Canadian wholesalers posted their strongest two-month gain in more than three years in March and April, adding to evidence the country's economy is emerging from a soft patch.

Wholesale sales rose 1.7 per cent in April, easily exceeding the highest forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists. It was the largest increase since 2016 and the fifth consecutive gain.

When combined with March's 1.4 per cent increase, Canada's wholesalers posted their strongest two months since the end of 2015. Excluding price increases, wholesales increased 1.6 per cent.

Strong motor vehicle sales and parts led the April increase, rising 3.2 per cent — a payback from the 1.9 per cent decrease in March. Still, wholesale sales rose 1.4 per cent excluding the auto sector, signaling the broad nature of the increase.

The inventory to sales ratio pulled back to 1.39 in April, from 1.40 previously.

Economists surveyed by Bloomberg were expecting just 0.2-per-cent growth on the month.