By Paul Vieira
OTTAWA--Canadian wholesale transactions unexpectedly rose in April, after Statistics Canada warned of a drop for the month, as sales of building materials and supplies climbed to their highest level on record.
Wholesale sales increased 0.4% on a seasonally adjusted basis in April to 71.52 billion Canadian dollars, or the equivalent of $58.68 billion, Statistics Canada said Wednesday. Market expectations were for a 0.9% drop. The data agency said last month early indications pointed to a 0.8% decline in April from March.
In volume, or price-adjusted terms, sales fell 0.2% in April.
Statistics Canada also revised higher the data for March, and now suggests wholesale transactions rose 3.2% in the month, versus an earlier estimate of a 2.8% advance.
On a one-year basis, wholesale transactions--which make up the largest component of Canada's services sector--climbed nearly 46%.
Wholesalers connect farmers or manufacturers that produce goods with companies and public institutions that use them. They also import goods from other countries and redistribute them within Canada.
The data agency said strength in the building material and supplies component offset weakness elsewhere, especially in the auto sector, where companies have either scaled back or halted production due to a global shortage of semiconductor chips.
Building materials advanced 8.7% to C$13.11 billion, the highest level on record. Sales in April were over 26% higher relative to December. The increase in this sector was fueled by demand for housing and home renovations in North America.
Meanwhile, the value of wholesale inventories was unchanged in April relative to March, sitting at C$93.35 billion.
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires