Canada February Retail Sales Rise 0.4% Led by Automobiles

(Bloomberg) -- Canadian retail sales rose 0.4 percent, a gain dominated by automobiles while receipts across other segments were little changed.

Overall sales climbed 0.4 percent, Statistics Canada said Friday from Ottawa, a gain that matched the consensus economist forecast. Automobile sales increased 1.4 percent.

Highlights

  • Purchases excluding the motor vehicle and parts category were little changed. Economists had forecast they would increase 0.4 percent
  • Statistics Canada also pared estimates for the prior three months, part of larger annual data revisions. January increase was lowered to 0.1 percent from 0.3 percent, December’s decline was reset to 1.2 percent from 0.7 percent, and November swung to a 1.1 percent decline from a 0.5 percent increase
  • Gasoline station sales fell 0.9 percent in February, the first decline since June 2017
  • The figures reflected some of the weakness in housing since the government introduced tougher mortgage rules in January. Sales at home furnishing stores fell 2 percent on the month and were down 1.7 percent from a year earlier


Big Picture

Consumers have been the engine of Canada’s growth in recent years, taking advantage of a strong job market low borrowing costs. That strength may be in question this year with the central bank raising interest rates three times since July and households carrying record debt burdens relative to disposable income.

Canada February Retail Sales Rise 0.4% Led by Automobiles
  • Sales advanced in four of 11 categories marking 47 percent of total sales
  • The volume of sales rose 0.3 percent. That measure excludes the effects of price changes and more closely reflects the industry’s contribution to economic growth
  • Total retail sales were up 3.5 percent from a year ago

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