Cheaper Gas Leads Surprise Fall in Canada September Retail Sales

Canadian retail sales posted their first decline in five months in September, led by cheaper gasoline.

Sales decreased 0.5 percent to C$43.3 billion ($32.5 billion), Statistics Canada said Friday in Ottawa. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News forecast a 0.1 percent increase, based on the median of 18 projections.

Spending remains close to a record high in a year were consumers are threatened by record debt burdens and incomes hurt by a drop in crude oil prices. The Bank of Canada has cut interest rates twice this year to 0.5 percent and has said growth will be slowed again next year by a drop in energy investment.

Gasoline station sales fell 3.7 percent in September to C$4.54 billion on lower prices.

Excluding price changes, sales rose 0.1 percent in September. That so-called volume measure of sales is a better indication of retail’s contribution to economic growth.

The report still declines outside of gasoline, with sales falling in eight of 11 categories representing 60 percent of total receipts. Motor vehicle and parts sales fell for the first time in eight months, by 0.5 percent to C$11 billion, and clothing and accessories sales fell 1.2 percent to C$2.5 billion.

Sales in September were 1.2 percent higher than a year earlier, Statistics Canada said.

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