Canadian manufacturing sales unexpectedly jumped for the second month in a row in December as firms sold higher amounts of transportation equipment and petroleum products at the end of the year, data from Statistics Canada showed on Wednesday.

The 2.3 per cent increase exceeded economists' expectations for a gain of 0.2 per cent, while November was revised significantly higher to show a rise of 2.3 per cent from an initially reported 1.5 per cent.

Volumes were up 2.3 per cent in December, boding well for economic growth in the fourth quarter.

Transportation equipment sales rose 7.4 per cent, helped by increased demand in the vehicle parts and assembly industries. The gain was also driven by the "other transportation equipment" category, which includes manufacturing for all-terrain and military vehicles.

Sales of petroleum and coal products climbed 11.6 per cent as refineries restarted production following maintenance in September and October. Overall, sales rose in eight out of 21 industries, accounting for 41 per cent of the manufacturing sector.

Companies continued to draw down their inventories, which fell 0.3 per cent in a third consecutive monthly decline, while the forward-looking new orders gauge was down 0.6 per cent.