Friday, March 20, 2009

Will Canada ride out the storm better than others?

Recovering car sales boost Canada retail sales
Fri Mar 20, 8:40 AM

OTTAWA (Reuters) - An unusual rise in new car purchases helped spur Canadian retail sales to their first increase since September, a greater-than-expected 1.9 percent, according to Statistics Canada data released on Friday.

The seasonally adjusted increase, the largest since July 2006, was a rare bright statistic after disappointing data for wholesale sales, manufacturing, foreign trade, employment and gross domestic product.

It followed a 5.2 percent decline in retail sales in December, the largest drop in over 15 years. The value of sales at new car dealers rose 6.4 percent in January after December's 15.1 percent decline.

The automotive sector as a whole, including gasoline, rose by 3.8 percent; excluding vehicles and parts, retail sales rose by 1.3 percent. A Reuters survey of analysts had predicted a 1.0 percent rise in retail sales and 0.3 percent excluding autos.

In a separate release, Statistics Canada said the number of new motor vehicle sold rose by 5.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted 119,231 units in January. In unadjusted terms, the number actually fell to 78,812 from December's 97,164.

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