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By Yali N'Diaye
     OTTAWA (MNI) - Canadian wholesale sales surprised on the upside, 
rebounding 1.5% in July to C$62.4 billion after contracting 0.6% in 
June, fueled by strong volumes of activity in most subsectors, data from 
Statistics Canada showed Thursday. 
          The monthly gain translated into a 12-month increase of 10.0%, 
picking up from 8.8% in June. 
          The report was overall strong, with volumes up 2.1% on the month, 
more than offsetting June's 0.8% decrease, and posting their largest 
gain since December 2016. 
          Inventories rose at a more moderate 0.7%, driving down the 
inventory-to-sales ratio to 1.30 in July from 1.31 in June. 
          Illustrating the widespread nature of July's rebound, sales were up 
in five of seven subsectors, representing 86% of wholesale trade, led by 
a 4.8% gain in building material and supplies, which were up 16.9% 
year-over-year. 
          In fact, Statistics Canada separately reported that investment in 
new housing construction rose 6.4% year-over-year in July, led by 
Alberta and Quebec. 
          Wholesale sales also increased for food, beverage and tobacco 
(+2.4%), personal and household goods (+1.3%), motor vehicles and parts 
(+1.4%), and machinery, equipment and supplies (+0.7%), the latter being 
encouraging for investment activity in Canada. 
          Farm products and miscellaneous sales, on the other hand, 
contracted on the month. 
          Regionally, gains were also widespread, with seven provinces 
posting higher sales, led by Alberta (+4.3%) and British Columbia 
(+3.4%). 
--MNI Ottawa Bureau; +1 613 869-0916; email: yali.ndiaye@marketnews.com
[TOPICS: MACDS$,M$C$$$]