RTTNews - Canadian wholesale sales fell less than forecast in May to its lowest level since December 2005, according to data released Monday by Statistics Canada.

Wholesale sales in current dollars fell 0.3% to $40.1 billion in May, following a revised drop of 0.7% in April. In volume terms, wholesale sales were unchanged in May.

Economists were looking for a drop of 2.5% from a month earlier.

Weaker sales in the machinery and equipment, food, and metal products trade groups were the major factors contributing to the decrease during the month. With May's decline, wholesale sales have fallen for eight consecutive months.

In current dollars, four of the seven sectors, accounting for just over half of total wholesale sales, declined in May.

Sales in the machinery and electronic equipment sector fell 0.2% in May. Almost half of this sector is accounted for by the machinery and equipment trade group, which declined 2.3%. Sales in this trade group have declined almost 20% since their September 2008 peak.

The food, beverage and tobacco products sector declined 1.2% in May. This was due to lower sales in food products, which account for about 90% of the sector.

Wholesale sales in the building materials sector rose 0.1%, as increases in building supplies offset declines in metal products.

Sales of building supplies rose 2.8% in May after declining 3.4% in April. This coincides with an increase in housing starts as reported by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

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