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UPDATE 1-Canada Aug manufacturing sales gain most in 8 months on autos

(Adds details from report)

OTTAWA, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Canadian manufacturing sales unexpectedly increased in August, rising the most in eight months, on higher sales of vehicles and parts, as well as petroleum and coal products, data from Statistics Canada showed on Wednesday.

The 1.6 percent growth was well above forecasts for a 0.1 percent decline and the largest gain since December 2016. Stripping out the effects of price changes, volumes were also solid, rising 1.2 percent.

Manufacturing sales rose in eight out of 21 sectors, accounting for 66 percent of the manufacturing sector and led by a 8.2 percent increase in the transportation equipment sector.

That was driven by higher sales volumes of motor vehicles and parts following increased production after assembly plants were shut for longer than usual in July, the statistics agency said. Vehicle sales in Canada are on track to hit a record in 2017.

Sales in the petroleum and coal sector rose 3.2 percent, largely because of higher prices. Elsewhere, manufacturing sales rose in the primary metal and machinery sectors.

Forward-looking new orders climbed 4.4 percent, the most since April 2016 and potentially boding well for future sales. The increase was driven by more orders in the transportation sector, including vehicles.

(Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)