Canadian consumers deliver positive surprise

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The relative health of Canadian consumers was underlined on Friday, after retail sales recorded their biggest jump since 2010.

Sales shot up 2.1 per cent in January, with car purchases leading the way, Statistics Canada said on Friday. The figure was far better than the 0.6 per cent that economists had forecast.

Robust house price gains have helped underpin Canadian consumer spending even as the rout in the oil price dents investment and weaker global growth hurts exports.

Although car sales led the way with a 4.8 per cent increase on the month, sales of general merchandise also recorded their first gain in three.

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