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Canadian Wholesale Sales Up 2.2% in May

Canadian wholesale sales rose 2.2 percent to C$52.6 billion (US$49 billion) in May, a second consecutive increase. While higher sales were recorded in four subsectors, representing 72 percent of wholesale sales, the motor vehicle and parts subsector accounted for most of the gain. Excluding this subsector, wholesale sales rose 0.7 percent.

In volume terms, wholesale sales were up 2.2 percent.

The motor vehicle and parts subsector, which rose 9.8 percent to C$9.3 billion (US$8.7 billion), accounted for most of the gain in wholesale sales in May. Although all of the subsector's industries recorded higher sales, the motor vehicle industry (up 13.2 percent) drove the increase. This was the third gain in four months for the industry, and its largest monthly increase since November 2009. Motor vehicles also recorded strong growth in exports, imports and manufacturing sales in May.

For the eighth time in 12 months, sales increased in the food, beverage and tobacco subsector, rising 1.9 percent in May to C$10.3 billion (US$9.6 billion). The food industry (up 2 percent) contributed the most to the gain, although sales were up in the subsector's other industries as well.

The machinery, equipment and supplies subsector rose 1.2 percent to C$11 billion (US$10.2 billion) in May, on the strength of higher sales in three of its four industries. This was the second highest level on record for the subsector, just below the peak of C$11.1 billion (US$10.3 billion) in November 2013.

Sales in the personal and household goods subsector rose 1 percent to C$7.4 billion (US$6.9 billion) in May. The home entertainment equipment and household appliance industry (up 4.7 percent) led the gain, following two consecutive declines.

Following five monthly gains, sales in the miscellaneous subsector decreased 0.9 percent to C$6.7 billion (US$6.2 billion) in May, despite a twelfth consecutive increase for the recyclable material industry.

The farm product subsector declined following five consecutive monthly gains, down 5 percent to C$0.7 billion (US$.6 billion).

Sales increased in six provinces in May, which together represented 83 percent of wholesale sales in Canada. Ontario accounted for most of the gain.

Sales in Ontario increased for a second consecutive month, rising 3.2 percent to C$25.6 billion (US$23.8 billion. The motor vehicle and parts subsector accounted for most of the gain.

Quebec had the second largest increase in dollar terms, rising 1.5 percent to C$9.5 billion (US$8.8 billion, the province's fourth increase in five months. Higher sales were recorded in most subsectors.

Sales in British Columbia increased for a third consecutive month, rising 1.9 percent to C$5.2 billion (US$4.8 billion) on the strength of higher sales in most subsectors.

In Saskatchewan, sales rose 4.3 percent to C$2.1 billion (US$2 billion) in May, more than offsetting April's decline. The machinery, equipment and supplies subsector and the miscellaneous subsector contributed the most to the increase.

Stronger sales in the food, beverage and tobacco subsector contributed to higher sales in both New Brunswick (up 8 percent) and Nova Scotia (up 4.9 percent), reaching C$525 million (US$489 million) and C$749 million (US$698 million) respectively.

Sales declined 11.5 percent to C$372 million (US$346.5 million) in Newfoundland and Labrador as a result of weaker sales in the miscellaneous subsector. This subsector was also a major factor in Manitoba's 0.7 percent decline to C$1.4 billion (US$1.3 billion).

Inventories edged up 0.2 percent to C$65.2 billion (US$60.7 billion) in May. Gains were recorded in five of seven subsectors, which together represented 78 percent of wholesale inventories.

Inventories continued to build in several subsectors, marking the fifth gain in six months for the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector (up 0.5 percent), the building material and supplies subsector (up 0.6 percent), the miscellaneous subsector (up 0.5 percent) and the personal and household goods subsector (up 0.2 percent).

Following two consecutive monthly gains, inventories declined 1.2 percent in the food, beverage and tobacco subsector.

The inventory-to-sales ratio decreased from 1.27 in April to 1.24 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.

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