Canadian wholesale trade climbed more than expected in May, rising 0.9%, thanks largely to a comeback by the automotive sector after three straight months of declines, Statistics Canada said.

The result surpassed analysts’ average forecast of a 0.5% increase. More than half of the May gains were explained by a 2.3% spike in sales of cars and car parts, Statscan said.

“Overall, motor vehicle wholesalers in May regained approximately half of the sales lost in previous months. Weak exports during this period explain, in part, this group’s difficulties making up lost ground,” the agency said.

Building materials also rebounded after a decrease in April, jumping 1.8%. But farm wholesalers were hit by a seventh straight month of setbacks as livestock sales dwindled following a boom in the latter half of 2005 when the United States reopened its border to young cattle.

The inventory-to-sales ratio dropped slightly to 1.21 in May from 1.23 in April. Inventories fell 0.5 percent, with the steepest inventory declines seen in computers, other electronic equipment and motor vehicles. (Reuters)