the impact of price changes, also rose 1.2 percent.
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