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Economy Canadian wholesale trade falls 1.8 per cent in May on lower auto sales

Canadian wholesale trade fell 1.8 per cent in May after five months of gains, Statistics Canada said on Monday, as sales in the motor vehicle and auto parts industries dropped.

Analysts in a Reuters poll had predicted an increase of 0.5 per cent in May from April. The national statistics agency said wholesale inventories increased for a ninth consecutive month, jumping 1.1 per cent, while sales volume decreased by 1.9 per cent.

“Wholesale trade turned out to be a wholesale miss in May,” said Royce Mendes of CIBC World Markets, noting the dollar was trading weaker after the news.

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The loonie hit a nine-day low, falling to 1.3102 to the U.S greenback or 76.32 U.S. cents.

Statistics Canada said sales in the motor vehicle and parts subsector declined by 4.3 per cent in May, the industry’s largest drop since February, 2018.

Meanwhile, lower imports of passenger cars and light trucks in May coincided with declines in motor vehicle sales, Statscan said, with sales dropping 5.2 per cent.

Declines were also seen in the miscellaneous subsector, where sales decreased 4.2 per cent. The subsector includes goods such as recyclable materials, agricultural supplies, non-agricultural chemicals, paper, paper products and disposable plastic products.

The drop in miscellaneous sales, Statscan said, was led by an 11.1-per-pent decline in the agricultural supplies industry, the largest drop seen since June, 2018.

Sales were lower in six of the seven subsectors and in seven provinces, the agency said. Alberta led the provincial decline, with sales falling 8.7 per cent as a result of a decrease in sales of miscellaneous goods as well as machinery, equipment and supplies.

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