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MNI DATA IMPACT: Canada Aug Wholesale -1.2% Vs +0.4% Expected>

By Greg Quinn and Anahita Alinejad
     OTTAWA (MNI) - Canadian wholesale sales fell in August with gains 
spread across most industries, and a measure of stockpiles climbed back 
to a level unseen in more than two decades.
     Receipts declined 1.2%, unwinding most of July's 1.4% increase, 
Statistics Canada said Wednesday from Ottawa. The decline was unexpected 
with the MNI economist median calling for a 0.4% increase. July sales 
were also revised down to a 1.4% gain from 1.7%. 
     Pharmaceutical imports that boosted July transactions faded in 
August and there were also declines in everything from machinery and 
equipment to clothing and footwear. Auto and parts receipts fell 1.2%, 
mirroring weakness that brought a surprise decline in Tuesday's retail 
sales report. 
     Unlike for retail, August wholesale sales excluding price changes 
declined with a 1.3% contraction. The so-called volume figures are more 
in line with GDP figures due out later for August. 
     While wholesale inventories declined for the first time in 12 
months with a 0.3% fall, the larger sales decline nudged the ratio of 
inventories to sales back up to 1.45 in August. That matches a mark set 
earlier this year that was the highest since 1995. 
     Economic growth from July through September is expected to slow by 
about half from the second quarter's 3.7% annualized pace, as a burst of 
energy production subsides and consumer spending fades. The Bank of 
Canada has held interest rates unchanged this year on signs the economy 
stayed close to full capacity even as risks from global trade disputes 
have climbed. 
--MNI Ottawa Bureau +1-613-314-9647;

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