RTTNews - As expected, Canadian wholesale sales in current dollars fell for a seventh straight month in April, declining 0.6% to $40.3 billion, according to data released Wednesday by Statistics Canada.

Lower sales in the building materials sector and the machinery and electronic equipment sector were the main factors contributing to the decrease.

Economists expected wholesale sales to drop 0.7 percent in April.

In terms of the volume of sales, wholesale sales were up 0.5%. This was the first increase since September 2008.

Canadian wholesalers sell to both the domestic and international markets, and are active importers and exporters. The increase in the volume of sales, compared with the decrease in current dollar sales in April, reflects lower prices paid by wholesalers for imported goods, and the effect of the appreciation of the Canadian dollar versus the US dollar during the month.

Wholesale sales in volume terms are calculated by deflating current dollar values using import and industry product price indexes. Since many of the goods sold by wholesalers are imported, fluctuations in the value of the Canadian dollar can have an important influence on the prices of goods bought and sold by wholesalers.

Sales in the building materials sector fell 2.9% in April, continuing the downward trend that began in the fall of 2008.

The decline in the building materials sector's sales coincides with a slump in Canada's construction industry. According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, housing starts fell 20% in April compared with March, while international trade data show that Canadian lumber exports were down 10% in April.

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