Canadian wholesales sales rose 3.3% for January which was substantially above consensus expectations of a 0.3% monthly gain and the strongest monthly advance since November 2009.
Although there was a downward revision to December’s data to 0.3% from 0.7% originally reported, there was a 4.7% annual increase.
Sales increased in four of the seven sub-sectors while in volume terms sales rose 3.4% for a 4.2% annual increase.
There was a notably strong increase in motor vehicle and parts sales of 17.1% on the month to give an 8.1% annual increase.
Excluding motor vehicles sales, there was a 0.3% increase for January to give a 3.9% monthly advance.
Food sales rose 0.2% on the month with a 4.2% annual gain with sales of personal and household goods rose 3.0% on the month to give an 8.4% annual increase.
Building materials and machinery sales both recorded a slight decline in sales on the month.
Wholesale inventories fell 0.3% in January, the first decline in six months, with a sharp decline in motor vehicle inventories. The inventory/sales ratio declined to 1.25 from 1.29 previously.
The sharp increase in motor-vehicle sales will ease fears surrounding excess inventories and should help underpin confidence in consumer spending trends. The overall data impact is likely to be limited, especially with subdued overall growth outside the motor sector.