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Release taken from Statistics Canada
Wholesale sales rebounded 0.9% in May to $41.8 billion, after declining 0.3% in April. While most of the seven wholesale trade sectors registered gains, more than half of the increase was attributable to higher sales in the automotive sector. Excluding the automotive sector, sales rose 0.5%. Since September 2003, total wholesale sales have generally been rising.
Wholesalers of automotive products (+2.3%) and building materials (+1.8%) were the main contributors to sales growth in May. Only the farm products sector registered a decrease (-7.8%).
In constant dollars, wholesale sales increased 1.8% in May.
Wholesale sales of motor vehicles increased 2.0% in May following a period of relatively lacklustre sales in the previous three months. Overall, motor vehicle wholesalers in May regained approximately half of the sales lost in the previous months. Weak exports during this period explain, in part, this group's difficulties making up lost ground.
Metal products wholesalers (+5.0%) recorded a third consecutive increase in May. In recent months, this group has benefited from strong demand and improved market conditions. Steel prices continued to rise on uncertainties about availability. Steel-using sectors, such as non-residential construction, continued to post strong growth. According to the survey of investment in non-residential building construction, investment reached an all-time high for a 13th consecutive quarter between April and June, largely owing to huge gains in British Columbia and Alberta.
Wholesalers in the building materials group posted a 1.8% increase in May. This group continues to make a solid showing after an almost uninterrupted period of growth since the fall of 2003. Since the start of the year, this group has posted sales 12.1% higher than in the same period in 2005, partly owing to the renovation market.
Wholesale sales of lumber and millwork fell 1.8% in May, partly because of a decrease in exports with residential construction declining in the United States.
In Ontario, wholesale sales grew 1.3% in May. This increase was attributable to the