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Wholesale trade, June 2017, CanadaMonday, August 21, 2017 > 09:45:30
Wholesale sales declined 0.5% to $61.4 billion in June following eight consecutive monthly increases. Declines were recorded in five of seven subsectors, led by the food, beverage and tobacco subsector and the motor vehicle and parts subsector.
In volume terms, wholesale sales decreased 0.7% from May to June.
In the second quarter of 2017, current dollar wholesale sales increased 2.5% while constant dollar sales increased 1.7%. For both current and constant dollars, the increase in sales in this quarter was the fifth consecutive quarterly increase.
Lower sales in five subsectors
In dollar terms, the food, beverage and tobacco subsector reported the largest decline in June, as sales decreased 1.0% to $11.9 billion. This was mainly due to lower sales in the food industry, which decreased 1.1% and offset most of the 1.2% gain observed in May. For the subsector, June's decline was the first in five months.
Sales in the motor vehicle and parts subsector dropped 1.0% to $11.4 billion on weaker sales in the motor vehicle industry (-1.7%). The decline in June partially offset the gains in May for both the subsector (+1.3%) and the industry (+1.8%). Manufacturing sales of motor vehicles, as well as imports and exports of motor vehicles and parts, also declined in June.
The wholesalers in the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector posted a 0.6% decrease in June, with sales at $12.2 billion. This was the second decline in nine months for the subsector. Higher sales in the computer and communications equipment and supplies industry (+8.0%) were more than offset by lower sales in the other three industries, led by the farm, lawn and garden machinery and equipment industry (-14.9%).
The farm product subsector (-5.7% to $748 million) also recorded a decline in June.
Sales in the building material and supplies subsector remained almost unchanged at $8.5 billion.
Sales in both the miscellaneous subsector (+0.3% to $8.1 billion) and the personal and household goods subsector (+0.3% to $8.5 billion) edged up in June.
Sales down in six provinces
In June, sales declined in six provinces with Alberta contributing the most to the decline, followed by Quebec and Manitoba.
Sales in Alberta fell 3.7% to $6.5 billion. This was the first decline in nine months for the province. While sales declined in all but one subsector, the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector contributed the most to the decline as sales decreased 8.0% to $2.0 billion in June, offsetting most of the gain in this subsector in May.
The machinery, equipment and supplies subsector (-7.2%) was also the main contributor to the lower sales in Quebec, where sales decreased 0.9% to $10.9 billion with four of seven subsectors reporting declines.
Manitoba saw its sales decline 5.9% to $1.6 billion in June with six of seven subsectors reporting lower sales, led by the miscellaneous subsector (-14.7%).
Sales in Nova Scotia decreased 6.4% to $869 million on lower sales in the food, beverage and tobacco subsector, which declined 18.0% to $320 million.
In Saskatchewan (-1.7% to $2.2 billion), sales declined for a second consecutive month, mainly as a result of lower sales in the miscellaneous subsector (-5.2%).
Following three consecutive increases, sales in Prince Edward Island decreased 1.5% in June to $90 million.
The largest gain in June was reported in Ontario (+0.5%) as sales in this province increased for a seventh consecutive month, to $31.7 billion. Higher sales in the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector (+4.0% to $6.1 billion) and the miscellaneous subsector (+3.4% to $4.0 billion) more than offset lower sales in all other subsectors.
New Brunswick posted its fifth consecutive monthly increase, as sales rose 7.8% to $607 million.
While three of seven subsectors posted increases in June, sales in British Columbia grew 0.7% primarily on the strength of higher sales in the motor vehicle and parts subsector (+6.9% to $887 million). This was a second consecutive increase for the province.
Sales in Newfoundland and Labrador (+3.0% to $438 million) were up for the fourth time in five months.
Inventories increase in June
Wholesale inventories rose 0.6% to $79.6 billion in June, the tenth increase in eleven months. Four of seven subsectors recorded increases, representing 68% of total wholesale inventories.
Inventories in the personal and household goods subsector rose 3.2% to a record high $14.2 billion, the largest month-over-month increase of all subsectors. This was the sixth increase over the past seven months.
Inventories in the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector (+1.5%) recorded the second largest monthly increase, rising for a second time in three months.
The miscellaneous subsector (+0.5%) increased for a ninth consecutive month.
Inventories in the food, beverage and tobacco subsector (+0.4%) recorded a fourth consecutive increase.
The building material and supplies subsector (-1.5%) declined for the first time in seven months. This was the largest month-over-month decline for the subsector since January 2016.
The motor vehicle and parts subsector (-1.2%) recorded a decrease in inventories for the second time in 2017. Despite the decline, inventories still remain up 11.2% year over year.
The inventory-to-sales ratio increased to 1.30 in June from 1.28 in May. This ratio is a measure of the time in months required to exhaust inventories if sales were to remain at their current level.