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MNI: Canada Oct Flash Retails +0.8%, Surprise +0.6% In Sept

Canada's retail sales rose 0.6% in September led by automobiles, the fastest gain since April and beating the consensus for no change, while a flash estimate showed sales rose 0.8% in October. 

Those signs of strength were undercut in Statistics Canada's report Friday with third-quarter sales volumes down 0.5% even as headline sales were up 0.6%. Economists are predicting next week's third-quarter GDP report will show the economy stalled out again. 

September's retail sales gain was led by motor vehicle and parts which increased 1.5% after two previous decreases. The Bank of Canada noted in a October report that autos were an exception to weak consumer spending as supply shortages contributed to pent-up demand. Gasoline also contributed to the September increase with sales up in price and volume terms.

Core retail sales excluding automobiles and gasoline declined 0.3%, in line with the -0.4% forecast. The largest decrease was in sporting goods, hobby, and miscellaneous retailers which fell 1.6%. 

After removing price changes such as a 3.2% gain at gasoline stations, the so-called volume of sales increased 0.3%. That measure is a closer indication of the contribution to gross domestic product.

The Bank of Canada is widely expected to hold in the upcoming December rate decision. In a speech this week Governor Tiff Macklem said the economy is approaching balance as the excess demand is being squeezed out by his 10 prior rate hikes. 

A separate report showed StatCan's advance estimate of October manufacturing sales declined 2.7%, led by petroleum and coal.

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