Wholesale sales edged down 0.1% to $49.9 billion in June, after four consecutive monthly increases. In volume terms, wholesale sales were down 0.5%.
A decline in the miscellaneous subsector was almost entirely offset by increases in five of the seven subsectors.
Sales of the miscellaneous subsector were down 6.4% in June. Although four of the five industries in the subsector posted declines, the agricultural supplies industry (-20.5%) was by far the largest contributor to the change.
Excluding the miscellaneous subsector, wholesale sales rose 0.9%.
The largest advance in dollar terms was in the motor vehicle and parts subsector (+2.2%). This fifth consecutive increase was attributable to higher sales in the motor vehicle industry (+3.4%).
Sales in the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector rose by 1.3% in June, a third consecutive gain. Overall, three of the four industries in the subsector reported higher sales.
The food, beverage and tobacco subsector continued the upward trend that began at the end of 2009. Sales were up 0.3% in June, following a 1.3% advance in May.
Lower sales in most provinces
Wholesalers in seven provinces reported lower sales in June. These declines were largely offset by higher sales in Ontario.
Ontario, which accounts for roughly 50% of total wholesale sales, reported sales growth of 1.2% in June, the fifth increase since the beginning of 2012. The June advance was mainly a result of higher sales in the motor vehicle industry.
In Quebec, wholesale sales were down 0.2%, the first decrease in five months.
In Western Canada, sales declined in Alberta (-3.0%), Saskatchewan (-2.0%) and Manitoba (-1.3%). Wholesale sales in British Columbia were unchanged.
In June, three of the four Atlantic provinces posted declines. Prince Edward Island (+9.1%) was the lone Atlantic province to post a sales increase in June, following decreases in the previous four months.
Increase in inventories
Inventories rose 0.4% to $60.2 billion in June. Inventories were up in 16 of the 25 industries.
The largest inventory increases in dollar terms were in the construction, forestry, mining and industrial machinery, equipment and supplies industry (+2.3%) and the other miscellaneous industry (+2.6%).
The inventory-to-sales ratio rose from 1.20 in May to 1.21 in June.
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. For more information on seasonal adjustment, see Seasonal adjustment and identifying economic trends (http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/11-010- x/2010003/part-partie3-eng.htm) .
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.
Starting with the next release, total wholesale sales published in volume, including the chain Fisher volume index, will be revised from January 2004 onward to reflect methodological enhancements. In addition, the reference year will change from 2002 to 2007 for these volume data.
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