Wholesale trade, May 2012
Wholesale sales rose 0.9% in May to $49.8 billion. The increase was largely the result of higher sales in the computer and communications equipment and supplies industry, the motor vehicle industry and the food industry.
In volume terms, wholesale sales were up 0.4% in May.
Wholesale sales increase in May
Computer and communications equipment and supplies sales post the largest gain
In May, four of the seven subsectors, accounting for about 70% of wholesale sales, reported increases.
The largest advance in dollar terms was in the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector, which grew 2.6%. This result was primarily attributable to higher sales in the computer and communications equipment and supplies industry (+7.3%), which had the largest increase since April 2008.
The second-largest gain was in the food, beverage and tobacco subsector (+1.4%) as a result of higher sales in the food industry (+1.5%), which makes up nearly 90% of the subsector.
Wholesale sales in the motor vehicle and parts subsector grew 1.6% in May. The entire increase was attributable to higher sales in the motor vehicle industry (+2.9%).
Since the beginning of 2012, motor vehicle wholesalers have seen a return to growth following a year of relatively flat sales in 2011.
The largest decline in dollar terms was in the miscellaneous subsector. Sales fell 0.9%, following a 9.4% increase in April.
Sales up in most provinces
In May, eight provinces posted higher wholesale sales.
Wholesale sales up in most of the provinces in May
Wholesalers in Quebec contributed the most to the national increase, followed by wholesalers in Alberta.
In Quebec, sales were up 2.3% in May, a fourth straight increase.
Sales rose 1.5% in Alberta, mainly as a result of growth in the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector, which accounts for almost a third of the province's wholesale sales.
Ontario posted a 0.2% increase in wholesale sales in May.
Inventories up slightly
Inventories edged up 0.1% to $59.7 billion in May. Inventories rose in 15 of the 25 industries.
Wholesalers in the lumber, millwork, hardware and other building supplies industry (+3.4%) and in the motor vehicle industry (+3.6%) had the largest inventory increases in dollar terms.
The inventory-to-sales ratio declined from 1.21 in April to 1.20 in May.
The inventory-to-sales ratio is a measure of the time in months required to exhaust inventories if sales were to remain at their current level.
Note to readers
All the data in this release are seasonally adjusted and in current dollars, unless otherwise noted.
Wholesale sales expressed in volume are calculated by deflating current dollar values using import and industry product price indexes. Since many of the goods sold by wholesalers are imported, fluctuations in the value of the Canadian dollar can have an important influence on the prices of goods bought and sold by wholesalers.
The wholesale sales series in chained (2002) dollars is a chained Fisher volume index with 2002 as the reference year.
Available without charge in CANSIM: tables CANSIM table081-0011 to 081-0013.
Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number survey number2401.
The May 2012 issue of Wholesale Trade (Catalogue number63-008-X, free) will soon be available.
Wholesale trade data for June will be released on August 21.
For more information, or to order data, contact Statistics Canada's National Contact Centre (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 613-951-8116; firstname.lastname@example.org).
For analytical information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Karim El hassani (613-951-0608; email@example.com), Distributive Trades Division.
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