UPDATE 1-Canada April wholesale sales strongest in nine months

Wed Jun 18, 2014 8:40am EDT

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(Adds sectoral details)

* Sales +1.2 pct; March revised to -0.3 pct from -0.4 pct

* In volume terms, sales also rise 1.2 pct

* All sectors advance except food and tobacco

* Ratio of inventories to sales falls slightly

OTTAWA, June 18 (Reuters) - Wholesale trade rose by 1.2 percent in April from March, twice as fast as expected and marking the biggest gain in nine months, according to Statistics Canada data released on Wednesday.

Sales advanced in all sectors except food and tobacco, and were up by the same amount in volume terms. The federal agency also revised a small decline in March sales to 0.3 percent from 0.4 percent. The figures are seasonally adjusted.

Building materials led April's rise, climbing 3.6 percent, with exports of forestry products climbing significantly. Solid gains were also registered in machinery and equipment and in motor vehicles. Food, beverages and tobacco fell 0.9 percent.

Inventories rose 0.7 percent but this was outstripped by the increase in sales, so that the ratio of inventories to sales fell to 1.26 from 1.27.

(Reporting by Randall Palmer; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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